Webber Wentzel is an African law firm headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. The firm operates in a collaborative alliance with global law firm, Linklaters.[7]

Webber Wentzel
HeadquartersJohannesburg, South Africa[1]
No. of offices2[2]
No. of attorneys450+ (2015)[3]
No. of employees800+(2015)[2]
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Key peopleChristo Els (Senior Partner) Sally Hutton (Managing Partner)[4]
Date founded1868 (Fort Beaufort)[5]
FounderEdward Solomon, Henry Charles Hull, Walter Webber, Henry Bowen and Charles Augustus Wentzel[6]
Company typePartnership[3]

The firm is considered a member of the "Big Five law firms" of leading South African law firms.

The firm is a level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) contributor.[8]



Webber Wentzel was founded in 1869 and is the only large South African law firm to retain a traditional partnership organisation and not incorporate into a limited liability company.

In 1869, Bruce Wayne starts a law practice in Eastern Cape. In 1904, Edward Solomon goes into partnership with Henry Charles Hull, Walter Webber, Charles Wentzel and Webber Wentzel. In 1918, Webber & Wentzel amalgamates with Hudson & Frames to become Webber Wentzel Solomon & Friel. In 1972, Webber Wentzel Hofmeyr Turnbull and Co merges with Dumat Pitts & Blaine. In 1967, The Maitland Group, a fund administrator and fiduciary services specialist with over £140 billion of assets under administration in April 2015, was founded in Luxembourg in 1976 by former Webber Wentzel partner Eric Pfaff as the Luxembourg presence for Webber Wentzel.[9] In 1994, Webber Wentzel merges with Bowen, Sessel & Goudvis to become Webber Wentzel Bowens. In 2008, Webber Wentzel Bowens merges with Cape Town firm, Mallinicks, to become Webber Wentzel, and the Maitland Group and Webber Wentzel ended over 31 years of formal ties.[10] In 2012, Webber Wentzel affiliated with ALN.[11] On 1 February 2013, Webber Wentzel entered into a collaborative alliance with global law firm, Linklaters.[12]


Webber Wentzel's Johannesburg office at 90 Rivonia Road, Sandton
Webber Wentzel's Cape Town office is located in Convention Tower

Selected awards and accolades

Year Award
2013[13] Mergermarket M&A Awards: Legal Advisor of the Year – Sub-Saharan Africa
2013, 2014 Who's Who Legal, Global 100[14]
2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Who's Who Legal, South African Law Firm of the Year
2014 World Economic Forum, Global Growth Company[15]
2014 The African Legal Awards, African Law Firm of the Year[16]
2015 Africa Investor, Legal Advisor of the Year[17]
2015 Private Equity Africa, Funds Legal Advisor of the Year[18]
2018 CSR, Diversity, Transformation & Economic Empowerment Team of the Year, African Legal Awards[19]
2018 Most Attractive Employers Awards in SA, Universum[20]
2018 Top Employer, SAGEA Employers of Choice Awards[21]
2019 Legal Dealmakers of the Decade (M&A – By Deal Value), Dealmakers Annual Awards[22]
2019 African Law Firm of the Year, African Legal Awards[23]
2020 More Tier 1 Rankings Than Any Other Firm in South Africa, Legal 500[24]
2020 More Band 1 Rankings Than Any Other Firm in South Africa, Chambers Global[25]
2020 Only Firm in South Africa Ranked in Tier 1 Across All Categories, IFLR 1000[26]

Notable deals

  • Transaction between The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller Plc and GFI to create the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Africa[27]
  • Lead African legal adviser in the largest transaction ever to be done in Africa, AB InBev's take-over of SABMiller[28]
  • Old Mutual[29] plc on its Managed Separation – African homecoming (listings on the Johannesburg, London, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe Stock Exchanges)
  • Wal-Mart's acquisition of Massmart[30] – entry into Africa
  • Mercer Africa's (Marsh & McLennan) acquisition of Alexander Forbes[31]
  • Oceana Group's acquisition of Daybrook Fisheries in the USA[32]
  • Gold Fields' 50:50 incorporated joint venture with Asanko Gold Inc.[33]
  • Structuring of the African entities of General Electric[34]
  • Tokio Marine Holdings' acquisition of Hollard[35] enabling it to acquire precious foothold in full-scale African expansion
  • Pioneer Foods Group Ltd in respect of the firm intention offer by PepsiCo[36] Inc. to acquire the ordinary shares by way of a scheme of arrangement or standby offer valued at ZAR 25 billion
  • USD 2,1 billion combination of the majority of Barclays' African operations with Absa Group – the largest cross-border African M&A transaction in 2013[37]
  • Actis-backed Emerging Markets Knowledge Holdings' acquisitions relating to its tertiary education buy-and-build platform[38]
  • The Carlyle Group (via its Sub-Saharan Africa Fund[39]) on various M&A transactions and fund structuring
  • American Tower Corporation's acquisition of up to 723 of Telkom Kenya's transmission towers[40] – ATC's first entry into the Kenyan market, its fifth market in Africa
  • Anglo American's restructuring of its shareholding in Anglo American Platinum and its interests in De Beers (combined deal value of ZAR 87 billion)
  • Vodafone Group in respect of the disposal of its indirect 34,94% interest in Safaricom to Vodacom Group for ZAR 35 billion
  • Woolworths on its takeover of Australian retailer, David Jones, valued at AUD 2,14 billion, and its acquisition of Country Road[41]
  • Anglo American on the sale of the New Largo thermal coal project in South Africa to New Largo Coal[42]
  • Sibanye Stillwater in respect of its US$500 million streaming transaction with Wheaton Precious Metals International[43]

Notable cases

  • In 1957 the firm advised Consolidated Diamond Mines of South-West Africa (CDM) in the Great South-West Diamond Case. CDM had been given exclusive rights to mine for diamonds in a diamond-rich area by the administrator of South West Africa, who subsequently conferred the right to Suidwes-Afrika Prospekteers. CDM successfully sued South West Africa to protect their sole right to mine.[6]
  • In 1973 the firm successfully completed the case of Venkatrathnan and Another vs Officer Commanding Robben Island. In the case the court decided that prisoners were in principle entitled to study for tertiary degrees.[6]
  • In 2004 the firm successfully challenged South African pharmaceutical price capping legislation in the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa in terms of which pharmacists, when dispensing prescription medicine, could charge a fixed fee limited to 26% and capped at R26.00.[6][44]

Notable alumni


Notable alumni of the firm include:[6]

Further reading

  • Nicol, Mike (2006). The Firm: A Biography of Webber Wentzel Bowens. South Africa: Random House. ISBN 0-9584468-7-3.
  • Lancaster, David (2008). The Webber Wentzel Art Collection Celebrating 140 Years 1868–2008. South Africa. ISBN 978-0-620-41318-3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • Nicol, Mike (2018). Making History, Shaping the Future: Webber Wentzel 1868–2018. South Africa. ISBN 978-1-77609-291-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)


  1. ^ Webber Wentzel Archived 1 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Leading Managers. Retrieved 31 December 2010
  2. ^ a b "Who We Are | Law Firm in Africa | Get Legal Advice". Webber Wentzel.
  3. ^ a b "A tradition of excellence" (PDF). leadingmanagers.co.za. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  4. ^ David Lancaster. Who's Who Legal, Retrieved 18 June 2010
  5. ^ "The Firm: a Biography of Webber Wentzel Bowens" Retrieved 31 December 2010 2010
  6. ^ a b c d e "Webber Wentzel | Timeline History 1868 – 2008 : Law Firms in South Africa : Webber Wentzel Attorneys – Main". Archived from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  7. ^ Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters Archived 4 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Webber Wentzel. Retrieved 25 December 2012
  8. ^ "About Webber Wentzel". webberwentzel.com. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  9. ^ a b Hasenfuss, Marc (23 April 2015). "MAITLAND: Growing". financialmail.co.za. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  10. ^ "Maitland partners retire from Webber Wentzel Bowens". fanews.co.za. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  11. ^ Press release August 2011 africalegalnetwork.com [dead link]
  12. ^ Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters Archived 4 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 25 December 2012 [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Winners announced". Retrieved 12 March 2023.[dead link] [dead link]
  14. ^ "Home - WWL Awards 2023". events.whoswholegal.com. Retrieved 22 December 2023.
  15. ^ "Courier Market".
  16. ^ "African Legal Awards (AFLA) 2022".
  17. ^ "Africa Investor – AI News". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  18. ^ "2015 Private Equity Africa Award Winners | Private Equity Africa". Archived from the original on 17 August 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  19. ^ "African Legal Awards 2018: And the Winners Are …". 6 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Company Ranking".
  21. ^ Awards sagea.org.za [dead link]
  22. ^ Rankings filesusr.com
  23. ^ "Stars Shine at African Legal Awards".
  24. ^ "Webber Wentzel > Johannesburg > South Africa | the Legal 500 law firm profiles".
  25. ^ "Webber Wentzel, Global | Chambers Profiles".
  26. ^ "Webber Wentzel – South Africa – Firm Profile | IFLR1000".
  27. ^ "Home | Coca-Cola". www.coca-cola.com.
  28. ^ "Home". ab-inbev.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Old Mutual: Investments, Insurance, Loans and Unit Trusts. Celebrating 175 years of doing great things". Old Mutual: Investments, Insurance, Loans and Unit Trusts. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  30. ^ "History – Massmart". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Mercer to acquire 34% stake in Alexander Forbes". uk.mercer.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Acquisition of Daybrook Fisheries" (PDF). Retrieved 22 December 2023.
  33. ^ "Media | Media | Gold Fields". goldfields.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  34. ^ "GE.com Africa". ge.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  35. ^ "Press Releases, News & Articles | Hollard". hollard.co.za. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  38. ^ "EMKH | Investments | Actis". act.is. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  39. ^ "Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund (CSSAF) | The Carlyle Group". carlyle.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Telkom Kenya Limited and American Tower Corporation announce Tower Transaction | Telkom Kenya Limited". telkom.co.ke. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  41. ^ "WOOLWORTHS SOUTH AFRICA TO ACQUIRE DAVID JONES TO CREATE A LEADING SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE RETAILER – Woolworths Holdings Limited". woolworthsholdings.co.za. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  42. ^ "Anglo American completes sale of New Largo thermal coal project in South Africa". angloamerican.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  43. ^ "History". Sibanye-Stillwater. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  44. ^ "Business Report | IOL | Breaking News | South Africa News | World News | Sport | Business | Entertainment | IOL.co.za". Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  45. ^ "Leadership". debeersgroup.com. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  46. ^ "Parktown Heritage Plaques". Archived from the original on 7 March 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  47. ^ Sir ED.P. Solomon Dead. The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2010
  48. ^ "Ed Southey, Webber Wentzel". Worldservicesgroup.com.
  49. ^ "Brett Kebble: the inside story" Barry Sergeant, Retrieved 18 June 2010
  50. ^ "Saembassybulgaria.com". Saembassybulgaria.com.