Tributes To Robert Legh

We are all mourning the passing of our chairman and senior partner, Robert Legh, with much sadness. We have lost a leader, a partner, a colleague and a friend.

We have received many messages of condolence and tributes from clients and members of the legal and business community across the world. Some of these, as well as articles published in the press, are included below. Please see our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts for more.

Click on the video below to watch a tribute poem by Siphokazi Jonas titled ‘Shining with Glory’.

Greg Harman, Managing Director & Head of Disputes EMEA, BRG

I was deeply saddened by the news of Rob Legh’s passing. This is a tremendous loss to the South African legal and competition community and, by all the accounts, South African society. I will remember Rob for his brilliance as a legal strategist and for his kindness. BRG team members are privileged to have worked with and opposite Rob and we express heartfelt condolences to his family, and his colleagues at Bowmans and across the industries he touched.


David Wilson, Managing Director, Participate

I wanted to pass on my sincere condolences. It  is not only such a loss to his family and the firm but to our country at large, Rob had achieved so much in his career I have no doubt he leaves a significant legacy for many to aspire to.


Dr. Babatunde, Managing Partner, SPA Ajibade & Co.

I didn’t know Robert very well, and only met him when we all travelled to Australia for the IBA conference a few years back. However, that short interaction was sufficient to enable me to relate to everything that was said in the tributes.  He was a great man and I can see that he will be sorely missed.


Sternford Moyo, Senior Partner, Scanlen & Holderness, and President, IBA

At Scanlen & Holderness, we were all very sad to learn that Rob had died. We had a number of meetings with him here and I interacted extensively with him in connection with IBA work.

I write to convey our condolences to you and to his family. Rob was a very good man. He was a good lawyer who participated in international legal matters and had a very strong pan African outlook. We shall greatly miss him.


May Khalife, General Counsel, M1 Group

My sincere condolences for the loss of Bowmans’ Chairman. May his Soul Rest In Peace.


Chris Jones, Vice Chair, Strategy & Communications Advisory UK, Teneo

My sincere condolences to the team at Bowmans following the loss of Robert. It must be an enormously difficult time for you, not to mention his family. I wanted to let you know you’re in our thoughts.

Robert was clearly a Bowmans man to the very tip of his toes. From the brief time I spent in his company he was clearly one of the corner stones of the firm and a hugely influential leader. I know he’ll be missed greatly. At the same time, I’m sure he would take great comfort in the leadership that remains at Bowmans. I’ve no doubt that despite the very difficult times facing South Africa right now, the firm couldn’t be in better hands.


Heidi K. Gardner, Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession

I have just heard the very sad news about Rob’s passing.  The entire firm, and Rob’s loved ones are in my thoughts.  You have my sincere condolences.


Folake Adebowale, Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie

You and your colleagues have been very much in my thoughts.  Do, please accept my heartfelt condolences on Rob Legh’s untimely passing.

I had the pleasure of meeting him, most recently at the Bowmans’ partners’ conference in 2019 and in various iterations both before and after that.  He was a great professional, great gentleman and hilarious host to boot, and I will hold memories of those interactions in high regard.  May he rest in perfect peace.


Ramalho, Mellony Director: Marketing and Sales LexisNexis South Africa

On behalf of LexisNexis South Africa, I extend our deepest sympathies to all at Bowmans on the untimely loss of Chairman and Senior Partner, Robert Legh.

We also pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Robert who are dealing with his loss at this difficult time.


Omar Al Nuaimi, International CEO, and Sally Clifford-Smith, International Development Manager, Osborne Clarke

We recently heard the tragic news of Robert Legh and on behalf of us all at Osborne Clarke send our deepest condolences to all our friends at Bowmans.

Clearly Robert made an enormous contribution to the firm and leaves a great legacy, not only to future generations of Bowmans’ lawyers, but also to the South African legal market.

Having worked with your firm on many occasions over many years now, we very much appreciate the excellent quality of service provided to our lawyers and clients, as well as the positive culture that is evident across the firm. Robert was no doubt instrumental in developing and maintaining these attributes and will undoubtedly be sorely missed.


Dion Shango, Africa Territory Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

We are sorry to have heard about the untimely passing of your Senior Partner and Chairman, Robert Legh on 1 July 2021 and express, on behalf of PwC, its partners and staff, our heartfelt condolences to your firm.

From the outside looking in, we could see Robert was a senior partner extraordinaire, and his service to the legal profession, commerce and, in fact, South Africa leaves a legacy that your firm can be immensely proud of. Our partners who knew Robert speak of him with high praise. His integrity, professionalism, intellect and approach put him a cut above the rest. We will remember Robert as a wealth of general knowledge and as someone widely admired and respected.

Robert’s impact on the professional services sector will be felt for many years to come – and whilst your firm will undoubtedly be in good hands, his legacy will live on. You have lost a world-class partner, leader and no doubt a friend.

Our hearts also go out to Kathryn, Tommy and India – the loss of a husband and father is immense and we wish them solace and comfort in this incredibly difficult time.

The South African legal and business community is poorer and we can but hope that your firm will continue to build on the platform laid by this great man. Our sincerest condolences to you and the Bowmans family.


Mondo Mazwai, Chairperson, Competition Tribunal, and Tembinkosi Bonakele, Commissioner, Competition Commission

We received the news of the passing of Rob with deep sorrow and regret. On behalf of both our teams at the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal, we convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Rob Legh, our colleagues at Bowmans, and the entire community of Competition Law practitioners.

Rob was a towering figure in South African competition law, being one of the earliest practitioners in this field. It is hard to imagine a Bowmans without him, just like it is to imagine a high stakes competition case in South Africa without him. He will be remembered for his meticulous and passionate representation of his clients, who included blue-chip South African firms as well as international companies.

In litigation, he was a worthy but principled opponent. He also tactically and professionally guided his clients through some of the high profile enforcement cases, as well as ground-breaking merger remedies using all available legal instruments. He had an impeccable quality of knowing when to fight and when to negotiate. Even when on the weak side of an argument, Rob enjoyed the intellectual rigour and drama of our craft. His commitment to service his client was unmatched. You would find him at the coal face of client’s premises during a ‘Dawn Raid’, at the Commission’s boardrooms, and at the Tribunal or court hearings. He was a man of quiet and strategic action.

Rob played a big role in the 2019 amendments to the Competition Act, where he was a tough but objective negotiator, and very thoughtful in approach to the engagements. More than all of this, Rob was an absolute gentleman. He will surely be remembered as a calm, sharp and principled legal mind.

His passing has certainly left a void in the competition law fraternity as a whole.

To Rob’s family, although it is difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow. We wish you strength, grace, and peace during this difficult time.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.


Tarek Badawy, Partner, Shahid Law Firm

We heard the sad news of Rob’s untimely passing. Our heartfelt condolences to you, the Bowmans family, as well as to Rob’s wife and children. We hope you will all overcome this difficult period. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.


John Gomersall

Words can’t express how I felt when I heard the sad news of Rob’s passing!  The old saying goes “only the good die young”. Please send my condolences to all of your team that have done work for the Barlow group of companies, and to Katherine and the Legh family. I shall NEVER forget him!


Deborah Knight (nee Dees)

Condolences to all, we have all been touched by Rob’s steadfastness and guidance.


Rizwan Desai, Managing Partner, Desai Law Group

It is with great sadness that we at Desai Law Group learned of the passing away of Rob last week. He was an undoubted giant of the profession. Please accept our condolences and convey our deepest sympathies to your partners.


Nigel Woodroffe, Shepstone & Wylie

Our sincere condolences to all at Bowmans on the tragic loss of Rob, your much respected senior partner, colleague and friend. Thinking of you guys at this sad time.


Ken Weige, Alston

I’m shocked at this news. I got to know him and like him.


Jonathan Whittaker, Partner, Spoor & Fisher

We were saddened to hear about the passing of Robert and, on behalf of Spoor & Fisher, I wish to convey our most sincere condolences to you and your partners. Robert will, no doubt, be sorely missed.


Jeremy Lam, Partner, Deacons

I was saddened to hear of Rob’s passing and write to extend my condolences to you and your partners. Your tribute is testament to Rob’s long and fulfilling career albeit cut short by his passing at such a young age.


Hanim Hamzah, Regional Managing Partner, ZICO Law Network

Sorry to hear about the passing of your colleague and friend, Robert Legh.  May his soul RIP.


Christian Cascante, Michael Arnold and Ulrich Denzel, Gleiss Lutz

We are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected death of a business partner and a dear friend. The international community loses an outstanding lawyer and a very special person. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved ones and the entire Bowmans family.


Daren Mudaly, Lead Automation Architect/CEO, Pepper Potts

I wanted to extend my condolences to you and all at Bowmans, I remember Rob as a kind leader who always had a smile, he was someone I had great respect for and always looked up to.


Bella Ochola-Wilson, Chairman, Unga Group

Very sad in deed to learn of the death of Robert. May his soul rest in eternal peace.


Aman Assefa, Managing Partner, Aman Assefa & Associates Law Office

On behalf of Aman Assefa & Associates Law Office, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Robert’s family, friends and colleagues.

I first met Robert Legh in 2018 here in Addis Ababa during our initial talks to form an alliance between our firms; and have since met him on different occasions. It didn’t take us long to realize what a wonderful person Robert was and it added more confidence for us in the firm that we already had a very good feel of. All of us here are deeply sad at his untimely passing – and I want to reiterate on behalf of all my partners that it is the special feeling that each of us had of Robert that made us particularly sad of his passing. We were all desperately wishing for his recovery; but, alas, there is nothing to be done now. He is gone – but his memory will certainly and fondly live with us. He was a wise person, a visionary and a caring person too. We have been fortunate enough to know and be associated with him and the firm he was leading.

It is truly an unfortunate loss and Robert will sorely be missed.


Yvonne Boden, Director: Estates & Trusts, Garlicke & Bousfield

It was with such shock and immense sadness that we heard over the weekend of the death of Rob.

On behalf of our directors, I extend our deepest sympathy to you all, and also to Rob’s family. Not only has Bowmans lost a great leader, and a special team member, but the profession has lost a giant, whose contribution will live on for years to come. There is no doubt that he will be remembered as a great lawyer, but above all as a man of character – committed, loyal, and honourable. 

Our hearts go out to you all at this difficult and challenging time.


Windsor Fortune Thekiso, Standard Chartered Bank

It was with great shock and sadness to learn about Rob’s untimely passing.

Reading his obituary yesterday which was quite an apt description of his nature, reminded me of what a great human being Rob was, and what a profound loss his family (especially), the Bowmans family, the legal fraternity and the country as a whole have suffered.

I would like to convey my sincere condolences to you all. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.


Tom Odede

My sincere condolences to Bowmans for the loss.  May his soul rest in eternal peace.


Thomas Kennedy, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

I was very saddened to hear of Robert’s passing.  He was a wonderful person, and we very much enjoyed our periodic visits in recent years.  My condolences to his family and colleagues, and may he rest in peace. 


Stephen W. Bowman, Vice Chair & Managing Partner: People & Talent, Bennett Jones

We have read with sadness the news about Robert Legh. I wanted to convey my condolences and those of my partners for your personal and professional loss. From the tributes I have read, Robert was a wonderful person, and his stature in your firm attests to the respect and influence he had within your partnership. I am sure you will all miss him deeply, but his contributions to your firm and to the South African legal and business community will remain as a continuing monument to him.


Saito Kiminori, Nishimura & Asahi

Apart from the formal Nishimura & Asahi’s deepest condolence E-mail, I was very shocked to hear Rob’s sad news on last Sunday, and so I want to send this E-mail personally.

It is no doubt that Rob was a great lawyer and a superb gentleman. Additionally, when I was leaving Jo’burg and greeted Rob in his office on last March, I clearly remember he cared about me a lot.

It would be greatly appreciated if you can accept my heartfelt and deepest condolences for your loss of Rob.


Queenie Abia, Chief Operating Officer, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie

We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Rob. He was indeed a good friend of the firm and was instrumental in making our alliance relationship a reality. I recall having dinner with him the last time I was in Jo’burg, he made the evening a truly remarkable one.


Nuno Galvão Teles, Managing Partner, Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados

On behalf of Morais Leitão, and our Legal Circle member firms, we would like to express our deepest sympathy over the passing of Rob Legh. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to benefit from his warmth and kindness. Rob’s passing is certainly saddening to all of us. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.


Nicholas French, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

So very sorry to hear this very sad news, but with a very fitting tribute.


Nadège Nguyen, Partner, Gide Loyrette Nouel

This is devastating news indeed. Rob was a calm, kind and thoughtful person and I was lucky enough to meet him many times during our Lex Mundi events. All the messages of mourning and condolences around the globe show that he was loved and respected by all. He will be deeply missed.


Mohamed Husain, Director, Knowles Husain Lindsay

My condolences on the untimely passing of Robert Legh. I first came across him in the Nedbank/Standard Bank hostile takeover bid where we both were assistants to our respective senior partners. My last engagement with him was approximately two years ago. I found him to be a competent and dedicated lawyer. I am sure he will leave a void not only at Bowmans but also in the profession.


Mahomed Essof, Senior Group Legal Counsel and Country Manager: SA, Ericsson

Kindly accept our sincere condolences personally and on behalf of Ericsson on the passing of Rob Legh. We are deeply saddened on hearing of the news and share in your sorrow. We trust the family and Bowmans can overcome the grief and pain with ease and comfort.


Karen O’Flynn, Clayton Utz

I learned over the weekend of the very sad news about Rob.

My encounters with Rob over the years at various Lex Mundi and IBA events were very enjoyable. He was great company, funny and generous, but always insightful about whatever issue was being discussed.

I know that you and your colleagues will be mourning Rob’s passing. I am also thinking of his family. I met Kathryn a number of times. My husband and I spent a very pleasant day with Kathryn and Rob visiting Segovia on the Sunday between the end of the Lex Mundi and the beginning of the IBA conferences in Madrid one year.


Jennifer Schneck, Head of US Securities, Ashurst

I have only just heard the incredibly sad news about Rob Legh and wanted to pass along my condolences to you and everyone at Bowmans.


Jean-François Levraud, Managing Partner, Gide Loyrette Nouel

On behalf of Gide and our Gide Africa team, we would like to express our most sincere condolences and deepest sympathy following the passing of Robert Legh.

Robert was a respected, trusted and admired leader. He was also a strong supporter of the partnership we started with Bowmans and we will always remember his deep involvement in this project. Our collaboration with Robert has always been very constructive and pleasant for all of us.

Our thoughts go to his family, friends and the people of your firm.


Geoff Moore, Managing Partner, Arthur Cox

It is with a heavy heart that I write to express my sincere condolences on behalf of everyone at Arthur Cox on hearing the terrible news earlier today of Rob’s passing. The awful virus that is COVID has taken such a heavy toll on so many families and organisations and I was so very sorry to hear that it has taken Rob from Bowmans.

We too have lost some of our partners whilst still in practice and it really is a huge shock when things like this occur.

Please do pass on our condolences to Rob’s family and friends at the firm. Remember him fondly.


Andrew McGregor, Managing Director, Who Owns Whom

I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I never met Robert but he sounds like a pillar of a man and will be sadly missed by your firm and broader society. Wishing you every strength.


Rupprecht Graf von Pfeil, Partner, Venturis Consulting Group (translated from German)

He fondly remembers his interactions with Rob who impressed him with his very elegant and polite manner, that appeared very human*. His death is an immense human loss – for his family and the partnership. He will forever think of Rob with fond memories.

*the word ‘mensch’ in German has a particular meaning which is difficult to translate. Hence you will find English speakers refer to someone as a ‘mensch’.


Bastian Koster, Partner, Von Seidels

Will you please extend my condolences, and also from the other partners in our firm who have known Rob, to his family. Rob was not only an exceptional lawyer but a very kind person and I always had him in the highest regard. He is certainly going to leave a big void in the legal fraternity and also at Bowmans.


Simon Bugingo, Standard Chartered Bank

I’m very sorry to hear about Rob. May he rest in peace. My condolences to the Bowmans family.


Rob Collins, Blake, Cassels & Graydon

David G just sent me a note to let me know about Rob’s death. Really too sad. Always a good guy with a sardonic sense of humour. My condolences to Rob’s family, all of you and the rest of the firm.


Paulo Coelho da Rocha, Demarest

We were extremely saddened to hear about the passing of our dear friend Rob Legh. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and all our friends at Bowmans.


John Davidson

I heard yesterday the very sad news about Rob’s passing. My deepest sympathies to everyone at Bowmans, and to his family. In solidum.


Brian Rose, Senior Counsel, Bennett Jones

Was very sorry to read of the death of Robert Legh. What a loss.  Thinking of you and the firm.


Witney W. Schneidman, Senior Advisor for Africa, Covington & Burling

On behalf of the Covington family, I would like to express our most sincere condolences to the entire Bowmans family on Rob Legh’s passing.

Rob was a giant among us, a dear friend and consistently gracious at every turn. We will sorely miss the sparkle in his eye, his wise counsel and his large appetite for the very best in life.

At this difficult moment, please know that you and your colleagues are in our thoughts and prayers.


Robert F. Millard, Director, Cambridge Strategy Group

I have just heard of Rob Legh’s succumbing to Covid last night. It’s very sad news indeed. I liked and respected Rob a great deal. My deep and most sincere sympathies to all of you at Bowmans.


Lara Bezuidenhout, Chairperson – Johannesburg, Fasken

It was with deep sadness that I heard the news that Rob had passed away.  These past weeks must have been incredibly difficult for your firm and for his family.

Rob was a credit to the legal profession. He was an accomplished lawyer, an excellent leader and a kind and decent human being.

On behalf of all of the partners and staff at Fasken in Johannesburg, our sincere condolences to all at Bowmans.  We will make a donation to the Alexandra Education Committee to honour Rob’s contribution to the profession and the many worthy causes he supported.


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.


Doug Ainslie

I have just learned of the tragic passing of Rob. I know everyone who knew him will be feeling this loss for a long time, and justifiably so.

I always admired Rob and will never forget the day we met.

All the CAs were corralled into a “meet the senior partners” lunch at Katy’s Palace. Good food, but an epic set up for awkward encounters. One of which I had with Rob, but it always brings a smile to my face.

As predicted, a small, but tightly spaced circle of nervous CAs had formed, clutching free drinks, avoiding any potential CLMs (‘career limiting moves’, in case your CA days are too far behind you to recall the acronym). A very dapper, very tall gentleman, wearing I believe a white fedora ambled his way into a gap and tried to make conversation with a few nearby CAs. None were having it and sought exits as soon as good manners allowed.

I thought (perhaps buoyed by my second free beer) that I should make the most of the day and tried to strike up a conversation with the be-hatted gentleman. I introduced myself and stuck out my hand and received a gracious and firm handshake. He introduced himself simply as ‘Rob’. In my nervousness to find something to talk about I quickly formed the view that since I was already almost a year into my articles, and would surely have seen this gent around the hallways, he must have come up from the Cape Town office for the lunch, and confidently asserted as much, adding (as evidence) that I’d never seen him around. To which Rob, in his disarming way, leaned his imposing height over my 5ft8 head and stated calmly, “Oh, no. I’m the chairman of the firm. I’ve been in my office a lot lately I guess.” At which point I took the lessons of my comrades, spluttered some goodbye and excused myself to the bar to drown my embarrassment.

Despite my bumblings Rob was always friendly to me, and when we bumped into each other at events after I’d left the firm would always give me the same gracious firm handshake and chat about where I was and how the firm was doing.

My condolences to you, and everyone at Bowmans.


David Veale, Standard Bank

We are all saddened by the passing of Rob and I would like to extend our condolences to the Bowmans family on behalf of Standard Bank.

Many of us had the opportunity to work with Rob on a number of landmark transactions, many of which were Standard Bank related. He always enjoyed the confidence of all involved and his insights and professional manner will be missed.


Colin Strime, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Fluxmans

Unfortunately over the last few days I find myself sending letters of condolence to colleagues, family and friends. We are living in a very sad and dangerous times. I too extend my sincere condolences to you and all of my colleagues at Bowmans and especially to Rob’s family.


Dirk Busch, Hengeler Muller

So sorry to hear that Rob passed away. My deepest condolences. He was an excellent lawyer and an outstanding person. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet and to work with him. My thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow. Sending condolences to his family and the entire Bowmans family.


Colin Coleman, former CEO, Goldman Sachs

I heard Rob Legh passed. Sorry. MHSRIP.


Alison Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa (message to members)

Many of you knew and have over the years worked with Rob Legh, who sadly succumbed to Covid-19 complications last week.

I recall working with Rob who was part of the newly formed competition department when I was a legal advisor at SAB in the mid-1990’s up until I left in 2004.  Rob was at the time, I recall, an associate member of CCASA and so our relationship continued when I assumed the position of the CCASA CEO.

Rob and I often chuckled over the fact that our sons, born on the same day, both bore the same names – Thomas Legh and Thomas Lee, pronounced the same way but spelt differently!

Or heartfelt condolences go out to all who loved and respected Rob, especially to his family and his colleagues at Bowmans.

The legal profession has lost a good man.


Gil White, Managing Partner, Herzog Fox Neeman

We were very saddened to learn of the passing of your firm’s Chairman & Senior Partner, Robert Legh. On behalf of Meir, myself and all at Herzog, please pass our condolences to your partners and Robert’s family.


Ronald Marambii, Managing Director, Bank of Africa Kenya

On behalf of the Management and the entire staff of Bank of Africa Kenya Limited, we wish to convey our heartfelt condolence to the Coulson Harney Fraternity following the demise of Chairman and Senior Partner, Mr. Robert Legh. We have lost a noble mind whose contribution leaves a footprint. May you find peace ahead. May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace.


Jason van der Poel, Partner, Webber Wentzel

I was gutted to hear of Rob’s passing last week.  My sincere condolences to you and the Bowmans family. 

It conjured up many warm memories of the time I spent with you and him during and after my articles at Bowmans all those many moons ago – 1999-2002 (Ezra: “My friend… my friend…. Let’s get it going!  I wanna see results!” Rob: [Eye-roll…] smile…).  Rob was a thoroughly decent man and his kind, calm, considered and generous manner will be missed by so many.  An ideal leader in many respects.


Khurshid Fazel, Partner, Webber Wentzel

So sorry!!


Lindi Vundla, Uber

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Rob Legh last week.

This news has resonated throughout the global Uber family as we remember him as a respected lawyer with a laudable career. There is little I can say that has not been covered in the numerous moving tributes to him, so I will touch on two of my personal memories.

I think I first recall him either a member or the head of the Competition Committee in the 00s when he managed to calm the outrage of competition lawyers to help present balanced yet robust comments to proposed legislative amendments. More recently, I attended an art exhibition held at Bowmans to benefit a children’s NGO, and I recall him giving an address and his exchange of banter with the curator, and later observing him moving through the crowd but periodically returning to his wife Kathryn’s side.

His impact on law in South Africa and beyond is indisputable, and I am also thankful for the opportunity to have seen these other glimpses of the man you all must have known so well, and whom you must miss dearly.

We send you our deepest condolences in this difficult time and hope that you may find some solace through this trying circumstance.


Ken Njuguna, Uber

I’ve heard and read about the sad news of Rob Legh’s passing. Please receive my deepest sympathies – to you as well as the wider Bowmans family. Poleni sana


Francisco Silva Santos on behalf of TPLA

We were truly saddened to hear of Rob’s passing away. Our sincere condolences to everyone at Bowmans and to Rob’s family and friends.

Conscient that Rob was a bright star looking after Bowmans, its values, spirit, and colleagues for so many years, we hope that in some way he continues to guide the firm from up above. May he rest in peace and guard his loved ones as well.

Considering the impact of Rob’s life and work, we trust that the below poem is a fair reflection of our thoughts on the loss of an extraordinary human being. We also wish that it may provides some peace and comfort in this time of grief. Feel free to pass it on.

When Great Trees Fall

Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.


When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.


When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,


gnaws on kind words


promised walks

never taken.


Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their


now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance, fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of

dark, cold



And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.


With our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers.


Mfundo Ngobese, Principal Investigator, The Competition Commission

Very sad. This is a big loss to all of us.


Anne Njoroge, Senior Legal Counsel, Strate

May his soul rest in peace.


Simon Sephton, Siber Ink Publishers

For a number of years I was privileged to work with Rob Legh as he authored, and then directed colleagues to author, our publication The Competition Law Sibergramme, a regular update on his field of expertise. A more thoroughly decent man would be hard to find, and it was with great shock and sadness that I learned of his untimely death. My condolences go to all his colleagues and his family.


Alvin H. Shiozaki, Shiozaki Legal

I just received word that Rob has passed away. I wish to send my deepest condolences and sympathy.

I met and spoke with Rob many times, at international conferences, Lex Mundi events, and during his visits to Tokyo. He was always calm and gentle, it was always a pleasure to meet him. I did not have a chance to work with Rob on a competition law case, but I was always confident I could rely on him and his team if there was ever a need to receive advice.

This must be a huge loss to Bowmans, and I wish to send my sympathy to everyone at Bowmans. I will miss him.


Paul Bondi, Co-Head South Africa, Rothschild and Co

On behalf of Rothschild and Co, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences on the untimely passing of Rob Legh.

We have had the privilege of working with, and in some cases opposite, Rob on a number of precedent setting transactions over many years. We also worked alongside him in the role he played on behalf of organised business through Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and more recently in the critical role Rob played within Business for SA (B4SA) in tirelessly working with social partners to limit the devastating impact of the pandemic on employers and employees through the Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (TERS).

Throughout these many different roles, Rob’s unwavering commitment to his clients, colleagues and his fellow South Africans was a constant theme. Over and above his sage and steadfast advice, his dedication to making a positive contribution both to the business community and society more broadly was universally evident. He was a true patriot and an outstanding individual. His generosity of spirit, dedication and friendship will be dearly missed.

We wish the team at Bowmans and Rob’s family much strength at this very difficult time.


Heather Mangwiro, Multichoice

I am so sorry to hear about Rob’s passing. How devastating. Please accept my condolences and pass same to the rest of your team.


Radhika Maheshwari, Director Corporate Development, Mondelēz International

I wanted to express my sadness for the loss of Robert Legh, your esteemed Chairman. I only know him through the obituary I read and I truly feel the world has lost one of its greats. COVID really has been brutal.


Cecilia M. Mairal, Partner, Marval O’Farrell Mairal

These are extremely sad news. My deepest condolences to Robert’s family, friends and colleagues. We will miss him dearly at our annual cocktail party in NY which in normal times we hold in early June, and at the Lex Mundi and IBA conferences.


Thierry Lauriol, Energy Law Group Chairman, Jeantet

It is with deep sorrow that I heard of Rob Legh’s passing this week-end and wish to express on behalf of the Energy Law Group and myself my sincere condolences to his family and colleagues in Bowmans in this most difficult time.

He was behind Bowmans becoming an intrinsic part of the ELG, and I will always remember with great fondness our deep and illuminating professional and personal conversations over the last few years in France and in South Africa.

I could use a thousand words to describe the humane qualities of this most unique and brilliant lawyer but would rather whisper a simple “thank you” to my now departed friend and colleague.

He will remain in our thoughts.


Maureen Mithamo, Head of Legal, Java

We send your team and the whole of Bowmans family our sincere condolences for the loss of your Chairman.


Rezan Ökten, Transfer Pricing Counsel, Houthoff

I am deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of your chairman Rob. I had the opportunity to speak to Rob during our catch up last year. My deepest condolences to you, Rob’s family and his colleagues.


Melany Green, Chief Expectations Officer, Great Expectations

I heard this news on Friday and was truly shocked. I am aware of the love and respect in which Robert was held by the Bowmans family and can imagine the impact his sudden loss is having on everyone.


Helen Kean, Senior Director, Economic and Financial Consulting, FTI Consulting

I am sorry for your loss. These are incredible tributes. Thinking of you.


Gerhard Painter, Managing Partner, Friedland Hart Solomon & Nicolson

We are all very saddened to learn of the sudden loss of Robert Legh.

On behalf of our Firm, I wish to express our sincerest condolences to his family and to all of the directors and staff at your Firm.

Friedland Hart Solomon & Nicolson have had a very long-standing relationship with your Firm, which dates back to the days when Barry Kraut was a partner at Kraut Wagner and Kernick. We share in your loss.


Alastair Mordaunt, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

I wanted to drop you a short note to pass on my sincere condolences on Rob Legh’s passing.  He was always a real gentleman when I met him (usually at IBA events) and I’m sure his passing is a huge shock and loss to the firm, and particular to your teams given his role as one of the founding fathers of competition law in South Africa.

My thoughts are with you, your teams and colleagues and of course Robert’s family.


Frank Montag, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

It is with great sadness that I read about Rob’s tragic and premature death. I would like to express my sincere condolences to you and your colleagues.

Rob and I have known each other for a long time going all the way back to the 90ies. We made partners in our respective firms at about the same time and met when discussions about competition law in South Africa started to draw attention internationally. Ever since then we say each other quite regularly when working on joint matters – one even brought me to South Africa for a meeting with Rob and the SACC – and in international conferences like the ICN conferences. I have only fond memories of these meetings and our collaboration.

You at Bowmans and all of us in the legal profession have lost an excellent lawyer, leader, colleague, and friend.


Emma Spitz, Director, Executive Coaching Consultancy

Just want to say how shocked I am to hear of Rob’s passing, I also know how incredibly well regarded he was by you all and can’t imagine how tough it must be right now. My thoughts are with you all at this incredibly difficult time and please do take care.


Jocelyn Katz, Executive: Competition, ENS Africa

We are so very sad to hear of Rob’s passing. Our deepest condolences to all of you. Rob is a huge loss to the competition community as well as to the broader South African legal world.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Rob’s loved ones. May you find peace and strength in these difficult times. Please pass our condolences on to the rest of the department.

 We will remember Rob with fondness.


Ben Haglund, Day Pitney

I wanted to send my condolences to the firm and to Rob’s family.  This is such a tragic loss for everyone. My interactions with Rob were few over the years, but he was always an instantly insightful and deeply caring person. He will be missed.


Kayley Keylock, Marketing Counsel, Coca-Cola

I am so saddened to read this morning of Rob’s passing.  In addition to being a brilliant lawyer, Rob was a true gentleman and I will always remember how kind he was to me in every meeting.  This is very sad news.  I wanted to extend my condolences to you personally, to Bowmans and to Rob’s family.  May you all find comfort during this difficult time.


Dr. Evelina Georgiades, Director, Chrysostomides

On behalf of all at Chrysostomides, I would like to express our condolences on the passing of Rob Legh.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Rob’s family and everyone at Bowmans.


Stefan Cronje, BTS

I am so saddened by the news of Rob’s passing. I have only had a few brief encounters with him, but found him to be such a gentle giant, an unassuming well of wisdom and an unwavering consistent figure in Bowmans over the years. We know he will be sorely missed and widely mourned across the firm and beyond.

Our deepest condolences. It is our hope that you somehow experience a sense of peace and comfort in the midst of great grief.


Bonolo Smith, Senior Consultant, BTS

This is such a monumental loss to the firm, please receive our sincere condolences. Sending thoughts to you all during this time.


Amir Bocayuva Cunha, BMA Advogados

On behalf of BMA Advogados and law firms community in Brazil, we would like to express our condolences to all of Bowmans partners, lawyers and employees and to Robert’s family for the loss of Robert Legh.

Robert was a reference as a leader and a big supporter of the IBA. It was always a pleasure to meet him at IBA´s conferences.

Again, please accept our deepest sympathies during this period of mourning


R Dale Grimes, Co-Chair, Antitrust and Trade Practices Group, Bassberry Sims

I was shocked and saddened to read of Robert Legh’s passing.  He was a fine gentleman and someone I always enjoyed visiting with at Lex Mundi affairs.  I know this is a tremendous loss for your firm.  Please extend my condolences to your antitrust/competition group, your firm, and his family.


Dominic Sewela, Group Chief Executive Officer, Barloworld

I am deeply saddened to learn the tragic news of Rob Legh’s passing.

On behalf of our executive team and legal counsel at Barloworld, we are deeply sorry for your loss. Please receive this note of condolences to you and Bowmans family.

You are in our thoughts in this difficult time.


Hansie Schutte, Group Executive: Legal, Altron

On behalf of Altron, we would like to express our condolences to everyone at Bowmans, Rob’s family and friends on the very sad passing of Rob.

Rob has been a great friend ever since our first encounter in 1996, whereby I instructed him to draft an agreement in respect of Altech Autopage’s new billing system with a UK counter party.

Rob was a true gentleman in every respect and his leadership and values will never be forgotten.


Steven De Backer, Founder / CEO, Afriwise

It is with complete shock and disbelief that we received the news of the sudden demise of Robert Legh.

Words may not help much at the present time but please accept our heartfelt condolences, extended to Robert’s family, friends and all of you at Bowmans.

The loss of such a respected leader in the African legal fraternity is a loss suffered by all of us who wish for a better future for our Continent. Robert was a respected, trusted and admired leader, but above all a wonderful human being. He will never be forgotten.

Our thoughts are with you.


Clare Fincham, Management Committee, African Labour Law

On behalf of the Management committee and members of the ALLS, I wish to offer our sincere condolences at the passing of Mr Rob Legh on Thursday. Thinking of all our colleagues at Bowmans and Mr Legh’s family at this sad time. May his soul rest in peace.


Wendy Lucas-Bull, Chairman, and Jason Quinn, Interim Group Chief Executive, ABSA Group

It is with great sadness that we learnt about the passing of Mr Rob Legh. On behalf of the Absa Group, kindly accept our condolences to Mr Legh’s family and the Bowmans team.

We will remember him not only for his solid contribution to the legal profession, but for the role he played in the partnership between South African business, government, and other social partners to mobilise resources and capacity to fight the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Dani Jaff Klein

It is with such a sad heart and many tears that I’m sending you my condolences for the enormous loss of Rob. Reading the very many tributes, it’s hard to fully comprehend the impact that he had on so many. Most of you were colleagues and friends over many many, years, and were still very much a part of his life. I’m sure you’re still reeling from the shock of not having him in your lives and the space that has been left will be felt for a long time.

Some of us crossed paths briefly, like myself. Nonetheless, the impact that he had on me was tremendous. As a candidate attorney, I worked in his competition law department for six months, in 2000. My recollection of that time was of a law and ecosystem that was still very much emerging, along with strong characters, occasional histrionics and hours of listening to technical details. Rob always rose above the malarkey and cut through to the issues. In his quiet manner, he always managed to get to the point with an equal measure of respect and bemusement. He epitomised the notion of dignity and decency. This was clearly a part of him that was hugely valued by so many as mentioned in so many of the tributes.

The one memory of mine that stands out so vividly, even after twenty years, has nothing to do with law. I was standing in his office, and possibly having mentioned visiting India, Rob directed me to a book on his shelf amongst the many legal books. It was a big, fat book and he told me to take it home and read it. It was a Friday and I spent the weekend reading the book. It made such an impact on me, and was so overwhelming, that I came into work very late on the Monday, feeling emotionally drained. The book was Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance.”  When I explained why I was late, Rob was completely sympathetic and understanding, if not a little bemused. Never angry.

For me this incident says so much about Rob. The interest he showed in his candidate attorney, his generosity in lending the book, his compassion and huge heart, his understanding and empathy. It was a small incident, but had a long lasting effect. And it impresses on me that such small acts of kindness and decency have vast and enduring repercussions.

When I chose to leave Bowmans and commercial law, Rob was never judgmental and always encouraged me to follow my heart.

He was clearly a pillar of the Bowmans family and very much affected the firm with his values, his wisdom and his culture of decency above all else. It is a part of practicing law that I will always miss.

You are all very much in my thoughts and I send you love at this difficult time. If appropriate, please pass on condolences to his family.

As is said in Jewish tradition, may his memory be a blessing to us all.


Elizabeth Bourne

I felt I had to write to say how sad I feel at Rob’s passing. I have such a long memory of him, from the time when he was a young lawyer. Rob is a dreadful loss to the law profession and a greater loss to his family and Bowmans.  I think of him with love and respect.  I would like to add my name to those who mourn his passing.  My condolences to the Bowmans community.


Susan Bright, Hogan Lovells

I am writing both personally and on behalf of Hogan Lovells to say how sorry I am to hear that Rob Legh has died.  He was a great practitioner and a lovely man.   We worked on matters for SABMiller together a long time ago and, indeed, it was John Davidson, former GC of SABMiller, who told me the terrible news.

Rob and I exchanged emails only a few months ago on the death of Andrew Williamson, who had been a partner in each of our firms.

I send condolences from all of us at Hogan Lovells who knew Rob and respected him as both a lawyer and a leader of your firm.  I’d be grateful if you would also express our sorrow to his family.


Ignatius Sehoole, Chief Executive Officer, KPMG

It is with great sadness that we learned of the recent passing of Rob Legh.

On behalf of KPMG South Africa, we wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to Rob’s family and friends. We also acknowledge the sense of loss that will be felt by all his colleagues who would have spent time and shared memories with him while at Bowmans.

We recognise his commitment and loyalty to Bowmans and the legal profession over the past 35 years and without a doubt, his team and colleagues will be at a loss.

We grieve with you at this time and will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.


Hon. Mr Justice David Unterhalter, Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal

Tribute published in the Daily Maverick titled Robert Legh: Leader, patriot and multi-faceted attorney who helped change SA’s competition law for the better here  

Some lawyers are liked, some are admired for their abilities, some are respected. Few have all these qualities. Robert Legh was such a lawyer.

Robert Legh succumbed to complications arising from Covid 19 on 1 July 2021. In this time of ubiquitous sorrow, many have wanted to mark his death and recognize the imprint Robert left upon South Africa.  He was a lawyer of great professional accomplishment whose long and distinguished career at the law firm Bowman Gilfillan culminated in his appointment as the firm’s chairman and senior partner. There are lawyers who follow this professional path, and leave behind well served clients and professional regard. That is true too of Robert, but it is a small part of his story.

Robert qualified as an attorney in the 1980’s, as apartheid South Africa was coming to an  end, and a new democratic society was being born. Robert was among that relatively small group of white South Africans who looked upon the change without apprehension,  but rather, with a sense of gratitude that we were to be freed from a dismal and reprehensible past.  There was work to be done and Robert had a role to play. 

Although Robert was to work extensively with and for business in the course of his career, it is less well known that in his early years as an attorney Robert represented the unions in labour disputes. It left an impression upon him. Though he was to go on to act for prominent and powerful companies, Robert recognized that conflicts determined through strong and independent institutions build an inclusive democratic society. He was given his opportunity to test this conviction.

Democratic South Africa inherited a sclerotic system of competition law. An important legislative object of the new government was to open the economy to the majority of South Africans whose economic opportunities were so blighted by Apartheid’s depredations. A new competition law regime was one way to do so. Sectors of South African business were hostile to change. Robert played an important advisory role in persuading important business interests that a modern competition law was both necessary and desirable. As the legislation went through Parliament, Robert’s was an important voice of reason.   He helped to bring about the passage of the Competition Act based upon independent institutions of investigation, prosecution and adjudication, with ultimate supervision by the courts. The substance of the law cohered with other leading competition regimes in the world, while retaining features that recognized the country’s specific history.

The Competition Act and its institutions gave rise to an area of professional practice that assumed considerable importance. Robert had contributed to its birth and was to spend many years developing one of the leading competition law practices. He was the lead attorney in significant mergers and restrictive practice cases that came before the Competition Tribunal and the Competition Appeal Court. His understanding of the law and the acuity with which he applied it won much praise. His successes were many. Clients looked to him for his wise and balanced advice. What stands out about Robert was the calm, measured way in which he applied his talents as a lawyer to the great benefit of his clients, but with consideration and respect for his opponents, and the institutions within which litigation was conducted. Some lawyers are liked, some are admired for their abilities, some are respected. Few have all these qualities. Robert was such a lawyer.

Unsurprisingly, given his talents, Robert was drawn into the management of his firm. In 2014, he was elected to serve as the firm’s chairman and senior partner. Bowman Gilfillan resisted the fashion for merging with a large international firm. Rather, it pursued a strategy of building a strong African law firm, with a considerable presence across the continent, and well -developed relationships with prominent firms in other parts of the world. Robert helped to fashion and implement this strategy, and did so with relish. He travelled widely and frequently to build these relationships. He recruited lawyers in other African jurisdictions to the firm, integrated their practices, and built durable alliances. What stood out was his quite authority, his ability to draw people together, and his innate sense of fairness, rising above petty differences that are ultimately inconsequential. He was a leader who led with soft power and all prospered.

As the pandemic engulfed South Africa, and many retreated into protective introspection, Robert joined the leadership of Business for South Africa to assist the country. He chaired the labour workstream. His tenacity helped ensure that the Unemployment Insurance Fund paid out billions under the temporary employer/employee relief scheme to alleviate the plight of so many. It was an accomplishment that so well exemplifies Robert’s qualities. It required endurance, persistence, diplomacy, careful thought, and, above all, a calling to do something that made this part of the world a better place.

At his 50th birthday party, he spoke about his rootedness in this country, and his identification with its people. He was a patriot in the best sense of the word. It mattered that we thrived. He suffered our reverses and took pride in our success. But his views were never parochial. He travelled widely and curiously. He read voraciously. He followed the ideas and debates of our times. He had cosmopolitan tastes. He had an effortless sociability and gravitational pull that made him a friend to many. As he struggled for his life, in the last two months of his life, a ‘Rob’s whatsapp group’ was formed. It had hundreds of participants from across the world, willing him to live. Against a deadly pathogen, will, sadly, was not enough. But this group demonstrated, daily, the sheer number of people to whom he mattered.

His life ended too soon. He was at the height of his powers. His was an unusual combination of qualities. He applied them to matters of importance, in the time and place in which he lived. And many have good reason to be grateful that he did so.


Kim Hawkey, Afriwise

The African legal community lost a giant last week, when Rob Legh, chairman of Bowmans, passed away.

The many tributes to this brilliant lawyer and visionary leader are testament to the importance of humanity in law. They paint a picture of a leader who made the effort to get to know clients and colleagues alike; to make them feel seen and heard. They speak of his empathy, kindness and moral fortitude; his “smile that reached his eyes” and his ability not to take himself too seriously.

Rob was an extraordinary lawyer because he embraced his humanity. And it is this that really matters at a time when technology is disrupting legal services at an unprecedented rate. While technology is already replacing some of the work done by lawyers, the characteristics embodied by Rob will secure the future of the profession. It will be those lawyers who use technology to free themselves to focus on those aspects that cannot be replaced by machines – including embracing their humanity to better their legal practice – who will thrive in future.

From all of us at Afriwise, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Rob’s family, friends and colleagues.


Chris Johnson, Business Accountant, LDC Accounting and Tax Consultants Inc.

I am writing to you from the Deane Yates Trust, which Robert Legh chaired. We are deeply saddened by his passing and wish you our deepest condolences. The world has lost a truly great man.


Tiekie Barnard, CEO & Founder, Shared Value Africa Initiative

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Bowmans family on the loss of the Bowmans Chairman and Senior Partner, Robert Legh. We wish you strength and healing during this sad time. May Robert’s legacy live on forever within Bowmans.


Sandy Sagar, Director: Membership and Programmes, ISASA

My thoughts are with you, as you and Bowmans mourn the loss of a great man!


Richard Cottrill, Chairman, Abland Property Developers

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Rob.

Rob was an incredible individual and we are humbled to have worked with him as a client and partner.  We can only echo the many tributes that have been written about him over the last few days.

Please accept our deepest condolences from all of us at Abland and the Abcon Group, our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.


Pratul Shah

Very sorry to hear about the sad demise of your Chairman and my condolences to you and partners of Bowmans for this loss. I had met him with you a few times. May he RIP


Petra Zijp, Managing Partner, NautaDutilh N.V.

We at NautaDutilh are very sorry for the loss of your beloved senior partner Rob. Kindly allow me on behalf of all of us at NautaDutilh to express our deepest sympathies to you and all your partners and employees as you go through this period of shock and grief.

Rob was not only a successful legal professional and inspiring leader, but also a thorough gentleman, a warm and kind person. We have had the honor of meeting him personally several times in South Africa, in New York and during IBA Conferences all over the world. These meetings were always such a pleasure! His memory and way of leading a law firm shall always be an asset for us.

We wish all of you at Bowmans strength to bear such a terrible loss.


Beate Loch, Partner, Koep & Partners

It is with sadness that we have learned of the passing of Bowmans Chair, Rob Legh.

As friends of Bowmans and fellow Lex Mundi members, we had the great pleasure of working with Rob on a few occasions and meeting him at Lex Mundi events.

We wish to extend our condolences to Rob’s family, friends and colleagues and the entire Bowmans family.


Andrew Harkness, Partner, Simpson Grierson

Please accept my sincere condolences on the very sad news about the passing of Robert your Chairman and Senior Partner. As part of the Lex Mundi community we extend our thoughts and prays to Bowmans.  

I had occasion to spend time with Robert at the Lex Mundi conference in South Korea in 2019 when we taxied across Seoul to find a sporting venue to watch the All Blacks play South Africa in the World Cup in Japan.  If I am not mistaken Robert said he could have attended that game with clients, but had put the firm and Lex Mundi and IBA ahead of his own desire to be there. This signified his commitment to the firm.  The ABs were successful that day in the pool game and we shared a beer over a recap. He was most gracious in defeat but he would have then gone on to see South Africa rise to take the tournament which I could see him being ecstatic about.

Having lost our own Chairman, Kevin Jaffe, in 2018 we know what a shock and toll such events have on a partnership and the firm.

Our thoughts are with you, your staff and partners and Robert’s family.


Tiziana Sucharitkul, Tilleke & Gibbins

I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Rob’s passing and wanted to write to express my most sincere condolences to you, all your colleagues at Bowmans, and of course Rob’s family. 

My thoughts are with you all during this very difficult time.  I cannot imagine the impact his loss must be having on all those who surrounded him. He was a brilliant character and a true gentleman. In my years of knowing him through Lex Mundi, and in particular at the South Africa conference a few years back, he was always kind and warm and gracious.  I will certainly miss him at our future Lex Mundi events.

Please do pass on my condolences to his family members as well.


Theresa Mruttu, Legal Counsel, Safaricom

Poleni sana Bowmans team. May he rest in peace.


Sarah Arapta, Citi

On behalf of the team at Citi Uganda, we offer you all our deepest and most sincere condolences at the passing of your Chairman and Senior Partner. 

May his soul rest in eternal peace. 


Peter Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Hill Dickinson

I am sure you have been overwhelmed by messages of sympathy and support. Can I simply add mine on behalf of all of your friends at Hill Dicks.

I didn’t have the privilege of meeting Robert but have read much about him in recent days. A tragic loss of a man who appears to have been a giant.

My deepest sympathies.


Nathan Njoroge, Citi

So sad to learn of your Chairman’s death. Though I never met the man, I heard a lot of good things about him, about his charisma and his unrivalled leadership acumen. My sincere condolences. And may his wonderful soul rest, eternally, in God’s Holy bosom. Peace.


Mbuvi Ngunze

My heart reaches out to all the staff and colleagues at Bowmans. I remember him as a fine gentlemen, an enthusiastic golfer, and having a great sense of humor.  Having met him several times, I totally agree that I was the better for our interaction and he took a keen interest in what I had to say.

Please pass my personal condolences to the family and the wider Bowmans team.

Rest In Peace gentle giant!


Marthinus Janse Van Rensburg, Head: Legal Risk Management, Capitec Bank

My condolences to all of you on the loss of your chairperson.


Jacques De Villiers, Group Legal & Compliance Officer, And Beyond

It is with sadness that I learned of Robert’s passing earlier today. Kindly accept my sincere condolences with the passing of your colleague and an exceptional attorney.


Edward Legg, Edward Legg Consulting Services

Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Rob Legh.

Rob and I worked together during the listing of Metorex in 1999 and subsequently on many agreements and issues in Zambia and DRC.

It is indeed very sad for us all to see him taken so quickly. Kindly convey my condolences to his family and colleagues.


Carlos Umaña Trujillo, Brigard Urrutia

We just learned about the passing of Robert Legh.

On behalf of all my colleagues at Brigard Urrutia I want to express our condolences for the passing of Robert, a longtime friend of us and also an ever present person at our Lex Mundi Meetings. I remember Robert as a friendly person and a great supporter of the Lex Mundi project. We will miss him.


Janet Looi, Partner, Skrine

I just saw the sad news of Robert Legh’s passing and wanted to send our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Robert’s family and to all at Bowmans on your loss.


Hugh Lane, Hughlane Trainer

I heard this morning that Rob had died a day or two ago.

His dad and mine were gunners and prisoners of war together during WW2, and I was friends with Rob and his siblings. I was very fond of Rob. Apart from having a keen interest in competition law (of which he was a master as you know), I enjoyed chatting to him when he called by at Giles Pub occasionally for an after-work beer.


Carl Anduri

I was deeply saddened to learn today of Rob’s passing. My condolences to you and your colleagues at the firm and to his family.

This is very difficult to believe. Although I have not seen Rob in two years, I have been following what your firm has been doing and the impact he has had. Your firm has been blessed with great leadership through the years, and Rob was definitely in that tradition as the firm has moved from strength to strength.

I remember Rob not just for his outstanding leadership, but for the warmth and collegiality he brought to all the interactions I was privileged to have with him. He will be greatly missed.


Andrew Dixon Smith, Standard Chartered

I send my deepest condolences to you all and to all the Bowmans team.

Rob was a real character and extremely well respected in the legal community. He is yet another great loss to SA and the world especially when this virus is containable with vaccine. It makes us all so very sad and so very angry. We have lost Rob far too early and we are all greatly saddened by his passing.

I recall the last time we were all together in Seoul when you kindly invited me to join you at dinner and Rob was in full character that evening.

I send my very best to all of you.


Warren Van Rooyen, Legal Ethics and Compliance Director, ABInBev

I was extremely sad to hear the news about Rob and we have all lost a good man. It has brought me back to reality today and given some time for reflection. Please pass on my condolences to the family.


Tim Pick, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Please give our condolences to the team.


Taryn Leishman (Harmse), EVP: Head of Legal and Compliance, Gold Fields

Our deepest condolences to Rob’s family and friends and his Bowmans family. A huge sad, sad loss!


Stephen Revell, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

I just heard about Robs passing. My deepest condolences to his family and the firm. Rob was literally larger than life and played a significant role in not only developing your firm but also the closeness between our firms.


Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank

I am so sorry to hear about Rob Legh’s passing. He was a great lawyer, a great friend and partner to Standard Bank, and a thoroughly excellent human being. Please convey my sincere condolences to everyone at Bowmans. I am sure that perpetual light will shine on Rob’s soul and I pray that you will be comforted.


Russell Wells, Clifford Chance

My heartfelt condolences to Rob’s family and his many friends and colleagues.


Roberto E. Silva, Marvel O’Farrell Mairal

Please receive my condolences on the death of Rob. I am very sad to hear about it. Rob was a great guy we will all remember.


Rob Morson, Partner, Pinsent Mason

We are heartbroken and devastated for Rob’s family and the Bowmans family. So many of us have followed Rob’s path over the past few months hoping for the best. We kept believing, knowing how strong he was.

What a wonderful man. Whether it was leading a team on a complex matter, leading the firm through a new strategy, offering sage guidance, being the strong, courageous, kind face of the firm or his Pumped up Kids on the dancefloor party trick, Rob was unique, inspirational and exemplary.

We share your pain although we can at best only imagine what Kathryn and Rob’s amazing children and all it at Bowmans are going through.

From all of us at Pinsent Masons. and in particular all of us that will always have Bowmans in our veins and Rob in our hearts, we send you our strongest virtual hug. May Rob’s beautiful soul Rest in Peace. We will miss him.


Paul Pretorius, Vice President: Group Legal, Gold Fields

Devastating news. Our sincerest condolences to you all. 


Paul Henderson, African Rainbow Minerals

My condolences to Rob’s family and friends, and to the Bowmans team, for this sad loss.


Michael Schottler, Head of Legal – Global Disputes, Anglo American

My sincere condolences to Rob’s family, and the entire Bowmans team, for this incredibly sad loss.


Lloyd Manokore

It is with a heavy heart that I write this note to express my deep shock and sadness at the news just received on the passing of Rob.

As you are all aware, Rob had become a friend and was an absolute rock of support for our firm in Zim. A true gentleman.

May I and on behalf of my family extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and to the Bowmans family.

May his legacy of good leadership give you all strength in this time of mourning. May his soul rest in eternal peace.


Kevin Markman, ENS Africa

I know we corresponded by text but wanted to more formally extend my condolences to you and your partners and everyone at Bowmans on the tragic passing of your Chairman.

I hope that you will all find strength in the memory of him and all that he must have meant to all of you and to the profession generally.


Kelly Thompson, Chairperson, Adams & Adams

It is with great sadness that Adams & Adams has learned of the passing of Mr Robert Legh.

Rob was well-known to many of our partners, especially those who were involved in the merger of the Bowmans IP practice into our firm in 2012, and they all speak of him very fondly. He was, by all accounts, an esteemed and much-admired member of the profession and a great leader.

On behalf of the partners of Adams & Adams, I wish to extend our sincere condolences to all of your partners and staff, and Mr Legh’s family, at this difficult time.


Keith Wells, Brandwell

I just read the awful news about Robert. It’s no comfort to anyone, but I simply wanted to add my name to what I’m sure will be a very long list of people paying tribute to him. During our project time, I always found Rob a delight to talk with (he even supported the same football team as me, and that’s rare) while clearly an intensely bright man with deep integrity.

I hope that you and everyone in the Firm are as “ok” as you can possibly be – thinking of you all.


Karim Anjarwalla, Managing Partner, Anjarwalla & Khanna

I am very sad to hear about the passing of Robert Legh. On behalf of all at A&K and ALN please accept our deepest condolences and please pass these condolences also to Robert’s family.

I met him several times over the years and always enjoyed our chats. He was an outstanding leader and a fine gentleman, who has left a proud legacy in the law. His stature and presence will be sorely missed of course by the Bowmans family but also well beyond that.


Kamami Christine Michira, Iseme Kamau & Maema Advocates

It is very saddening news. Funny things you remember about people. When I close my eyes, I can see him dancing in the way only he did. He was a kind and gentle man. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.

Please convey our deepest condolences to his family, his partners both in Kenya and SA and indeed the entire team at Bowmans. We are keeping you all in prayer.


John Brand

I was very sad to learn of Rob’s death. I worked very closely with him for many years in difficult times. I learnt what a fine and courageous lawyer he was. He was always also a great source of fun for all who worked with him. Please pass on my condolences to the Firm and to his family.


Johan Brink

Please all accept my sincere condolences with the passing of Robert Legh last night. He was a great lawyer and a humble but awesome person. He will be sorely missed. Requiescat in pace.


Jeremy Connick, Clifford Chance

I heard the terrible news last night and we are so, so sorry. Our thoughts are with his family and all of you.


Ira Epstein, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Fluxmans

What a tragedy. Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the directors and staff at Bowmans and to his family. We wish you all strength to deal with such a terrible loss. Stay safe.


Inosi Nyatta, Sullivan & Cromwell

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Rob’s passing. I was so sorry to hear this after he had battled COVID so valiantly over the past months. I remember Rob’s thoughtfulness and gentleness. I am sure he will be deeply missed. Please accept my deepest condolences for Bowmans and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.


Hylton Cochrane

Very sad news indeed. I always held Rob Legh in high esteem. A man of integrity and highly competent. A very big loss to Bowmans.


Helena Samaha, President & CEO, Lex Mundi

I cannot begin to tell you how sad I was to hear about Robert today. Please accept my sincere condolences, personally as well as on behalf of the entire Lex Mundi team. I can only imagine, given Robert’s presence, how much he will be missed by all at your firm. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all and with Robert’s family.

I have sent this message to the Managing Partners within our membership:

I am writing to you today with the very sad news that our colleague and friend Rob Legh, Chair of our South African member firm Bowmans, passed away on Thursday evening.

Rob was central to the relationship Bowmans had with Lex Mundi. He was the personification of the quality, excellence and sophistication of that firm and his warmth, friendliness and generosity of character made him the perfect ambassador for Bowmans.

Rob was a regular attendee at Lex Mundi conferences and events, particularly the conferences just prior to the annual IBA conference and he was a staunch supporter of Lex Mundi’s Middle East and Africa regional initiatives.

We often say that Lex Mundi events create relationships that go beyond business and become lifelong friendships and I am sure many of you who will have met Rob at an event will have developed that strong friendship with him.

I was personally fortunate enough to meet him many years before I joined Lex Mundi when I was in-house at the Virgin group and was a client of Bowmans.

More recently, my last in-person visit to a member firm was in Johannesburg where Rob and the Bowmans team were, as always, and as he had always been to me, so welcoming and kind.


Grant Karolus, Finance Director, LeapFrog Investments

I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Rob. Please pass on my heartfelt condolences to his family and to his extended Bowmans family. He always treated me with respect and kindness and for that, I will remember him fondly. May his soul rest in peace.


George Trollope, Vice President – Global Taxation, AngloGoldAshanti

My sincere condolences to Robert’s family and staff of Bowmans.


Emile Myburgh, Emile Myburgh Attorneys

I have just heard the news of Rob Legh. Devastating. Please pass my condolences to Bowmans.


Derrick King, Senior Executive Finance, African Rainbow Minerals

Very sad news. My condolences to Rob’s family and the Bowmans team.


Dennis Jooste

A great loss to us all. I remember Rob arriving as an Articled Clerk, his days at the London office and his great contribution to Bowmans thereafter. A very humble person, a fine lawyer and obviously highly regarded by his peers. He will be sorely missed.


David Lewis, Clifford Chance

I just read the sad news about the passing of Rob Legh.

He was a “class act” and a total gent and I am sure he will be greatly missed by you all at Bowmans and by his family and friends. I hope he had a chance to reflect on his legacy at Bowmans, of which he should be rightly proud.

Our thoughts are with you. Sincere condolences.


David Josselsohn, Gilbert & Tobin

I was devastated to hear the news about Rob’s passing. Rob was a kind and good man and will be sorely missed.

We have a number of former Bowmans lawyers at G+T and on behalf of all of them, our firm and especially me, wishing Kathryn, his family and all the partners and staff at Bowmans our deepest condolences.

Thinking of all of you during this difficult time.


David Glennie, formerly from Blakes

I have just heard about Rob’s death, as I am now retired and off the Blakes feed. Such sad news. Covid really is stealing some of the very best among us. I will always remember Rob’s intelligence and wit and the warmth with which he always greeted us, both on home turf and on his travels. That is an enormous loss for Bowmans and for all of us. My thoughts are with his family, his Bowmans family and with your country as it battles the virus.


Dave Loxton, Schindlers

I have just heard the very sad news about Rob. Please accept and convey my sincere condolences to the partners on the firm’s loss of your senior partner and friend: he was a really “good guy”.


Dave Adams

I well remember Rob from my early days at Bowmans. He had a great sense of humor, could be mischievous and was good fun. Add to that, he became a fine and respected lawyer with integrity. He added value to many lives and will be missed.


Damien Zoubek, Cravath Swaine & Moore

I’m so heartbroken for all of you. He was a great man and we can only imagine how hard this is for all of you. You have my deepest sympathies, and I will remember him very, very fondly.


Caryn Sandler, Gilbert & Tobin

I wanted to reach out to say how sorry I am to hear the news about Rob’s passing, what a tragedy. We are thinking about you all during this very difficult time.


Brent Williams, CEO, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of your Chairman and Senior Partner, and our colleague, Rob Legh. He was an extraordinary lawyer and widely respected leader of your firm and our profession. That he was also collegial, polite and pragmatic – to a fault, despite the typical exigencies that accompany the leadership of a corporate law firm and the challenging circumstances in our broader environment, must mean that his loss will be deeply felt by us all, and Bowmans no less.

It is at least comforting to know that on account of his contributions and leadership over decades, he will have left an indelible mark on Bowmans and its enduring standing as a premier South African corporate law firm and a proud legacy for its partners and junior lawyers.

Thabile, I, our firm’s leadership and the directors of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, grieve Rob’s loss with his family and our Bowmans colleagues. Trust that we have you in our thoughts at this incredibly difficult juncture we face as a humanity.


Bobby Stewart, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

I am really very sorry to hear that dreadful news. Many condolences to all of you.


Berna Oluka, Head Legal CCIB Southern Africa, Standard Chartered

I would like to express my deepest condolences on the passing of Rob Legh. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the wider Bowmans family!


Ayesha Hansa, Standard Bank

We were so very sorry to hear the news of Rob’s passing last night. I am sure the messages are pouring in. Please convey our deepest sympathies and condolences on behalf of all your clients to his family. It is a great loss, indeed. May he Rest in Peace.


Alan Bedford-Shaw, Standard Bank

Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the tragic loss of your Chairman, Rob Legh. He was a fine leader, a good man and an excellent lawyer. We mourn his loss along with you.


Association of Competition Law Practitioners

It is with tremendous sadness that the ACLP notes the passing of one of our most revered colleagues. An extraordinary lawyer and person, Rob Legh was known to all, and a close friend and mentor to many. Having pioneered the practice of competition law in South Africa as a specialist discipline, his decades-long contribution to our field leaves an enormous legacy. As Chairman and Senior Partner at Bowmans, Rob was equally a respected leader to the profession throughout the continent.

Anyone fortunate enough to have known or worked with Rob will bear testimony to his kindness and collegiality, evenly matched by a keen strategic and legal mind. Rob generously shared his knowledge and experience, quietly captivating any meeting without ego; commanding attention without seeking it. He had a passion for contributing to the growth and development of junior lawyers, many of whom benefited from working alongside Rob on the many high-profile matters he steered.

We mourn this tragic loss alongside Rob’s family, friends and colleagues.


Abre Van Vuuren, Harmony Gold Mining Company

Our sincere condolences to his loved ones and Bowmans staff.


Don Allaway

Rosy and I offer our condolences on Rob’s death which we have just heard about. Please convey our condolences to Katherine and Rob’s children and family.


Christopher Mann, Sullivan & Cromwell

I was so sorry to hear the devastating news of the loss of Rob. I know it has been two months of torture for the family and the Bowmans family. I really thought Rob was going to pull through. Rob and his family have been in the forefront of our minds here at S&C, and he and they have been on the prayer list at our little country Episcopal church in Millbrook, New York. I have already put Rob on the list for the Prayers for the Departed.

I know that Rob lost his brother earlier this year to COVID. Keeping that in mind, I send the below. It is no comfort to the firm or the family at this time, but maybe someday it will be.

What Is Dying?

A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says, “She is gone.” Gone where? Gone from sight, that is all: she is just as large as when I saw her. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone,” there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout. “Here she comes!”, and that is dying.

– Bishop Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929, an Episcopal Bishop born in Canada, who served in the Philippines and western New York state)

All the best to you and all our friends. Please send our condolences to all your partners.


Chris Saul, Christopher Saul Associates

I can hardly find the words to express my sadness at the loss of Rob and I send you and your partners my deepest condolences.

He was the best. A brilliant lawyer, a thoughtful and resonant leader, a generous and caring friend and just great fun. I smile when I think of him and am honoured to have known him.

Such a loss. Thinking of Kathryn, the children and you all.


Africa Legal: Great Loss for African Law

‘Bowmans’ Chair and Senior Partner, Rob Legh, who died of Covid-19 related complications on July 1, has been praised by the business community for his input into the establishment of the South African Government’s Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (Ters).’

Read more 


Bizcommunity: RIP Robert Legh

‘Bowmans chair and senior partner Rob Legh died on 1 July of Covid-19-related complications. He was instrumental in moulding the government’s Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (Ters), which protected an estimated 267,000 businesses to continue paying R58bn in payments to 5.4-million employees during the pandemic.’

Read more  


Trevor Rogers, Massmart Holdings

My sincere condolences on the passing of Rob.  Such a loss to family, friends and the profession.


Tim Fletcher, Director – Dispute Resolution, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

My condolences to you and your firm on Rob’s passing. I am very sorry to hear.


Scott Cowan, Co-Founder & CEO, Africa Legal

I just wanted to extend our condolences to all from the whole team here at Africa Legal on the passing of Robert Legh. Such a sad thing to hear.


Richard Behrmann, G.B. Liebmann, Behrmann & Co.

I was very sorry to hear of Rob’s passing. He was a wonderful man. His death is a terrible loss to Bowmans and the profession. My condolences to you and all at Bowmans.


Rachel Hussey, Clients and Markets Partner, Arthur Cox

I was so sorry to read about Robert’s death. What a terrible shock for you and for everyone at the firm. May he rest in peace.


Patrick Smith, RBB Economics

We were devastated to hear of the passing of Rob Legh on Thursday evening.  It has been a privilege to work with Rob on various projects over the years, and to observe not only his keen legal and strategic thinking, but also his kind and generous manner.  He has made an immense contribution of his time and his talents in helping to develop the field of competition and industrial policy throughout Africa. 

We can imagine what a fraught time this must have been over the past two months when Rob was so ill, and such a shock to hear of his sudden passing last week.  Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and all of his colleagues at Bowmans, and throughout the legal fraternity. 


Michael Roch, Performance Leader

I’ve just read the devastating news of Rob’s untimely passing.  Please receive my deepest condolences on your loss. 

It is so difficult to find words.  I can only imagine how numb you and your partners must feel.  I did not know Rob well, yet I have always perceived him as a deep, yet pragmatic thinker who had Bowmans’ well-being as his first, second and third professional priority.  I also know that Rob was very respected across South Africa’s communities, legal and beyond. 

Please know that your firm is on a strong foundation for the future not only because, but especially because, Rob was such impressive partner of and leader for your partnership. 

In pace requiescat – may he rest in peace.


Komeshan Naidoo, Managing Director, Cheadle Thompson & Haysom

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Robert Legh.

Robert was a widely respected and leading member of our profession and will no doubt be sorely missed by everybody whose lives he touched in so many ways.

On behalf of the directors of Cheadle Thompson & Haysom, we extend our deepest condolences to Robert’s family, friends and colleagues.


Julie Clegg, Partner, Stephenson Harwood

I was saddened to read in the legal press today of the death of your partner, Robert Legh.  My thoughts are with you, your colleagues and his family at this time.


John Babtie and Laura Dawson, Freshfields

We wanted to send our condolences regarding Robert’s untimely passing. That must come as a shock to you and your colleagues, and we here at Freshfields are thinking of you all.


Jeroen Ouwehand, Global Senior Partner, Clifford Chance

We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of your Chairman and Senior Partner, Rob Legh.

We remember Rob as a pre-eminent lawyer and visionary leader, who commanded huge respect from everyone who came across him. He was also humble and kind, and a true friend to many in our firm. Please therefore accept the deepest condolences from the Clifford Chance family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rob’s family and the entire Bowmans family, and we stand with you during this difficult time.


Gerry Greyling, MD, Blue Apple

I’m so sorry for your loss and condolences to everyone who was close to Rob at the Firm and his family. I remember how Rob was described before I was going to meet him and have no doubt that the void he leaves behind will be filled with a legacy that future friends, clients and the people of Bowmans will remember with respect, fondness and recognition.


Gavin MacLaren, Senior Partner & Chief Executive Officer, Corrs Chambers Westgarth

On behalf of the Corrs partnership I would like to express our sincerest condolences on the recent passing of Robert Legh. We had enormous respect for Robert. He was a true gentleman and he stood out among law firm leaders for his insight, generosity and good judgment. We know he will be dearly missed by many.

Please know that Robert, his family and the Bowmans partnership are in our thoughts.


Elton Jangale, PFI Partnerships

I am so sorry for the untimely loss of Rob. It is so devastating news to hear. Rob was not only our Chairman. I will remember Rob as a kind, charismatic and committed leader.

I pray for you and the entire Bowmans Family for strength as we mourn Rob and that you remain steadfast to the Bowmans vision which Rob spoke of and practised always.

May Rob’s soul rest in peace.


Douglas Bateson, Partner, Penningtons Manches Cooper: Greece

I was very sorry to see that you lost your senior partner to COVID. Our thoughts are with you all.


Darren Olivier, Partner, Adams & Adams

We just wanted to express our sincere condolences on the passing of Rob. He was a special person to the firm and highly regarded in the profession. Very best wishes to you and the firm during this tough time.


Chika Igarashi, Partner, Nishimura & Asahi

I would like to express Nishimura & Asahi’s deepest condolence on this untimely passing of Robert. 

Robert has been continuing to have good relationship with our firm’s African Practice Team members.  Indeed, we agree that Robert was a prominent leader and we also miss him very much. With regard to his dedication to tackle COVID-19, we recall that Robert sent us an email notifying the Bowmans’ initiatives (contingency measures) to fight against COVID-19 as early as in March 2020. 

Please accept our heartfelt and deepest condolences for your loss of Robert. Our best wishes to the Bowmans team and your families.


Caroline Rheeder, Associate Director: Customs, Cova Advisory

We express our deep condolences for the loss of your Chairman and Senior Partner, Robert Legh. What a loss for his family and the profession, at such a young age. This is a tragic time. We are thinking of you all.


Catherine Coe, Executive Group Tax Controversy, Massmart Holdings

Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Robert Legh, due to Covid-19 complications, at such a young age. His loss is huge, not only to his family and the Bowmans team, but to the profession and leadership throughout Africa.


Anthony Giustini, Partner, Clifford Chance: Europe

I wanted to say, in particular from the CC Africa team, how saddened we are by this terrible news. You all have been genuine friends and partners in our work on the Continent, and Rob set the tone for that collaboration. His stewardship was always appreciated. In such sad times, one must appreciate and honor what Rob did and what he represented, and carry on his work and vision.


Angela McEwan, Clifford Chance

I just read that Robert Legh had sadly passed away. I am so sorry to hear that. Condolences to his family and friends and to everyone at Bowmans.


Aly El Shalakany, Senior Partner, Shalakany

We were deeply saddened by the news we received last night. Please accept our sincere condolences.


Alf-Henrik Bischke, Hengeler Mueller

I just read the sad news about Robert Legh.

I very much enjoyed working with Robert and had the impression that he was not only a very good lawyer but someone who was also interested in things beyond law. This must be a big loss for the entire firm.


Mark Bergman, Partner, Paul Weiss

The obituary captures the character of man that is so rare these days – a true gentleman with the confidence, compassion and tenacity to follow his moral compass. You will all have benefitted from his leadership by example, but I also can imagine the pain and sorrow for the loss. My thoughts are with you.


Jo-Ann Pöhl, former CFO, Bowmans

This is a difficult tribute to write as Rob leaves a legacy too immense to capture in one sitting, the articles and tributes to date are evidence of this. Maya Angelou wrote that “A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.”  This rings true now, as we realise how many of us have been impacted by this sad loss and how connected we all are. Every life Rob touched in person and through the work he did and influenced, has been changed forever, for the better. 

I am privileged to have worked with him and learn from him at Bowmans, he had an innate ability to make you feel truly heard, always considered in his approach to any situation, a particular sense of humour with a smile that reached his eyes and moves on the dance floor few (definitely not me) could match plus the ability to make everyone feel that they mattered. A great tree has fallen … we have lost a great human, a great lawyer and a true patriot. He will be sorely missed and will always be remembered. May his dear soul rest in peace and my deepest condolences to his family and all at Bowmans. Praying for comfort and strength at this time. 


Wangui Kaniaru, Africa Legal Network

I just wanted to say I am very sorry to hear of Robert Legh’s passing and that you and the folks at Bowmans are in our thoughts as you go through this time of grief. 

I did not know him personally but have heard great things about the man and lawyer he was. May his legacy continue in your collective words and works. 


Craig McLeod, General Counsel, Old Mutual

I know that words offer little comfort as you come to terms with the tragic loss of your partner but please know that Rob’s tragic passing reverberates way beyond your firm. 

We mourn his loss with you and I’m struggling to come to terms with a future where I can no longer simply reach out to him on WhatsApp, an email, just a call for some sage advice, a simple chat about the universe and everything else or just to share a laugh. This was special. 

His calm manner and support was invaluable and it assisted me through the most challenging of times.

That said I know that I will find comfort in the legacy that he has built with you guys and others at your firm, which will endure.

Please know that you, your firm and his family are in my thoughts. May he rest in peace.


Judge Ingrid Opperman on behalf of the Judge President (Judge Mlambo), the Deputy Judge President (Judge Sutherland), the Acting Deputy Judge President (Judge Victor), and all other Judges of the Gauteng Local Division Johannesburg

‘The Judge President, Judge Mlambo, recalls that he and Robert had started their careers together at Bowmans acting for trade unions and that Robert was a reliable, effective and humanitarian jurist through and through.‘

Read more


David Hertz, Chairman, Werksmans

I read the outpouring of grief on the Rob Friends Group yesterday evening and can only, but echo, the sentiments expressed.

I address you not only personally but on behalf of the entire Werksmans family.

The last time that I saw a picture of Rob was when several of my partners, and several of his, joined tables for drinks one evening and informed me that our firms had merged. That speaks to the nature of our special relationship both personally and within the legal space.

I spoke to a mutual friend yesterday and informed him that after more than 30 years of practice, it was the exception rather than the rule to establish close friendships with colleagues at other firms. Rob was the exception. He was exceptional in so many ways.

When I was elected chairman of Werksmans, I recognised that establishing relationships with my counterparts at other larger firms was appropriate and necessary. While most of the relationships forged, were, understandably, professional, cordial and collegial, mine with Rob was different. He welcomed me into his inner and friendship circle almost instantaneously and had a transparency and genuineness about him that made him unique.

His passing has left a huge gap in my life, within the legal fraternity and, it goes without saying, within his family, friends and friendship circle both within Werksmans and Bowmans.

We have, measured objectively, undoubtedly lost a giant of the legal profession but I have lost a friend.

On behalf of the entire Werksmans family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to you all on your loss.


The Sunday Times: Rob Legh: Competition lawyer who fought for Covid relief

‘Robert Legh, who has died in Johannesburg at the age of 59 of Covid-19 complications, was the chair and senior partner of Bowmans, one of the country’s largest corporate law firms.’

Read more


BUSA: The business community mourns the tragic passing of Rob Legh

‘BUSA notes with shock and sadness the passing of Rob Legh on Thursday (1st July 2021) night. We express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Rob’s family, his wife Kathryn and children India and Tommy, as well as his colleagues.’

Read more


Pieter Steyn, Head of B-BBEE, Werksmans

I am shocked and so sorry to hear about Rob. Please accept my condolences and convey them to his family. He will be greatly missed.


Nico Olwagen, FleishmanHillard South Africa

This is devastating news. On behalf of the FleishmanHillard family we would like to express our sorrow and condolences to Rob’s family and the wider Bowmans family. Some of us were privileged to have met Rob in various capacities and he was truly an extraordinary person, respected by those who knew him.


Myrle Vanderstraeten, Without Prejudice

I am so very sorry – I have just read that Rob has died. How shattering for everyone – COVID is incredibly cruel. My sympathy to everyone at Bowmans.


Marylou Greig, DealMakers and DealMakers AFRICA

Just a personal note from me regarding the sad and unexpected news about Rob. It is a real shock and my heartfelt condolences go out to you and the rest of the team at Bowmans.


Jeremy Stephenson, Chambers Global

We are very sorry to learn of the loss of your chairman, Robert Legh. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loved ones.


Izelle Le Roux-Owen, on behalf of the Africa Private Equity News team

Please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of your Chairman and Senior Partner, Robert Legh. It was such sad and shocking news; a heart-breaking loss. Whilst we never had the opportunity to meet Robert, we know his leadership and presence will be deeply missed after 35 years with the firm. These times must be challenging for the Senior Partners and larger team, and we just wanted to reach out and let you know that Bowmans and Robert’s family will be in our thoughts and prayers.


Clairwyn van der Merwe, Bowmans’ freelance writer

That is such sad news. My heart goes out to Rob’s loved ones and to all at Bowmans.


Melinda Eggenberger, Vice President, Events, Learning & Membership, Lex Mundi

I am so very sorry to hear the news about Rob!  Sending prayers to his family and all of you at the firm.  I can only imagine the loss all are feeling. 


Georgia Dawson, Senior Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

I wanted to say how very sorry we all were to hear the sad news about Rob. He was a great friend of the firm, a wonderful host to us when we visited you and a true professional. Having been in touch with a number of my partners today about Rob, it is clear that all of them have very fond memories of him and held him in high regard.


Nigel Shaw, Managing Partner, ENSafrica | Kenya

We were very sorry to hear of the tragic news of the death of Robert Legh.

I met him only a couple of times and he was a lovely man.  He will be a huge loss to the legal fraternity and especially Bowmans.

From all of us in the ENSafrica Nairobi office, we send to you, and all at Bowmans, our deepest condolences and may his soul rest in eternal peace.

Our prayers and thoughts are with you at the tragic time.


Julien David, Partner, Gide Loyrette Nouel

This brief message as we have just read about Robert Legh having passed away.

Please be assured of our deepest condolences to his family, his friends and to the whole Bowmans’ family.

This is a tragic loss. We will always remember him as a perfect gentleman and a great leader to your firm.


Dan Agbor, Senior Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie

We write to commiserate with Rob Legh’s family, and with Bowmans, on Rob’s untimely passing yesterday.  Yes, it is your loss, but it is also ours, and we feel it keenly because this is Rob.  Rob who, as Chairman and Senior Partner of Bowmans, embraced the vision of Bowmans as an Africa-wide firm and proselytized the cause.  We liked Rob.  He was calm, thoughtful, completely unassuming and worked hard to establish a relationship of mutual respect, trust, and confidence between our respective firms.  Rob was also the life of the party and although he was a very serious person, and looked the part, he refused to take himself too seriously.  Yinka and I will never forget seeing Rob (Bowmans’ Chairman and Senior Partner!) doing a back spin on the floor, at the tail end of one of the evening dinners (aka: parties) during a Partners Conference a few years ago.  It completely humanised him in our eyes and the partners of Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, as well as the firm’s founders, will miss him. 

We pray for the peaceful repose of Rob’s soul and that th​e family, friends, and law firm that he left behind will continue to enjoy good health, prosper, and to move forward in a manner that would have made him proud. 


Michael Katz, Chairman Corporate Commercial, ENSafrica

On behalf of all of us at ENSafrica, we wish to convey our sincere condolences to you and the members of Bowmans on the untimely passing our your Chairman Rob Legh.

Rob was truly an outstanding person who made a great contribution in many spheres of activity and touched the lives of many people.  He was a committed member of the legal fraternity and here too he made a great contribution.

Over and above his many other qualities and virtues he was a truly good human being and a gentleman who had a great social conscience and generosity of spirit.


Chris Seaton, Senior Partner, Burges Salmon

I have just picked up the news about Robert’s tragic death and on behalf of the firm I wanted to offer our sincere condolences to you all and Robert’s family.

Robert was a true gentleman in every sense and a fantastic ambassador for your firm.


Dennis Davis, retired JP, on behalf of the Competition Appeal Court

Read more


Hugh Corder, Professor Emeritus of Public Law, University of Cape Town

News has just reached me of Robert’s death. I am so sad to hear this, you must all be devastated.

Please pass on my deepest sympathy, to his family and your colleagues.


Joseph C. Shenker, Chair, Sullivan & Cromwell

I was devastated to hear the news of Rob’s passing. I can only imagine what his wife, children and all the two brothers’ family must be going through, and how difficult this must be for the two of you and the entire firm.

May his memory live on and inspire.


Oren Kaplan, Chairman, Cape Gate Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Read Oren Kaplan’s tribute


Richard Hall, Global Head M&A, Cravath

We have just heard the news of Rob’s passing.  On behalf of everyone here at Cravath, you and the entire Bowmans family have our deepest condolences. 


John Matson, Partner, Arthur Cox

We are all shocked and saddened to hear of Rob’s passing. A super guy, a gentleman and a force. Our thoughts are with his family and you all at Bowmans.


Christo Els and Sally Hutton, Senior Partner & Managing Partner, Webber Wentzel

On behalf of Webber Wentzel, we want to extend our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy on Rob’s passing.

Rob made a significant contribution to the legal profession and his life has had a direct influence on so many of us. We have always been inspired by his kindness and compassion to everyone around him. He changed the dynamic wherever he was, with his sense of humour, intelligence and vision. Rob was also a true friend of our firm, and we will miss the many wonderful discussion and interactions we had with him (even the dreadful beer drinking competition at the 50th anniversary of the Bowmans/WW cricket game!). We will all miss him dearly.

Our thoughts are with you and your firm at this most difficult time.


Dirk Busch, Hengeler Muller

So sorry to hear that Rob passed away. My deepest condolences. He was an excellent lawyer and an outstanding person. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet and to work with him. My thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow. Sending condolences to his family and the entire Bowmans family.


Maria Ramos, former CEO of Absa and Transnet

Trevor and I were deeply saddened to hear of Rob’s passing. Our deepest condolences to you and all your colleagues at Bowmans. 


Phuthuma Nhleko, former Chairman and CEO of the MTN Group, and founder of Pembani

Really sorry to hear about Rob Legh. Condolences to all of you at Bowmans. Great lawyer, real character and good guy


Adam Emmerich, Head of Corporate/M&A, Wachtell New York

Amazingly sad news about Rob.  So very sorry.   I wish there were something good to say about it.  I’m sure his memory and vision will continue to be with you and the firm.


Scott Bashay, Former Cravath Partner, current Global Head of M&A at Paul Weiss, New York

I just saw the news about Rob. What a terrible tragic loss. I am so so sorry. He was a great and decent man.


Charlie Jacobs, former Senior Partner & Chairman, Linklaters

Ezra, was so sad to hear Rob Legh had passed away. He was an outstanding man. Our thoughts are with his family and the Firm.


Zai, Ajay & Bahram, founding partners of AZB & Partners

Very sorry to hear about the passing of Rob. Please accept our condolences and please pass then on to his family.


Daniel Mmineli, former CEO of ABSA

Woke up to the very sad and tragic news of Rob‘s passing. How very sad. He put up a gallant fight. Condolences and best wishes to you and the Bowmans family.


Patrice Motsepe, Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals

May his soul rest in peace. Rob was an outstanding person.


The South African Institute of International Affairs: SAIIA family mourns loss of its Honorary Legal Adviser

‘The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is very sad to inform its friends and supporters of the passing of its Honorary Legal Adviser, Rob Legh, who passed away last night.’

Read more


The Legal Practice Council: LPC saddened by the passing of Mr Robert Legh

‘The Chairperson of the Legal Practice Council, Ms. Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu notes with sadness the passing of Mr. Robert Legh, the chairman and senior partner of Bowmans who passed away last night.’

Read more


The Banking Association South Africa: Robert Legh Message of Condolence

‘It is with great sadness that the Banking Association South Africa (BASA) heard of the passing of Bowmans’ Chair and Senior Partner, Robert Legh.’

Read more


Minister Ebrahim Patel: Statement on passing away of Rob Legh, senior South African lawyer

‘The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition today sent his condolences and that of the South African Government to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Rob Legh, the Chairman of one of the country’s largest law firms, Bowmans.’

Read more


Engineering News: Business community mourns the tragic passing of Rob Legh

‘Business Unity South Africa (Busa) says it notes with shock and sadness the passing of Rob Legh on Thursday, July 1, from complications associated with Covid-19.’

Read more


The Global Legal Post: Bowmans mourns death of chairman and senior partner Robert Legh

‘Top South African firm announces ‘devastating loss’ of ‘a leader, a partner, a colleague and a friend’.

Read more international: Bowmans Senior Partner Dies After COVID Battle

‘Robert Legh spent his entire 35-year legal career at Bowmans and was a pioneer of competition law in South Africa.’

Read more


Fin24: Business community mourns legal giant and TERS visionary Rob Legh

‘Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) joined the South African business community in mourning the passing of Bowmans chair and senior partner Rob Legh who died on Thursday evening.’

Read more


Business Day: Leading lawyer Rob Legh succumbs to Covid-19

‘The Covid-19 pandemic has snatched the life of leading lawyer Rob Legh, the chair and senior partner of law firm Bowmans who played a significant role in the work of Business For SA (B4SA).’

Read more