James Palmer, Herbert Smith Freehills

I was horrified to hear just now the terrible news of Rob Legh’s death from Covid.

Whenever I met him he was incredibly charming (in large part because he was so authentic) and obviously impressive, with a modesty that belied his patently exceptional abilities. I am so, so sorry to hear this and please pass my condolences and those of colleagues here at HSF to his family and to all of you at Bowmans.

For his family, I cannot begin to imagine how horrendous their loss is. All I can hope is that over time their pride in him and his extraordinary standing as a lawyer and a person not just in South Africa but around the wider global legal community, will provide some level of comfort. I realise it will not begin to compensate for such an unfair and early loss (I think Rob was around my age: we certainly took over as chairs of our firms around the same time so I know how young he was).

For the team at Bowmans, I have some idea how shocking and distressing it is to lose a colleague, but to lose someone so respected, liked and such an influential role model will be really hard. I know enough of your firm to know that the sense of loss reflects the great culture in your firm which Rob helped to lead, and I know you will support each other through this terrible loss.

His death so young is patently a loss first and most tragically for his family, as well as for his colleagues, but also for the wider legal community in South Africa and internationally. I am truly sorry.