South African law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS) has merged with 100 per cent black-owned firm MNMR in a bid to become the firm with the greatest number of black lawyers in the country.
Following the move, ENS will have around 110 black practitioners out of a total of more than 340.
ENS deputy chief executive Mzi Mgudlwa told The Lawyer: “We are trying to transform in line with the rest of the country, by bringing on talented black lawyers. We’d be surprised if there’s a firm with more black practitioners than us.”
ENS has brought in four of the five former partners at MNMR – managing partner Matodzi Ratshimbilani, Siyabonga Mahlangu, Nkuli Mabandla and Ndumiso Nkomo, together with one associate and three trainees.
The four partners will join as directors at the new firm. Ratshimbilani will join the resources team, a field in which Mgudlwa expects a lot of activity. One partner will join telecoms and two will enter the litigation department.
ENS, one of the biggest firms in the country, had already worked alongside Johannesburg-based MNMR on a number of transactions as the firms had clients in common including BP, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and Transnet.
With the merger it is also expected to gain a number of new clients including the South African Post Office and the National Department of Housing.