Bakers bolts on Johannesburg litigation boutique

Baker & McKenzie has added niche Johannesburg firm Rudolph Bernstein & Associates to its growing South African presence.

Gerhard Rudolph, Darryl Bernstein and Kate Daniels join Baker & McKenzie as partners, initially with six associates and trainees. A further seven lawyers will join Baker & McKenzie in January 2013 with seven support staff.

Rudolph Bernstein advises on contentious issues in the energy, mining, construction, infrastructure and banking sectors, providing both litigation and arbitration advice.

The news follows Baker & McKenzie’s move into South Africa earlier this year with the entirety of defunct firm Dewey & LeBoeuf’s local team (29 May 2012).

Johannesburg co-managing partner Wildu du Plessis said adding a dispute resolution offering to the firm’s existing M&A, banking, projects and capital markets expertise had been a key target for Baker & McKenzie.

Rudolph Bernstein said that joining Baker & McKenzie gave him and his team new possibilities for international work.

The news demonstrates the international market’s continued interest in South Africa. Yesterday (3 December 2012) Linklaters confirmed it was entering an alliance with local firm Webber Wentzel. Recently Slaughter and May said it was strengthening its ties with the region (24 October 2012) and in September SNR Denton added another South African firm to its African network (11 September 2012).