Thursday, May 13, 2021

Leading African law firm Bowmans today announced the formation of a new multi-disciplinary team as part of its ongoing efforts to help clients with their most pressing legal matters on the African continent.

Chairman and Senior Partner Robert Legh says, ‘Over the past three to five years we have seen ever-increasing complexity in the nature of the challenges that our clients are contending with.  Our response, in marshalling a team of senior dispute resolution and investigations lawyers, will enhance our ability to assist our clients in the VUCA environment that they now routinely operate in.’

He highlights that this is part of the firm’s ongoing objective of bringing together different components of its practice across its geographical footprint to provide integrated risk services to clients.

The firm is a well-known leader in the field of governance, compliance and investigations, with its corporate investigations practice in South Africa ranked band 1 by Chambers.  The development brings experts from this practice together with litigation and employment lawyers across its offices into an expanded team, led by partners Jane Andropoulos and Johan Kruger. Recently appointed Ian Sinton brings his considerable experience as general counsel advising boards in crisis to the mix.

The new team will focus on delivering effective corporate investigations and dispute resolution services to clients across the continent. This follows a separate initiative by the firm to bring together the diverse skills needed to advise clients in crisis or in response to major incidents.  The firm’s major incidents group includes corporate, dispute resolution and regulatory lawyers across multiple jurisdictions.

Legh says that these moves are consistent with Bowmans’ stated purpose of helping clients to overcome legal complexity and to unlock opportunity in Africa.

He says the firm has identified the need to guide boards through challenging times as a major growth area. ‘Investing across borders on the African continent offers significant opportunity and is vital to the continent’s continuing economic development.  But there are great risks too, involving compliance with local laws while satisfying global standards on corruption. We believe we have the right people to support our clients at each stage of the investment cycle, including in times of crisis, and we continuously assess how best to organise those resources across our jurisdictions.’

There are a number of factors contributing to the expanding client need, including the general trend towards more intricate regulatory environments as well as developments in technology.  At the same time fraud is increasing exponentially and becoming more sophisticated, while corruption is ever-more prevalent.

Legh concludes, ‘African firms have not traditionally been seen as the go-to advisers on issues of this scale. However, a unique knowledge of the local environment is key to finding appropriate resolutions, and our new team has the right skills to support the client needs we have identified.’