ENSafrica is led by Michael Katz (Chairman), Mzi Mgudlwa (Chief Executive), Otsile Matlou (Chief Operating Officer) and Lee Mendelsohn (Chief Operating Officer).
We operate within a flat structure which allows everyone, be they practitioners or support staff, to make a difference - here everyone has a say in how things are done. We encourage rigorous debate as that is how we can ensure that ENSafrica continues to deliver world class solutions and keeps breaking new ground.
In fact, when it came to defining our values and determining our vision for the next few years, we asked everyone for their inputs and even the final proposal was first presented in workshops for comment and input before being released and documented as our values and vision.
We believe our people are problem solvers, always looking for innovative solutions when faced with an obstacle. They challenge the status quo to make things that little bit better or more edgy for our clients. ENSafrica employees are diverse, brave individuals, unfazed by what has been "done before" and what others may think "cannot be done". They are truly looking to add value and make a difference - to our clients, to the less fortunate in our society, and to one another.
As one of Africa's largest and most respected law firms, we are devoted to providing top quality legal, tax, IP and forensics services to our clients, offering innovative and creative solutions tailored specifically to individual client needs and wants. We maintain our reputation by constantly re-inventing ourselves and challenging employees to create inspired solutions which mirror the changing political, social, economic and environmental landscape of Africa.
We firmly believe in our ability to initiate positive change and transformation, both within the firm and within the legal profession.
Now over 1100 strong, the firm operates out of 12 major African cities, namely Accra, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Kampala, Kigali, Nairobi, Port Louis, Stellenbosch, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek as "one firm" despite the many departments, teams and individuals who contribute to our success.
It is our vision to continue to be "one team" irrespective of our disparate locations, our size or the logistical divisions and operational necessities that at times may make this difficult. Indeed, we believe it is our ability to capitalise on our differences and work as a synergistic team that is one of our greatest strengths.
Our strength lies in our people. Working as one team, and capitalising on the diverse backgrounds from which we come, we take pride in delivering excellent, innovative solutions.
ENSafrica is Africa’s largest law firm with over 600 practitioners. The firm has a significant breadth and depth of experience and specialist expertise that spans all commercial areas of law, tax, IP and forensics, and benchmarks itself according to international standards whilst retaining a uniquely African focus.
In essence, what really differentiates us is the breadth and depth of the services we offer clients. We do not have small departments made up of one or two practitioners specialising in certain areas of law, nor do we have large departments with everyone doing a bit of everything.
Rather, we have a wide range of departments, each of which is focused on a different aspect of the law and divided into a number of specialist teams. In turn, each team comprises a number of experts working within a niche area of that type of law and business. This means that the work we do is exciting and, most often, ground breaking, as we have both the skills and resources to be creative and develop our expertise to remain cutting edge.
It is by knowing the ins-and-outs of the law at this level and being able to have specialists within each field of business dealing with all the aspects that relate to the matter, that we can make a difference and add value when advising our clients.
Most definitely - as do the likes of international ranking agencies Chambers Global (The World's Leading Lawyers for Business) and Legal 500, and we also regularly receive awards at the annual African Legal Awards and DealMakers Awards.
We are structured on "best practice" business principles. Our state-of-the-art IT systems provide our practitioners with a constant stream of up-to-the-minute data from around the world, aimed at providing and continually renewing the competitive edge of our clients. All of the firm's operations are managed by experts in their respective fields, enabling our practitioners to focus on what they do best - the business of law.
ENSafrica operates as one firm through fully integrated offices across Africa, including Accra, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Kampala, Kigali, Nairobi, Port Louis, Stellenbosch, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek. Our offices don't operate by means of a network or as an alliance, nor do we adopt a "Swiss Verein" approach. Instead, we work as one team and one firm across countries.
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One of the key focus areas of our human resources department is developing our talent.
We have an in-house training programme that caters for the needs of individual practitioners and teams.
Our Chairman, Michael Katz, who is one of the leading commercial and tax lawyers in South Africa with some 40 years of experience and numerous accolades (including being named as the leading M&A lawyer in South Africa by Chambers Global); along with Professor Dale Hutchison, who currently lectures law at the University of Cape Town, are involved in ensuring that our practitioners remain up to date regarding the latest developments in law and business and are up to speed with local and global issues facing our clients and their businesses.
The firm hosts a number of internal seminars and workshops to promote communication, workshop ideas, constantly grow business intelligence and ensure that our people remain on top of the latest developments in law, tax, IP and forensics. Apart from our more formal training and development programmes, we encourage our people to mix informally to discuss and debate matters and this creates an infectious buzz around our offices. These ad hoc encounters between our practitioners enable them to be creative, problem solve and come up with the inspired solutions for which the firm is renowned. During lockdowns, we encourage these interactions to continue "virtually".
We also host a variety of formal and informal events to allow practitioners and support staff to share knowledge and chat in "creative spaces". We believe it is these ad hoc, informal gathering times that inspire our people to deliver their best creatively and have fun at the same time.
Because we are so committed to the hiring of talented employees, we also set the benchmark for salaries in the legal industry. ENSafrica is one of the top paying firms in the industry. We have a comprehensive compulsory medical aid scheme / medical insurance, a progressive maternity leave programme and religious, study and parental responsibility leave. Long service awards are presented to those who have dedicated more than five years to the company.
Our offices are designed to prioritise the comfort, health and safety of our employees, and provide a pleasant and creatively stimulating environment where we are able to come together to live and achieve what our firm’s name stands for: Excellence, Novel solutions, and Synergy.
When lockdown regulations allow, we hold annual retreats for all practitioners and their families, as well as a number of fun social events for all employees such as year-end celebrations and mid-year functions, as well as the opportunity to represent the firm in various sports.
We are a diverse firm and are committed to Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). We are recognised for our contribution to B-BBEE in South Africa and are proud to be a level 1 B-BBEE contributor.
Our objective is to become the foremost empowered provider of legal, tax, IP and forensics services in South Africa. Our desire to be fully transformed is motivated by a combination of our commitment to diversity - one of the core values of our firm - and good business sense. We have known for many years that utilising the talents and knowledge offered by a full cross-section of South Africa's people means better client service.
Our commitment to empowerment and transformation is driven through our compensation system whereby principals are either rewarded or penalised financially, depending on the level of contribution they make towards transformation.
As a leading law firm, we are keenly aware of the role we can play in enhancing transformation efforts in the legal field. As such, our commercial litigation department has adopted a policy which gives preference to black advocates when external counsel is required. In order to track the effectiveness of this policy, all members of the department are required to record which advocates’ services are utilised, and these records are collected and considered by a committee which was established to oversee this and similar initiatives. It is also our policy to support all transformation and skills transfer initiatives adopted by the bar councils at the various bars around the country.
While we believe we can contribute most by developing promising black practitioners from within, we remain open to entering into alliances or affiliations with black firms should it be in the interests of the client and/or B-BBEE. We have already worked successfully with a number of black firms on a variety of large projects.
In addition, we have a transformation task team who constantly look at issues in order to create optimum conditions to ensure the success of black practitioners.
We recognise that women are under-represented at senior levels in the legal industry and therefore we strive to create an environment where women are empowered to develop long and successful careers at our firm. In addition, we have a progressive maternity leave programme and a flexible approach which enables women to balance their professional life with their family commitments.
At ENS, we are deeply aware of the socio-economic context in which we operate. We are committed to offering access to justice, free of charge, to qualifying disadvantaged individuals through our two pro bono offices in Alexandra (Johannesburg) and Mitchells Plain (Cape Town).
These offices, which were the first of their kind in South Africa, provide free, high-quality legal services to the community from within the community.
All ENS practitioners in South Africa, regardless of rank, render at least 32 hours of pro bono service per year to this initiative. In addition, we provide commissioners for the small claims courts that are run in our pro bono offices.
We have also recently launched a pro bono offering in Windhoek, Namibia.
Through all of our offices, we provide free legal services (pro amico) to a variety of causes and projects, and we donate funding and resources to a number of interest groups and organisations.
We aim to grow and develop our legal service offering, as well as drive transformation and actively recruit, develop and retain young talent. We aim to continually evolve with the times, develop and maintain a first-rate reputation and provide inspired and solution-driven results at all times. We will remain committed to playing our part as a corporate citizen by making meaningful contributions to the upliftment of underprivileged communities.
Our company culture is defined by a set of core values which set the tone and the environment of the firm. We hold each other accountable to live the values on a day-to-day basis and hold them close to our hearts.
In 2007, 2013 and 2018, the firm undertook a re-evaluation of its vision and strategic goals. This was not done based on a "top-down" approach, but rather our final vision and strategic goals were determined based on everyone's inputs. Everyone at every level in the organisation was consulted and gave their view as to what the firm should focus on going forward.
Our vision is to be the African law firm of choice: Excellence — Novel solutions — Synergy. We are indeed proud of our vision as it incorporates everything we stand for in a simple statement, but what makes it even more special is that it is the product of all of our people's inputs: together we are more.
Job spec for practitioners
The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate the following skills and characteristics:
Banking and Finance
Requirements for a position in an ENSafrica Services Department team
The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate the following skills and characteristics:
The focus of this position will be to proactively implement and effectively maintain this particular area of responsibility (see attached outline of roles) in a business context; and, in so doing, achieve optimum turn-around time and efficiencies within all areas of ENSafrica's services department (and in particular, that area for which the incumbent is responsible).
As such, the incumbent will have to play a very proactive role in chasing and gathering required information and "sign-offs", as well as be responsible for all administration aspects within their specific area of expertise/focus. Furthermore they will be required to make an effort to understand the existing firm systems and procedures and in terms of that background, be instrumental in coming up with better ways of working and new standard operating systems to enhance workflows within ENSafrica and ameliorate the way in which we do business with both our clients and suppliers and communicate these to their team leader.
The incumbent of this position will also need to demonstrate high levels of EQ and excellent communication skills. Loyalty to ENSafrica and strong alignment to ENSafrica's one-firm culture, vision and values is key - it is important that the candidate is willing to promote what ENSafrica stands for within the team and firm, as well as be willing to mentor and coach other team members and ENSafrica staff members in the "ENSafrica way".
ENSafrica has a successful, accredited in-house Practical Legal Training course, which has been running for some time. The in-house programme is led by external lecturers as well some of our Executives. In South Africa, lectures take place at our premises in Cape Town and Johannesburg and revision classes are held prior to board exams to assist with preparation. ENSafrica also has an in-house training programme that caters for the needs of individuals and teams. ENSafrica's chairman, Michael Katz, one of the leading commercial and tax lawyers in South Africa, and Professor Dale Hutchison, who currently lectures law at the University of Cape Town, are intimately involved in ensuring the quality and relevance of training provided. The firm also hosts a number of internal seminars and workshops to promote communication and workshop ideas so as to constantly grow business intelligence and be on top of the latest developments in law, tax, IP and forensics.
We have a one-on-one mentoring and training system for the firm's young professionals, who have access to the most experienced commercial practitioners in South Africa. A principal, a mentor and a human resources contact are assigned to each new graduate recruit to help him or her to adjust, learn and grow within the company. New recruits are not held back but from day one are exposed to real world of business and law, sitting in on client meetings and liaising with the legal and tax experts within that area to see "hands-on" how client solutions are generated and communicated.
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