Hogan Lovells picks up Eversheds’ former ally for Jo’burg entry

Although some commentators are beginning to question the status of South Africa as a gateway for sub-Saharan Africa, the fact remains that for international firms the continent’s most-developed economy is still the easiest place to set up shop.

Hogan Lovells has become the latest global player to get its own office there, snapping up former Eversheds ally Routledge Modise.

It’s an interesting move. Eversheds first allied itself with Routledge back in 2008. The alliance was not an easy one, with the UK firm having to fight its corner over its brand name in South Africa.

Their relationship came to an end last year after issues with conflicts proved impossible to solve, although Eversheds has since said it wants to open up in South Africa again.

Hogan Lovells is following several other global players into the country. Baker & McKenzie has had a Johannesburg office for over 30 years, White & Case has been there for almost two decades, and DLA Piper tied up with Cliffe Dekker in 2005.

More recently, legacy Norton Rose’s 2010 merger with Deneys Reitz is widely thought to be one of the most successful entries into the jurisdiction, and Linklaters went for the alliance model with Webber Wentzel at the start of this year.

Hogan Lovells will be hoping that having its nameplate on a door in Johannesburg will help boost its existing Africa practice. Let’s just hope its relationship with Routledge has a happier ending than Eversheds’.

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