New Leadership for Cox Yeats

28 April 2021 |

AFTER A DECADE of steering the firm through a successful period of continuous growth, Michael Jackson has confidently handed over the wheel to partner, Andrew Clark. 

“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. Since my appointment as managing partner in 2011, 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,” said Jackson.

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.” 

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.

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.” 

Andrew Clark joined the firm in 2006 and is head of the maritime law practice.  Clark completed his B.Com LL.B summa cum laude degrees at the University of Natal, Durban and was admitted as an attorney in 1997.  He has extensive experience in maritime law, both in representing cargo interests and their underwriters, and in representing ship owners/charterers and their P&I Clubs.  He deals with claims for cargo loss and damage, disputes arising out of contracts of carriage, marine and non-marine insurance, international trade law and the drafting of commercial agreements. 
He is a member of the South African Maritime Law Association and served on the Executive Committee for eight years between 2002 and 2010.  He is also a member of the Durban Marine Insurance Association. 
Clark is listed in Best Lawyers for his Maritime Law expertise and was independently ranked in Chambers Global 2021 for Maritime Law.

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 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 provincial survey as the top law firm in the province by corporate business.  2021 Saw Cox Yeats once again receiving the Diamond Arrow Award for the top-rated law firm in South Africa.  “We are honoured and humbled to have received this award, and believe we owe this recognition to our clients and the commitment of our professionals and support staff,” says Jackson.  

Furthermore, 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 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. 

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 this fast-changing and challenging world with enthusiasm and excellence, and give clients the best possible legal advantage.




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