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Legal Activities and Services
The legal activities and services sector in South Africa plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law and promoting the fair, democratic, and equitable functioning of the country. Law firms provide knowledge-intensive business service, and this report offers an overview of South Africa’s legal profession, as well as the role and benefits of knowledge management in the sector. While somewhat exposed to South Africa’s poor economy, the legal services sector enjoys a stable base of companies seeking compliance and advisory services in the face of new legislation and a shifting regulatory framework. Competition is on the rise and law firms are attempting to incorporate disruptive new legal technologies in pursuit of increasingly efficient operating processes and value-oriented client services.
Political uncertainty and the poor economy have affected the profession, notably pressuring M&A activity, but demand for legal services is generally on the rise. The introduction of new legislation and an increasing regulatory and compliance load is driving companies to seek legal advice. Judicial inquiries into state capture, widespread corruption, the mismanagement of state-owned entities, potential amendment of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land and property without compensation are also set to bring potentially significant changes to South Africa’s law. Competition is on the rise, with the majority of large audit and consultancy firms now operating legal divisions and a host of smaller companies developing innovative legal services, leveraging new legal technologies, and offering increased flexibility and relatively lower costs to potential clients. The large law firms are also adapting, attempting to streamline their businesses and incorporate new technologies into their traditional operating models.
This report on the legal activities and services sector, including knowledge management, includes comprehensive information on the nature, size and status of the sector, and the factors and trends that influence it. It includes the latest information on the number and size of law firms, practising lawyers and candidate attorneys, and scope of fees. There are profiles of 28 firms including the big players, Norton Rose Fulbright, Bowmans, Webber Wentzel, ENSafrica and Werksmans, as well as smaller firms and those focusing on specific areas such as Adams & Adams and von Seidels, that are known for their focus on intellectual property.