This year, Herold Gie Attorneys, one of Cape Town’s best-known law firms celebrates its milestone 120th anniversary.
Founded in 1894 in the historic heart of Cape Town, this full-service legal firm retains a longstanding reputation as one of South Africa’s oldest and most established legal practices, with a broad base of expertise accumulated over its rich operating history.
Impressive age is not Herold Gie’s only claim to fame however; as a substantial regional player, the organisation employs close to 100members of staff and comprises several specialised and forward-thinking business units, covering multiple areas of the law. Each unit engages expert lawyers and top legal minds, many recognised by professional legal organisations as specialists who demonstrate exceptional knowledge and expertise in their areas of practice. Herold Gie’s Employment and Public Law Division is, in fact, listed in the “PLC Which Lawyer?” international handbook and website, as a “South African firm to be recommended”.
Since inception the firm has provided comprehensive legal counsel across a wide range of services, sectors and practice areas. Today these include: commercial, property, employment and public, business rescue, pension, banking, insolvency, commercial recoveries, wills, trusts and estates, insurance, personal injury, litigation, family, sport and sponsorship law.
The firm’s name is derived from its founding partners, Charles Willoughby Herold and George Gerhard Gie, who joined the business in 1902. Early records of the company depict its operation against the backdrop of apartheid, industrialisation and the important developmental phases of many of Cape Town’s key regional areas, including the waterfront and foreshore precincts.
Certainly one of the most important matters handled by the firm in its earlier days, after the end of The First World War, was the legal work pertaining to the sub-division of the entire Fish Hoek area of the Cape.
At this time, a certain Mr De Villiers owned the whole area, a farm, which had been left to him by his wife, upon her death. But De Villiers was very protective over the farm and famous Fish Hoek beach andtherefore consistently declined to sell any of the land. This proved a matter of great frustration to many, particularly as neighbouring areas of Muizenberg, St. James and Kalk Bay were experiencing significant development and building activity.
Upon De Villiers’ death, however, Fish Hoek was subsequently sub-divided into a large number of plots for which there was great demand. Herold&Gie, as the firm was then known,attended to all matters relating to thetransfers and also acted in the Supreme Court action against the railway operators to determine the high water mark, a controversial issuethat impacted on various plots on the Fish Hoek beach.
Today, Herold Gie has two branches situated in Cape Town and Bellville. In 2013, the Cape Town Head Office relocated from its historic premises in Darling Street to the sought-after Wembley precinct overlooking the Cape Town CBD and Table Bay Harbour, and boasting magnificent views of Table Mountain.
Having occupied the Darling Street premises since the 1940’s, this momentous relocation addressed the firm’s growing need for increased office space, and represented it’s active investment in the leading business practices and state-of-the-art technology that enable it to successfully meet the challenges of a complex, ever-changing legal environment.
The firm’s choice of location was decided upon ultimately due to its proximity to the CBD, the courts and deeds office, but also due to ease of access for clients and convenient parking.
The new building also delivers the ultimate in 21st century office amenities - offering state-of-the-art VRV air-conditioning, thermal reduction glass and floor-to-ceiling glazing, it’s also almost fully shaded and allows the firm to reduce its electricity consumption and carbon footprint.
“Our 120th year anniversary is a proud moment in time,” comments Herold Gie Chairman, Linda Jordaan. “The firm has gone from strength to strength in recent years, all down to a team of highly accomplished, hard working individuals and their ability to meet the evolving challenges of the legal world,” she says.
“We understand that the law is often a means to accomplish our clients' business objectives, and we pride ourselves on our in-depth understanding of their industries and marketplaces,” she continues. “As such, client service is undoubtedly the cornerstone of our practice and we consistently strive to act as strategic partners to our clients, leveraging our expertise to provide innovative, responsive, and cost-effective legal services that produce positive results.”