Intellectual property law specialist Nolwazi Gcaba has been elected chairperson of the partnership of Spoor & Fisher. She is the first woman to be elected to this position in the history of the firm, and is also the first black woman to be elected as chairperson of a large law firm in South Africa. She takes over the position from previous incumbent Charles Webster, who has more than 25 years’ experience in litigation and served as chairperson of the partnership from 2008 to 2011.
“Gender and affirmative action are both transformation issues which have been embraced by Spoor & Fisher,” says Gcaba. “My appointment is a reflection of how forward-thinking the firm is despite the legal profession being male dominated. “I will focus my energies on ongoing transformation and the environmental facets of the sustainability agenda,” Gcaba says. “In today’s world, every company has to have a dynamic strategy for both of these issues. That is where I hope my leadership has the strongest impact.”
Gcaba joined Spoor & Fisher in 1999. She has an LLB from the University of Natal and served her articles at intellectual property law firm John & Kernick. The firm merged with Bowman Gilfillan and became the IP department of Bowman Gilfillan. The latter was recently acquired by Adams & Adams.
Her fields of practice include domestic and international trade mark registration, searches, trade mark litigation, unlawful competition, passing off, company name objections and domain name disputes. Her area of specialisation is in trade practices and related litigation.
“The area of intellectual property in which Spoor & Fisher specialises has historically been dominated by a very few white firms,” Gcaba adds. “It is therefore important for us to work hard at eliminating prejudice and creating a culture of inclusive diversity, with particular focus on bringing women and the historically disadvantaged into the firm.”
Gcaba is a Fellow of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law, a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property Rights. She served as a member of the Council of the Institute of Intellectual Property Lawyers. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Transnet.
Christel Botha, Spoor & Fisher, Tel 012 676 1186 email@example.com
Monica Reuben, Predictive Communications, Tel 011 452 2923, firstname.lastname@example.org