Allen & Overy pick half a dozen partners in South Africa from a rival firm
The team of six partners join Allen & Overy from Linklaters ally Webber Wentzel in Johannesburg
UK Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy has picked up a team of six partners from Linklaters' South African ally Webber Wenzel to strengthen its practice in Johannesburg.
The move comes almost five months after its Johannesburg managing director Lionel Shawe had quit the firm in April this year to join the US firm White & Case after an association that lasted for seven long years since the opening of its Johannesburg office in 2014.
Allen & Overy (A&O) has regurgitated its trust in South Africa as a strategic location for wider penetration in the African market.
With the six-partner team joining it, Allen & Overy has bounced back with a big bang to bolster its banking and finance offering in Johannesburg.
The new team specializing in banking and projects matters consists of partners Ryan Nelson, Alexandra Clüver, Alessandra Pardini, Alexandra Felekis, Gillian Niven and Mongezi Dladla.
Nelson re-joins Allen & Overy after a decade. He had previously worked in its London headquarters as a senior associate between 2006 and 2011. Nelson is slated to lead the firm's local banking practice. He is dual-qualified to practise South African and English law. He specializes in general corporate lending, acquisition finance, leveraged finance, real estate finance, fund finance, project finance and restructuring.
Clüver advises clients on the development and financing of projects in the energy, infrastructure and oil and gas sectors in South Africa and the wider Sub-Saharan Africa region for domestic and international clients. She was with Webber Wentzel as a partner for more than a decade, including four years as head of its project finance team. She handles equity and debt funding structures as well as private equity and secondary market activities.
Pardini, on the other hand, was with Webber Wentzel only for a few months. She was previously associated with firms Rudolph Bernstein & Associates and Roodt. She carries extensive experience in advising clients on construction and project development in the mining, energy and infrastructure sectors. Her specific focus lies in engineering, procurement and construction arrangements, operations and maintenance contracts, power purchase agreements and concessions, and public-private partnership arrangements.
Partners Felekis, Niven and Dladla, who all specialise in matters across the mining, energy and infrastructure sectors, covering environmental and regulatory as well as construction and financing expertise, will join Clüver and Pardini in the projects team.
According to Allen & Overy's senior partner Wim Dejonghe, South Africa would play a key part in the firm's broader Africa strategy, while explaining that the new hires will work closely with the firm's other banking and projects groups across its global network on transactions and disputes throughout Africa.
"By focusing on the complete integration of the new teams into the wider network, we will ensure that our South African banking and projects practices enjoy the full benefit of A&O's global platform and vice versa," Johannesburg managing partner Gerhard Rudolph said.