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‘A natural and necessary next step’: Pinsents to launch infra-focused practice in Johannesburg

Pinsent Masons is to launch an infrastructure-focused practice in Johannesburg, with two partners hired from local firm Bowman Gilfillan.

The office, which will formally open in early 2017, will be launched by Bowman Gilfillan’s head of construction Rob Morson as well as the firm’s disputes partner Shane Voigt. Pinsents hopes to recruit a further four partners before the office opens, and is currently in discussions with a number of potential recruits. It is understood none of these will be from Bowman Gilfillan.

Speaking to Legal Business, Pinsents senior partner Richard Foley said: ‘Our vision is to be seen internationally as leading the market in our key global sectors, infrastructure is one of those. We already do a significant amount of work across Africa. We have about 40 partners who are doing Africa related work out of Europe, out of Asia, in particular out of the Middle East.

Foley (pictured) added:’We effectively reached a stage in our development where we felt that developing a presence on the continent was the natural and necessary next step to grow the practice.’

In January this year, Pinsents announced plans to open a second German office in Düsseldorf, with a three-partner team of energy and corporate specialists from KPMG’s German legal arm. The firm also has a technology-focused practice in Munich which it launched in July 2012.

Johannesburg has been a hotspot for firms over the last couple of years. In October 2014, Allen & Overy became the first Magic Circle firm to launch in the city with a seven-strong banking and finance team also from Bowman Gilfillan.

Additionally, in October last year, Herbert Smith Freehills launched in Africa with a four-partner office opening in Johannesburg which included a double partner hire from Linklaters’ alliance firm Webber Wentzel.

Earlier this month Pinsents revealed a more subdued performance for the financial year 2015/16 with revenue up 5% from £362.4m to £382.3m and profit per equity partner rising 2% from £538,000 to £550,000.