Dentons is tying up with South African associate firm KapdiTwala to launch its own offices in South Africa.
KapdiTwala, which focuses on oil and gas, has been associated with Dentons since 2012. The merger gives Dentons an office in Cape Town, with the firm planning to open in Johannesburg later this year.
The merger is the first international tie-up with a Level 1 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) firm. KapdiTwala is 100 per cent owned by local partners, and current managing partner Noor Kapdi will continue in his role.
KapdiTwala was founded in 2011 and currently has five lawyers, including three partners.
In an interview for The Lawyer Africa Elite earlier this year, Kapdi said the two firms had been introduced by common client Total.
“We do about 80 per cent of Total’s commercial work in this country and it has been a Dentons client for 80 years. Dentons was interesting to us because it’s one of the largest energy practices in the world,” he told The Lawyer.
The tie-up gives Dentons its second own-brand office in Africa, adding to its longstanding presence in Cairo. The firm said it was also planning to launch an office in Francophone Africa later this year.
The firm also has an extensive network of African associated firms (28 March 2014) across the continent.
Global CEO Elliott Portnoy said Africa was a “priority region” for Dentons and the firm was aiming to connect African clients with lawyers and businesses around the world.
Dentons is the third international firm in less than six months to launch in South Africa. In December Hogan Lovells announced it was merging with former Eversheds ally Routledge Modise (19 November 2013), and Eversheds moved in shortly afterwards by linking up with Mahons (4 December 2013).