01 April 2021 | KZN Business Sense |
After a decade of steering the firm through a successful period of continuous growth, Michael Jackson has confidently handed over the wheel.
Jackson joined Cox Yeats as a candidate attorney in January 1988. His early career, he says, was based on a lot of hard work and some luck. In addition, Jackson said that he was fortunate to work with some good people. “I was privileged to work closely with Graham Cox (who at that time was undoubtedly the best lawyer in Durban) and with Jeremy Yeats.”
A highlight of his career was making partner in 1990, after only one year out of articles. From the outset, Jackson said that he was exposed to large clients and important matters. A big opportunity arose when Jeremy Yeats fell ill, and Jackson took over the work that he handled for Richards Bay Minerals and Tongaat Hulett on land, the environment, and minerals. It was through this exposure that he then specialised in natural resource law, which was something that Jackson he had not considered at university, where he had focused on tax, finance and corporate law. He was appointed managing partner in 2011.
Jackson commented, “For some time, I have indicated that I would be resigning as managing partner during the first part of this financial year. I have always set ten years as the limit and the ten years is up in June. I have achieved all that I sought to do in this role and it is now time for new ideas, fresh energy and a new vision.”
As such, Cox Yeats is delighted to advise that Andrew Clark has agreed to accept the appointment as the firm’s new managing partner. “Importantly, he has the unanimous support of all the partners. I am confident that, under his leadership, the firm will continue to grow and prosper,” says Jackson who will still be on hand to provide foundational support.
“I intend working, health permitting, for many years to come. I will provide Andrew with whatever support is required, during this transition period, and will continue to be involved in firm finances. I look forward to new and different challenges going forward.”
Commenting on his appointment, Andrew Clark said, “I am very excited about the new challenge of being the firm’s managing partner. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a fantastic group of partners, all of whom are excellent lawyers in their own right, and a core group of senior partners who will continue to play an important role in both the management and strategic direction of the firm going forward. Our intention is to take the firm from strength to strength.”
Clark added, “Michael’s role in guiding the firm over this period and remaining one of the best commercial attorneys in the country cannot be underestimated.”
Over the ten years of Jackson’s leadership, Cox Yeats has constantly been rated one of South Africa’s top law firms in the annual PMR.africa national survey. In 2020, despite the difficulties faced in responding to Covid-19 the firm was awarded a Diamond Arrow Award, for the fourth consecutive year, as the top-rated law firm in South Africa in the Medium-Sized Law Firms category.
The firm was also awarded a Diamond Arrow Award in the PMR.africa provincial survey as the top law firm in the province by corporate business. Cox Yeats is honoured and humbled to have received this award, and believes it owes this recognition to its clients and the commitment of its professionals and support staff.
The firm is proud of the fact that it continues to attract and retain the top talents as they enter the profession. January 2021 brought about the appointment of eight new professionals. This steady growth in skills and expertise is necessary to provide clients with the level of services needed. Being part of a firm where every individual is encouraged to reach their potential is one of Cox Yeats’ most appealing offerings.
It is therefore unsurprising that ten of the firm’s senior attorneys were ranked by the legal publication Best Lawyers as leaders in their fields, which is a compelling indication of the high calibre of legal professionals who are part of this growing firm.
The principles of hard work and commitment – coupled with young and energetic attorneys who pride themselves on their individuality, innovation and competitiveness; characteristics that are tempered by the experience of long-standing professionals – will enable Cox Yeats to embrace our fastchanging and challenging world with enthusiasm and excellence, and give its clients the best possible legal advantage.
Cox Yeats has a clear and compelling purpose: “To make a positive difference in this world through consistently being the most dynamic and innovative law firm that offers highly personalised expertise.”
This purpose is apparent in the firm’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Cox Yeats has continued to protect and care for its people – its greatest assets – while providing a seamless service to clients. During 2020 and now in 2021 the firm has been working remotely, with its professionals on call when required. The firm is determined to remain agile in the face of adversity to ensure it continues to deliver a personalised and expert service to its clients