Pinsents appoints infra experts for inaugural Africa practice

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Pinsents appoints infra experts for inaugural Africa practice

Pinsent Masons announced a number of new hires as it finalizes its plans to move into new premises in Sandton, Johannesburg (South Africa) in January.

The firm intends to open its infrastructure focused practice with seven partners comprising infrastructure specialists in the market supported by seven construction and project lawyers, bringing the total to fourteen qualified lawyers.

The team is equipped to cover the full spectrum of legal advice in support of infrastructure clients from corporate to projects and construction law, in South Africa and across the African continent.  The South African office will be fully integrated into the global firm and is committed to delivering legal services throughout Africa in a more innovative way.

The new partners are:

  • George Sibanda, a corporate specialist who was previously a partner and Board member of Webber Wentzel and has advised on numerous transactions, including the largest ever IPO on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange
  • Deidré Simaan, formerly a partner and co-head of the Infrastructure group at Webber Wentzel
  • Claire Barclay, formerly a director in the Projects and Infrastructure practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc.
  • Daniella Zussa, a projects and construction partner who was previously a partner at Bowmans and has advised on many of Africa's largest projects including the Medupi and the Kusile Power Stations
  • Junaid Banoobhai, a construction disputes specialist – also from Bowmans – who has advised on disputes related to the  ‘coast to coast’ fibre optic installation project for three of the largest mobile and data providers in South Africa.

The team of seven construction and projects lawyers, six of whom have been appointed from Bowmans, are Senior Associate Bavesh Pillay and Associates Mlungisi Mahlangu,  Tahnee Cunningham, Tshegofatso Kgomo, Kimera Reddy, Salomi Vorster and Thembela Ndwandwe.

Finally, Pinsent Masons has appointed Murray Thompson as Chief Operating Officer in Africa. A former COO of Baker & Mackenzie in South Africa and CFO of Weber Wentzel. As the firm's COO for Africa, Murray will oversee the firm's expansion into Africa.

These appointments follow the appointments, announced in July this year, of Rob Morson and Shane Voigt, South Africa's market-leading Infrastructure and Construction team to spearhead its expansion into the African infrastructure market.

Richard Foley, Senior Partner of Pinsent Masons says:

"Our intention for Africa is to build something markedly different to what already exists in the market. We have assembled a veritable 'dream team' of talent which is built around the needs of our clients in the infrastructure sector. We plan to bring some of our market-leading innovation with us to the South Africa market and to do things differently. All of our new joiners are passionate about our ability to challenge and disrupt the market for legal services. They have come to the right place!"

George Sibanda says:

"Pinsent Masons has a global reputation for excellence in the infrastructure sector, among others. By bringing together the best talent in the South Africa market and allying it to teams with an equal commitment to the sector across Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, we are creating something quite extraordinary. When we add Pinsent Masons' track record for innovation and doing things differently into the mix, we have a combination that we believe will really impact the South African and broader Africa market."

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