ENSafrica is led by Michael Katz (chairman), Mzi Mgudlwa (chief executive), Otsile Matlou (chief operating officer | practice integration) and Lee Mendelsohn (chief operating officer | operations).
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. Similarly, our restaurants got their names from within - everyone had a chance to suggest a name and to vote on which one they liked best.
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 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 profession itself.
Now over 1100 strong, the firm operates out of twelve major African cities, namely Accra, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Kampala, Kigali, Port Louis, Stellenbosch, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek as 'one-firm' despite the many departments, teams and individuals that contribute to our success.
And 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, the people at ENSafrica take pride in delivering world-class innovative solutions.
Our biggest "plus" is also our biggest challenge. With the growth of the firm, the ability to continue to recruit, develop and retain forward-thinking, creative and talented individuals remains an ongoing challenge.
ENSafrica is Africa’s largest law firm with over 600 practitioners and was established over 100 years ago. The firm has a significant breadth and depth of experience and specialist expertise that spans all commercial areas of law, tax, forensics and IP and benchmarks itself according to international standards whilst retaining a uniquely African focus.
This sounds very clichéd - so perhaps we should rather say, 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, or even, 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 quantity and quality of 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 in's-and-out's 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 Global Chambers (The World's Leading Lawyers for Business), an international publication! Our recent awards, including best large law firm in SA and best legal employer in SA and the fact that we are the largest law firm in Africa explains why we think we are a force to be reckoned with, but then again, we don't want to sound arrogant either.
We are structured on world-class 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. We currently have six offices in South Africa and a growing presence throughout Africa. 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 on developing our talent.
We have an in-house training programme that caters for the needs of individual practitioners, teams and new learnerships.
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); assisted by Professor Dale Hutchison, (who currently lectures law at the University of Cape Town), personally manage the firm's formal weekly training programme to ensure 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 and to workshop ideas so as to constantly grow business intelligence and ensure that our people remain on top of the latest developments in law, tax and forensics. We are also currently recruiting a dedicated Training and Development Director who will be focused solely on driving these initiatives - this is further proof of our commitment to growing our people.
Apart from our more formal training and development programmes we encourage our people to mix informally to discuss and debate matters and this creates a buzz around the place - these ad hoc encounters between our practitioners enable them to be creative, problem solve and to come up with the inspired solutions for which the firm is renowned.
To this end the firm has a state-of-the-art restaurant, a pool table and coffee bar. In addition to this, we also host a variety of other 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. In Cape Town, ENSafrica is the highest paying firm in the legal industry and is among the top-paying firms in Johannesburg. A comprehensive compulsory medical aid scheme is in place. Annual leave complies with legislation and there is a progressive maternity leave programme. We also offer religious, study and family responsibility leave. Long service awards are presented to those who have dedicated more than five years to the company.
The work environment itself is characterised by giving employees an opportunity not only to work together but to spend time relaxing together should they choose to do so. The firm holds an annual retreat to which all practitioners and senior services team members are invited along with their spouses and families. This is a big event not only in size but in terms of excitement as everyone comes together to enjoy a weekend of fun and leisure. It is an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other better in a relaxing and informal setting, and for our practitioners' families to be acknowledged for their contribution - after all it's because of their support at home, that our people are able to do what they do.
There are numerous events and functions throughout the year in which teams and employees at different levels can participate. Some choose to play action cricket, some soccer, still others touch-rugby or cycling. There is something for everyone including monthly social functions such as month-end drinks.
Furthermore, the environment is such that it encourages people to get together - be it for a late breakfast or luncheon, just to chat and catch up on various matters - these ad hoc meetings encourage team building and collaboration at all levels but in a spontaneous and dynamic way. We purposely created spaces within the firm which encourage people to get together whether it be over a meal in our JHB or CPT restaurants or just for a cup of coffee. Meals in our restaurants are heavily subsidised and employees can invite family members and friends to join them in the restaurant.
By design, we have tried to make the workspace creatively appealing so that being at work can be exciting for our people - we want everyone to feel and "be part of it"!
Our work environment is also designed around making the systems work for our people rather than the other way round. The firm does not put limits on mailbox sizes and apart from the obvious internet firewall blocking for spam and viruses, everyone can access the internet as and when they need to. Our intranet is also a great tool for people to share ideas and see what's happening in the business. The environment is characterised by being open and transparent - there are no levels and hierarchies - we're one team.
We are committed to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) within the firm firm and we are recognised for our contribution to Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in South Africa and are proud to be a level 2 BBBEE contributor. Our objective is to become the foremost empowered provider of legal, tax and forensics services in South Africa. The firm's desire to be fully transformed is motivated by a combination of its commitment to diversity - one of the core values of the firm- and good business sense. We have known for many years that utilising the talents and abilities offered by a full cross-section of South Africa's people means better clients 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, the firm's 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 the firm believes that it can contribute most by developing promising black practitioners from within, it remains open to entering into alliances or affiliations with black firms should it be in the interests of the client and/or BEE and skills transfer. We have already worked successfully with a number of black firms on a variety of large projects.
The firm has a transformation task team who constantly looks at issues in order to create optimum conditions to ensure the success of black practitioners.
The firm has a special programme to empower and assist women in their careers and to be promoted to executive. For example, our maternity benefits allow our female practitioners to work part-time while maintaining and developing their legal, tax or forensics practices if they choose to do so. In fact, the firm's compensation and criteria system provides time and space to enable women to balance their professional life with their family commitments.
In terms of our corporate social investment policy, we are committed to helping and transforming the lives of disadvantaged individuals and communities. Our ultimate goal is to improve the skills, knowledge, economic capacity and quality of these individual's lives so that they, in turn, are empowered to transform their surroundings.
We were the first law firm in South Africa to have established a pro bono office in the heart of a historically disadvantaged community - Mitchells Plein in Cape Town - from where the lawyers provide free legal advice to the underprivileged and lend support and training to non-governmental organisations such as trauma centres and advice offices. We are also proud of our pro bono office in the poverty stricken community of Alexandra, Johannesburg out of which our practitioners from our Johannesburg office provides access to legal advice to those who cannot afford to pay.
Each of our lawyers renders at least 32 hours of pro bono service per annum to our pro bono initiative. We also do pro bono work for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation. In addition, we provide pro bono services to community-based interest groups for a variety of causes and projects. We also donate funding and resources to a number of charity organisations.
In addition, the ENSafrica educational trust provides financial assistance to schools in the disadvantaged areas of Gauteng and the Western Cape in order to uplift the standard of education. As part of this initiative we sponsor three Grade 11 pupils from Portlands High School in Mitchells Plein and three from Fezeka High School in Gugulethu to attend extra lessons on Saturdays and during the holidays in order to increase their chances of qualifying for tertiary education.
Time, money and resources are also donated to the Alexandra Education Committee (AEC) which raises funds for bursaries. The firm sponsors a five-year bursary for one pupil and also participated in the AEC's mentoring programme, where our practitioners help students with their studies, guide them in their career choices and provide emotional support.
We will continue to drive transformation and aggressively recruit, develop and retain young talent. We will continually evolve with the times, maintain and develop a first-rate reputation and provide inspired and solution-driven results at all times. The firm will continue to grow and develop, not only in terms of sheer employee number, but also with regards to quality and service. This will be achieved through commitment to their employee relationships; the 'one-team' approach that demands collaboration and communication within. We will remain committed to playing our part as a corporate citizen by making meaningful contributions to underprivileged members of society.
Our company culture is defined by a set of core values. The values 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 and again in 2013 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: innovative - world class - solution driven. 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.
Tell us a little about you - we know you're busy but the more information you can give us about where you're at and what you're about, the easier we'll be able to determine whether this is the right place and what the right position at ENSafrica will be for you - please include:
Practitioners job spec
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".
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 the country. ENSafrica has huge ambitions for its accredited in-house Practical Legal Training course, which has been running for some time and is also open to external black candidates. In addition, ENSafrica holds in-house lectures every week and takes skills transfer very seriously.
ENSafrica has an in-house training programme that caters for the needs of individuals, teams and new learnerships. ENSafrica's chairman, Michael Katz, one of the leading commercial and tax lawyers in South Africa, is assisted by Professor Dale Hutchison, who currently lectures law at the University of Cape Town; in setting in place the training programme. The training programme is facilitated through the firm's accredited in-house Practical Legal Training course lectures which have been running for some time, and are open to external black candidates to attend.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 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 monitor are assigned to each new recruit to help him or her to adjust, learn and grow within the company. New recruits are not held back but from day one 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 In addition, ENSafrica has a formal mentorship programme specifically designed for young black practitioners to be mentored and trained as world-class lawyers.
Tell us a little about you - we know you're busy but the more information you can give us about where you're at and what you're about, the easier we'll be able to determine the right position for you - please include:
Our clients are many and varied. We act for many listed companies, such as Pick 'n Pay, First National Bank, the Bidvest Group, Goldfields, Coronation, ABSA, Distell, Woolworths, Investec and Clicks, as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee, the National Treasury, the Public Investment corporation and parastatals such as Transnet. Among our clients are international companies such as Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, as well as top sporting personalities and media companies.
"Our perception is that the firm employs some of the most gifted attorneys in South Africa." Chambers Global Guide 2012
""ENSafrica has got some quality practitioners at a good level, very experienced and so on. They are the competition," comments one peer." IFLR1000 2012
"ENSafrica (Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs) has 'excellent depth of experience'." Legal 500 2012
ENSafrica is rated and endorsed as a Leading Law Firm in South Africa by Chambers and Partners Global Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers 2012, IFLR1000 2012, PLC Which Lawyer? 2012 and Legal 500 2012
ENSafrica won AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST DEAL of the YEAR for its involvement in Gold Reef Resorts Ltd merger with Tsogo Sun Holdings Pty Ltd at the M&A Atlas Awards 2012 in New York. ENSafrica represented both parties in the transaction.
ENSafrica was voted one of SA's Top Companies and the largest employer in the industry by Top500 2012
ENSafrica is the only legal firm in South Africa to be rated as one of the fastest growing companies in the world by New Europe Magazine 2012
ENSafrica is ranked as the Best Employer amongst legal firms in South Africa and is in 9th place for Best Employer across all South African companies across all business sectors and across all sizes by CRF Best Employers 2011/2012
ENSafrica was voted Client Care Law Firm of the Year in South Africa for 2012 in the ILO Client Choice Awards
ENSafrica was voted the Premier Multi-Disciplined Law Firm Africa in the Intercontinental-Finance Magazine Awards 2012
ENSafrica came first for "deals announced" and second for "deals closed" for M&A in the Thomson Reuters Emerging Markets Legal M&A Review for 2012
ENSafrica is highly recommended in the category "deal flow" in the MergerMarkets M&A League Table of Legal Advisors to Africa & the Middle East for 2012
ENSafrica was voted The Most Trusted Law Firm of the Year in South Africa in ACQ magazine's Law Awards 2011
ENSafrica was voted Full Service Law Firm of the Year in South Africa in ACQ magazine's Law Awards 2011
ENSafrica was announced as the Winner in the category of 'Deal of the Year' South Africa in the Finance Monthly Law Awards 2011 for our involvement in Massmart's proposed acquisition by Wal-Mart
ENSafrica has been named Leading Law Firm of the Year in South Africa by InterContinental Finance Magazine 2011
ENSafrica has been named Leading Mergers & Acquisitions Law of the Year in South Africa by InterContinental Finance Magazine 2011
ENSafrica has been named Most Progressive Thinking Law Firm of the Year in South Africa by InterContinental Finance Magazine 2011
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