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A casual glance across the Sandton skyline, where many of SA’s top law firms have taken up residence in toweringly opulent offices in recent years, will have most clients wondering just where their legal fees are going. "We have experienced it. Our clients come in and say: ‘Oh, this is what we pay for,’ " says Joanne McKay, director of client growth at Webber Wentzel. This is saying something, considering the new offices that the likes of Webber Wentzel, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose and Werksmans have moved into are already bang in the centre of the "richest square mile in Africa". Lawyers who spoke to the Financial Mail say being housed in one of Sandton’s towers is all about appearance and prestige, but McKay disagrees. Clients, however, are sceptical. And it doesn’t help when anecdotes of huge legal fees emerge — such as revelations that Jacob Zuma alone racked up a personal legal bill of R15.3m since 2006. In Webber Wentzel’s case, its new 25-floor building in Sandton was built by...

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