Our firm


Lawtons Africa is a South African law firm. Our roots stem from seeds sown in down-town Johannesburg in 1892. 

We are looking forward to building on our legacy as we pursue a bright future in the local and broader African market.


Our history features various changes and different names. During this time, we walked the legal journey with many home-grown and international companies as well as exciting 21st-century ventures.

South Africa is a vibrant, ever-changing country with many challenges and opportunities. Our practice and approach align with national and continental developments, while staying resilient through the tough times.

We always keep an open mind.


During the recent transformation out of a multinational establishment, we realised valuable lessons from exposure to the international legal environment.

We will use it to the benefit of our clients and remain active in markets outside Africa.


Our team of lawyers, including directors, consultants, associates and candidate attorneys are highly qualified, market-recognised and skilled. These committed professionals are backed by considerable resources. This enables us to render transactional, advisory and dispute-resolution services to you - our client. 

We absorb skills and create solutions that are relevant to African business and people.


We pride ourselves on being a diverse family that works with our clients in a team to maintain personal, trust-based, long-lasting relationships.

We are a “home from home” for our clients.


The firm’s extensive client portfolio supports domestic and international corporations, banks, financial institutions and state authorities. Our in-community, often pro-bono services, keep our work real.

We have always been at the forefront of the movement to advance social justice and the rule of law in South Africa and our commitment to community will continue to resonate.


Our practice areas support a broad range of clients: employment, litigation, construction, tax and exchange control, corporate/commercial, transaction advisory, real estate, private equity, competition/anti-trust, business restructuring and insolvency. 

Giving back to communities and society is fundamental to good business - it’s part of our core. We are advocates of justice, equality and opportunity. 

We make a difference through pro bono activities, community investment and social justice.



We entered the southern African legal community in 1892, from our first work-space in downtown Johannesburg. The firm, Routledge, built a foundation for the skills, relevance and commitment that have remained intrinsic to our firm over the century and more.


Our 130 years of practice reflect the realities of the city and region that is our cradle. In this time, we moved offices from downtown Johannesburg to Sandton, provided legal services to diverse clients, and participated in and learned from international networks and exposure.


We are Lawtons Africa, a firm that resonates a dynamic history, builds on valuable experiences and helps to take law practice into a new era across Africa.


Our message

Our core messages form the foundations of everything we do. It comes from deep within, from our staff and learnings. It is real – shaping what we do and how we do it.



We adapt to the future by being open-minded. We learn and welcome change.



We are committed to a diverse and inclusive collective.



We work to build cohesive teams that sustain long-lasting relationships with staff and clients. Unity is key, so we walk the journey together.



We have deep roots in South Africa and will continue to grow and connect further into Africa.



Our bond with communities grows stronger through pro bono and community-service work.


Members of the management board

Jeff Buckland

Director, Head of Corporate &  Chairman of the Management Board

Practice area: Corporate/transaction advisory & commercial

SJ Thema

Director & Member of the Management Board

Practice area: Commercial litigation & dispute resolution 

Veronica Vurgarellis

Director, Head of Commercial Litigation & Member of the Management Board

Practice area: Commercial litigation & dispute resolution

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Lawtons Africa and Asafo & Co. tie-up

Joining forces with Asafo & Co. offices across Africa, the Asafo & Lawtons team in Johannesburg has a shared dedication to the continent and to meeting the challenges of Africa’s rapid evolving economies.


The launch of Asafo & Lawtons comes as a timely response to current market demands and has transformed the African legal services landscape by creating a unique service offering dedicated to providing top tier legal services on a truly Pan-African basis.

With our combined capacity, Asafo & Lawtons offers a 360° presence throughout Africa: North, South, East and West, comprising both Anglophone and Francophone countries and with extensive experience in both civil law and common law. We bring to the table an integrated team of legal professionals with significant on the ground local know-how and international expertise.


Diversity and BEE

Lawtons Africa subscribes to a policy of gender equality in the workplace. Committed to fair and non-discriminatory employment policies, we acknowledge the validity of the Employment Equity Act and the Black Economic Empowerment Act.

We subscribe to a policy of employment equity and empowerment, taking cognisance of the diversity in broader society. Our commitment is to pursue empowerment strategies that will ensure that the firm’s ownership and staff are representative of South Africa’s demographics.

We are proud to retain our B-BBEE Level 1 Empowered Supplier status as per our latest B-BBEE assessment on the Amended Codes of Good Practice. Our B-BBEE Recognition Level is 135%.

We are a fully diverse and transformed law firm that is representative of the demographics of South Africa. Having set a good foundation, we have worked hard to build an inclusive and diverse law firm that can compete with greater success in the market.

Our focus remains on developing our black lawyers from a management control, professional expertise and ownership perspective, while also placing emphasis on procurement from black-owned businesses, particularly black-owned SMEs, aligned skills development and a commitment to enterprise and supplier development initiatives that lead to job creation. As per our latest B-BBEE assessment, Lawtons Africa is 53.33% black-owned, 33.33% black woman-owned, and 20% black youth-owned.


We base everything we do on equal dignity and respect of all people.


View our B-BBEE Certificate in PDF format below.