Global law firm Baker McKenzie announced today that leading Banking & Finance lawyers Phetole Modika and Pitso Kortjaas have joined the Firm as Banking & Finance partners in Johannesburg, augmenting Baker McKenzie's transactional capabilities. The pair were previously partners (directors) in the Finance & Banking Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in South Africa. They are joined by their team Director Designate Sabelo Goma, Senior Associate Koketso Maake and Associate Nyameka Nkasana.

Phetole previously led a team of four Banking & Finance partners at CDH. His practice focuses on advising local and international financial institutions on secured and unsecured lending, acquisition and leveraged finance, as well as structured trade commodity finance. He also represents clients on large, cross-border real estate finance matters across various jurisdictions, including Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana and Tanzania. 

Pitso was joint head of the Consumer Goods, Services & Retail sector at CDH. He represents both domestic and international lenders, as well as corporate and public sector clients, in both finance and debt capital markets transactions. His finance experience spans structured finance, corporate finance, leveraged finance, real estate finance, and acquisition finance. Pitso advised on the first sustainability-linked loan in South Africa, the continent’s first sustainability-linked bond on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), as well as the first green bond listing on the JSE by a municipal entity in Africa.

"Phetole, Pitso and their team have an impeccable track record of leading in banking and finance transactions in Africa," said Baker McKenzie Johannesburg Managing Partner Lerisha Naidu. "These appointments form part of our plan to grow our team and solidify our position as the transactional law firm of choice in Africa, for our clients and our people."

Baker McKenzie EMEA Chief Executive Alex Chadwick, commented: "Phetole and Pitso are highly skilled and well-respected lawyers in South Africa, with strong cross-border credentials. Their addition to our Banking & Finance team broadens and deepens our transactional capabilities across Africa. We are excited to welcome them to the Firm, where they will connect with colleagues across borders and practice groups to offer full-service legal and regulatory advice to our clients operating in African markets."

Phetole Modika noted: "The team drives a high-performance culture underpinned by an approach that is centred on understanding each client’s business and commercial objectives. This enables us to anticipate clients' concerns and provide legal solutions that are tailored to their business and commercial objectives. Baker McKenzie's focus on client centricity and the Firm's commitment to client service excellence is a great fit for us."

Pitso Kortjaas added: "I am excited to work with Baker McKenzie's award-winning Africa-focused team in South Africa and across the continent and relish the opportunity to be part of one global team, advising our clients on their big-ticket multijurisdictional transactions."

Baker McKenzie is a transactional powerhouse, with more than 2,500 deal lawyers in 45 jurisdictions offering pragmatic counsel in the areas most critical for clients. The Firm excels in complex transactions and cross-border deals; over 65% of the deals are multi-jurisdictional. The teams are a hybrid of ‘local’ and ‘global’, combining money-market sophistication with local excellence.
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