South African firm ENS poaches team from DLA

South African firm ENS has hired a team of three senior lawyers from DLA Piper’s South African affiliate, including the firm’s corporate and commercial head.

DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s national corporate and commercial head Ian Hayes will join ENS in September along with his team. Hayes’ team comprises Marc Friedman and Lydia Shadrach-Razzino – who both held the partner-equivalent role of director at DLA – a senior associate, two associates and support staff.

Hayes joins ENS as a director and will lead the corporate and commercial practice along with chairman Michael Katz, and directors Doron Joffe and Koos Pretorius. Friedman and Shadrach-Razzino also join as directors.

According to ENS chief executive Piet Faber, the hires were opportunistic. “Hayes was national head at DLA and is a really big name in the industry. We were only too pleased to welcome [his team] in. There’s only a handful of firms that do substantial M&A deals in the country and he is one of the top five [lawyers] doing the work.”

Faber added that his firm had taken on 23 new partners since January, some of which came from international firms like Norton Rose and Eversheds.

Earlier this month, ENS announced that it was expanding in Africa by launching offices in Rwanda and Burundi (8 August 2012). Faber said that further launches were in the pipeline, but declined to give any more details.

Elsewhere, Linklaters is in talks with another firm in South Africa, Webber Wentzel, over an alliance (9 August 2012), not long after completing a similar deal in Australia (23 April 2012).

South African law firms are incorporated, not limited liability partnerships, and as a result have directors, not partners.