Leon Van Der Merwe, Co-Chair Centurion Plus
Leon Van Der Merwe is a lawyer at the Centurion Law Group’s Johannesburg office with significant experience in Banking, Corporate and Commercial Law as well as General Litigation. Prior to joining Centurion, Leon worked as an Associate Attorney and head of the Commercial Law Department at Stegmanns Inc., a leading South African firm and played a pivotal role in the drafting and negotiations of contracts, risk analysis, and providing complex corporate advice.
He’s also an attorney of the High Court of South Africa and has been practicing as such for more than 6 years. Leon completed his articles, and also practiced as an attorney at Roestoff and Kruse, a boutique law firm in South Africa, where he played an active role in general litigation and deal-making negotiations. Leon has also provided legal services to major national and international corporations in various industries, such as forestry, mining, construction, engineering, and retail.
Centurion Law, a leading Pan-African law firm focuses on structuring deals in the energy sector as well as brokering deals with governments across Africa and the rest of the world. “Centurion’s cross-border work is experiencing unprecedented growth and Leon is a valuable addition to the firm’s team of Africa specialists” commented Glenda Irvine-Smith, Director of Business Development & International Relations.
In this interview, he shares his thoughts on Centurion Law Group’s (https://CenturionLG.com) agile and customized legal and advisory service offering that brings together a team of “on ground” African lawyers for any deal on a project basis.
What inspired C+ for a law firm that has otherwise followed a model of integration?
Africa! Fulfilling our client’s tailored legal needs and embracing the transformation of the legal profession. Centurion Law Group and Centurion Plus complement each other. Clients get the benefit of our extensive expertise, resources, and connections—along with a means of accessing top legal talent at an affordable rate. Many clients prefer full-time, in-house legal, and business representation, others appreciate the flexibility of choosing the services of an advisor only when they need one. By combining both options, Centurion builds on its practice of uplifting Africa. Centurion Plus makes legal services affordable to growing indigenous businesses and foreign companies setting up operations on the continent. We continue to contribute towards the legal profession, by providing excellent career opportunities to lawyers.
More than ever, Africa is now a continent of growth, and our hybrid model is supporting that growth in a practical and meaningful way. Whether a corporation wants to utilize the full resources of our legal practice or just needs a team of experienced attorneys for a one-time project—or both—Centurion Plus will meet their needs.
How is Centurion Plus different from other networks and alliances?
Centurion Plus is proudly Pan-African. We have formed an agile and customized legal and advisory service offering, which brings together a team of “on ground” African lawyers for any deal on a project basis. International clients investing in our continent usually utilize legal services of Lawyers abroad. These lawyers often have minimum to no experience or knowledge of that specific country’s local compliance and legal regulatory framework. Centurion Plus has leverage on this matter. Our qualified lawyers have over 10+ years in their respective jurisdiction(s).
What is appealing to C+ consultants?
At Centurion Plus we have seen a growing number of outstanding professionals looking for alternative ways to practice the profession that they love while balancing other lifestyle elements, such as family, further studies, travels, or hobbies. We have generated a platform that responds to this evolution in the practice of law, by creating an environment that connects professionals seeking a more flexible work routine, with businesses that require counsel on an intermittent or project basis.
How do you see this model growing as the legal landscape matures across Africa?
While the concept is not new, this hasn’t been done in the unchartered waters of Africa yet. The challenge for African firms operating platforms like Centurion Plus will revolve around the mindset shift of becoming more process-driven, technology-enabled, and delivering quality legal services. This rising phenomenon of on-demand legal services is unsurprising when one considers the great boom in technology software in the last few decades. We are, after all, living in the age of information and technology. Platforms like this have been successfully embraced and utilized in law firms across North America, Europe, and Asia. Africa will surely not be left behind in this revolution of utilizing innovative, client-focused delivery methods.
How does it work and how is it managed?
The Centurion Plus team will first determine the client’s specific business requirements or needs and thereafter source a suitable, prequalified, and vetted candidate that meets the selection criteria. After confirming the appropriate expert, we will kick start the project. All our candidates are already onboarded, with most available to start work immediately. The Centurion Plus team appoints a “project leader” that provides continued support and assure that the client’s ongoing needs are met. The on-demand lawyers are backed by Centurion. We rigorously screen the lawyers we provide for projects, and this assures that our clients feel confident in their unsurpassed abilities to represent them. We take pride in providing the tools and resources the on-demand lawyers need to ensure successful results.
Centurion Law Group invites clients to reach out to the Centurion Plus team and explore the ways our remote working team and virtual office environment can assist your company, while we all try and keep businesses going or prepare for a time after lockdown.