Baker McKenzie appoints Lerisha Naidu as Johannesburg office managing partner
Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie announced that Lerisha Naidu has been appointed Managing Partner of the Johannesburg office. Johan Botes, Partner and Head of the Employment and Compensation Practice, and Marc Yudaken, Partner in the Corporate/M&A Practice, have been appointed as members of the Johannesburg office's Management Committee. The term is for three years, effective from 1 July 2022. The new management team will continue to be supported by Amsterdam-based partners Erik Scheer and Mirjam de Blécourt for the next 12 months.
Lerisha is a Partner and Head of the Competition & Antitrust Practice at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg – her team deals with the spectrum of antitrust matters impacting upon sub-Saharan Africa. She also leads the Diversity and Inclusion portfolio in Johannesburg, as well as its pro bono and corporate social responsibility pillars. Lerisha was appointed as one of Baker McKenzie's youngest partners, at the age of 32, and is the youngest member of the Johannesburg office's management committee. She participated in Baker McKenzie's LIFT programme for high performing women partners. Lerisha is a Chambers and a Legal 500 ranked practitioner and has previously been listed as a Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South African, and an Avance Media Top 100 Influential Young South African.
Johan is experienced in South African and sub-Saharan African employment law and employee relations. He is recognised as a leading lawyer in South Africa by Chambers Global and as a leading individual by Legal 500. He recently received Acritas Star award for client service and his team has won the Africa Legal Awards Employment Law Team of the Year in 2019 and 2021. Marc focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, corporate reorganizations and restructurings, general corporate finance, and empowerment transactions. He is also the heads the Industrials, Manufacturing and Transportation Sector Group. Marc has been recognised by Best Lawyers and Legal 500 for his work advising on corporate mergers and acquisition transactions.
Commenting on her appointment, Lerisha said: "It is a great honour to be elected Managing Partner of Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg. Our office recently launched an exciting new strategy that enables our clients to thrive in an increasingly connected, complex and changing world, and fulfils our vision to be the law firm of choice for our clients and our people in sub-Saharan Africa. Our new client value model is precise and targeted, with an emphasis on cross-practice, cross-border collaboration, and solutions that prioritise sustainability and innovation. In terms of our people, we are committed to being the best employer in the local market, by focusing on recruitment, retention, reward and recognition, inclusion, diversity and belonging, personal growth, learning, and fun."
Alex Chadwick EMEA+ Managing Partner, added: "The election of Lerisha (Lee) Naidu for a term of three years is excellent news for Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg. Lee is a highly respected member of the Bakers family, both globally and within the Johannesburg team. The Johannesburg office, launched ten years ago in 2012, plays an important role in our ambitious growth plans for the Africa operations of our Firm. We look forward to working with Lee, and her management team to deliver an integrated response for our clients, across different markets, sectors and areas of law in Africa."