We sit down with a few passionate lawyers and attorneys from Umhlanga to learn more about them and their firms.
Margaret Bigby and James Bigby from Woodhead Bigby Attorneys
Tell us about Woodhead Bigby Attorneys
Woodhead Bigby Inc. is a Durban based firm of attorneys, conveyancers and notaries public. We are siblings, attorneys and co-directors of the firm with our father, Scott Bigby, and six partners. 2021 marks the 100th year of the firm’s existence, having been established by the late Mr TT Woodhead who partnered with our grandfather, the late HCS Bigby (himself a son of a reputable lawyer!). The firm prides itself on being a level 1 B-BBEE full service law firm offering legal services across the practice areas of litigation, commercial, property and conveyancing, estates and trusts, and labour. Within each practice area there are particular service offerings, including commercial mergers and acquisitions, court litigation, property transfers and mortgage bond registrations, estate planning, deceased estate and trust administration, and employment law related disputes. Although we have a varied personal diet of work within the firm, James’ practice area is predominantly commercial litigation and contractual law and Margaret’s focus is on high-value property transactions and the administration of deceased estates and trusts.
Are there any exciting cases and transactions you’re working on at the moment?
Absolutely! We are consistently working on exciting cases and this is what keeps us motivated. Margaret is working on a number of complex property transactions involving trusts and companies and James is regularly appearing in the High Court.
What is your advice for future attorneys or lawyers?
Our advice is to persevere with the hard work and remember that there are no shortcuts to qualifying and gaining experience. We are lucky to have had each other and the support to get through the tough years of studying and qualifying – this set a good foundation for us to continue our combined efforts to not only grow our individual legal expertise but also work well together in private practice. We are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by partners (and family!) who have extensive experience and are an integral part of our growth and the firm’s growth and longevity.
Why the East Coast?
Geographically and commercially, the East Coast is by far the most exciting place to live and work. We are proud Durbanites. We were schooled in Durban, attended university in Durban, and were admitted as attorneys on the same day in the High Court of South Africa in Pietermaritzburg. We are here to stay! Although we serve clients from all over the county and internationally, the East Coast is where most of our clients originate. We are fortunate to have maintained relationships with many of these clients who continue to entrust the firm with their affairs. We are extremely grateful for their continued support and the opportunity to provide them with our professional services, and we proudly do so to some of the firm’s original East Coast businesses and families.
92 Armstrong Avenue, La Lucia
031 360 9700
Subashnee Moodley from Livingston Leandy
Tell us about Livingston Leandy
I’m the Managing Director of Livingston Leandy Incorporated, which was born of the merger between two of Durban’s oldest legal firms, Livingston Doull & Winterton and Leandy & Partners, which share a proud history of more than 131 years. LLI operates from La Lucia Ridge and represents clients across the country through a network of correspondent attorneys. Over the last few decades, we have innovated and transformed so that we remain relevant. Our strategies focus on one main goal: to be recognised as a leading South African law firm with a reputation for integrity and providing expert, inventive and cost-effective solutions to our clients. Our practice areas, amongst others, include maritime law, POPI compliance, litigation, property and conveyancing, commercial, constitutional, administrative town planning, and estates.
Which values does Livingston Leandy embrace?
Honesty and integrity remain the foundation of our firm. The ability to remain accessible and approachable is also key to maintaining the support of our clients. Our firm thrives on ensuring a good work environment, and we believe that there is a link between productivity levels and a healthy and happy work culture, the key element of which is acknowledging and expressing appreciation for our employees. In a deadline-driven environment, our team works hard, and it is essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance in order to yield effective results. We believe that people are far more committed to achieving the best they can when they are appreciated and when management has a vested interest in their well-being.
Tell us about one of your recent highlights
Our firm celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2019 which was a huge highlight! Over and above scooping a few awards at various events, LLI is one of those pioneering firms in the “over 130 years in existence” category that has shattered the glass ceiling by appointing our first female MD in 2017.
What is the future legal landscape at Livingston Leandy?
The need for transformation and innovation in South African law firms has become a necessity, especially when there is a diverse client base. Clients have come to expect more from their law firms, from economical, dynamic and relevant solutions to acceptable turn-around times. Clients want the best value for money and, as their service provider, we need to deliver. As a well-known brand, Livingston Leandy will continue to build, grow and develop not just existing practice areas but new ones as well. We have embraced the virtual world of practising law and while the future legal landscape looks quite different, we could not be more excited about the road ahead!
Ground Floor, Building 5, Glass House Office Park, 309 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, La Lucia Ridge
031 536 7500
Ian King from Mooney Ford Attorneys
Tell us about Mooney Ford Attorneys
Mooney Ford Attorneys was first established when Edward Holgate and Fred Blamey formed a partnership known as Blamey Holgate. In 1955, the firm merged with Renaud, Fellows-Smith and Mooney, and so Mooney Ford and Partners was born! The firm continued under this name until 2002 when we changed to the present-day Mooney Ford Attorneys, of which I am the Managing Director. We offer a full spectrum of legal services, including all aspects pertaining to property law, commercial law (including all aspects pertaining to corporate governance in relation to the Companies Act and other applicable legislation), shareholder and partnership disputes, insurance law, wills and estates, labour and employment law, family law, and the recovery of outstanding debts.
Your firm helped many people and businesses during the hard lockdown. What did you achieve?
2020 proved to be an extremely challenging year for everybody, with some sectors of the economy being hit harder than others by the lockdown. Mooney Ford was proud to be able to offer free advice to the public about the law pertaining to the lockdown through its weekly segment on East Coast Radio, by our young and vibrant partner, Ashton Naidoo. In addition, we ran an extensive free online webinar series throughout the initial stages of the lockdown aimed primarily at the property industry which gave estate agents training and provided them with other useful information.
We have gone back to the webinars under adjusted Alert Level 3, and aim to continue with our free webinars for as long as there is demand for them. We also spent considerable time and effort assisting the Restaurant Association of South Africa in negotiating with the Department of Tourism and Industry, which ultimately saw the lockdown regulations being relaxed to incorporate sit-down meals being allowed once more. Additionally, we provided those services free to RASA and its members. We firmly believe that in doing so we saved many restaurants from potentially closing and thus also the livelihoods of those employed by them.
What inspires your attorneys?
Our firm is inspired and driven by getting results and serving the interests of our clients in their chosen market by addressing their legal challenges and opportunities so that they can achieve their objectives. Our experienced and passionate attorneys do this by diagnosing problems, crafting solutions, building strategies, simplifying complexities, giving sound advice, and protecting their clients’ interests and giving them peace of mind.
What is next for Mooney Ford?
Notwithstanding the challenges that 2020 brought, Mooney Ford is a growing law firm and we have added professional resources to our litigation department. In addition, Michelle Naidoo, an expert in all matters pertaining to Labour and Employment Law, joined the firm as a partner on 1 November 2020. We also have a lawyer based in Gauteng who is able to offer services under our umbrella to clients in that jurisdiction. In addition, Mooney Ford has also recently seen the arrival of another professional in its property division, further bolstering the already extensive services that we offer to clients in that area of law.
031 304 9881