Janet founded Cognia Law in 2013 and leads the organisation in providing consulting and legal outsourcing services to global corporations and law firms. Renowned as a legal efficiency strategist, Janet has a varied and distinguished career as a management consultant with Ernst & Young and as a senior executive at Clifford Chance and Integreon and now as founder and CEO of Cognia Law. At Clifford Chance Janet worked as a member of the international law firm Clifford Chance's Global Operations Group leading a change agenda supporting Clifford Chance's efficiency and growth strategy which included the setup of the firm's 380 person shared service centre in Delhi, India. In addition Janet developed the firm's legal efficiency strategy and initiated a programme focused on improving the quality, profitability and efficiency of the delivery of Clifford Chance's legal services. The programme leveraged the principles of Lean Six Sigma and project management into the delivery of legal services. At Integreon, Janet was the Global Head of Legal Process Outsourcing. Based back in South Africa after spending 12 years in Europe, she divides her time between South Africa and the UK. Janet brings the skills of a hands-on-operator and internationally informed business acumen based on diverse corporate and legal sector experience.
Peter’s entrepreneurial passion, experience of large company management and operational capabilities have been integral in establishing Cognia Law. Peter started his career in the financial services industry as a Charted Accountant at Price Waterhouse Coopers, which progressed into an operational management role. This experience includes being Head of Finance and Operations at Old Mutual Direct STEF, and Finance Director and COO at LTD Trade PLC. Thereafter Peter went on to found MediClinic (UK) Ltd, a successful group of private medical clinics. On returning to South Africa, Peter established a business consultancy, Motide Ltd and has been involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures. At Cognia Law, Peter is COO, which includes managing the finance and technology function and ensuring that the Company’s operations are running smoothly. Peter is based in Cape Town.
Mike brings invaluable commercial contracting and outsourcing experience to Cognia Law. Mike was on the Board of IBM Global Services in the UK, Netherlands and Nordics responsible for Outsourcing before joining Accenture as a Senior Partner where he built the outsourcing capability for one of the divisions in EMEA and Latin America. At Cognia Law Mike is in charge of shaping Cognia Law's commercial relationships and business development. In addition Mike draws on his wealth of previous experience to provide consulting support to clients. He is a consummate professional with a keen eye for detail in every brief he undertakes. Mike is based in the UK.
Justin Ridl – Global Head of Legal Services
Justin is a market-leading derivatives and structured finance lawyer who joined Cognia in July 2017 following his role as Head of the Corporate and Investment Banking (“CIB”) Global Markets Legal Group at ABSA Bank Limited (“Absa”), part of the Barclays Africa Group Limited. The team Justin led at Absa was responsible for structuring, negotiating and executing complex global markets banking and finance transactions for one of the largest and most profitable global markets franchises on the African Continent. After qualifying as a lawyer in South Africa, Justin moved to London where he lived and worked for 10 years as a lawyer in positions at the London Stock Exchange, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Ashurst and finally at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein before returning to South Africa to join ABSA. Justin served as a Senior Associate in the Securities and Structured Finance Group at Ashurst, where he was involved as an advisor in a number of structured finance and CDO transactions for large multinational clients. Thereafter he joined Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein as a Vice President in the Credit Derivatives and Securitisation Group. Justin is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in his position as Global Head of Legal Services, will be managing Cognia’s Banking and Finance service delivery teams based in Cape Town and Johannesburg. He will also be spending time in London managing relationships with Cognia’s key Banking and Finance Clients, which include Tier 1 Global Investment Banks and Asset Managers.
Yvonne Lazarowicz - General Counsel and Head of Shared Legal Services
Yvonne completed her law degree in 1998 in England, following her first degree in Economics and Politics. She started her legal career at Clifford Chance, London in 1999 where she trained and qualified as a lawyer. In 2003 Yvonne relocated to Auckland, New Zealand to take up a position with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts. Following her return to London, she lectured at the University of Law in Business Law and Practice and Acquisitions whilst completing a Masters in Law and Development. In 2010, Yvonne moved to South Africa. Since then, Yvonne has worked for Bowman Gilfillan and as legal counsel for English law firms At Cognia Law, Yvonne is General Counsel and Head of Shared Legal Services. She brings with her expertise in her areas of corporate/commercial law and M&A, and a passion for people, law, business and innovation.
Michelle Rothuysen – Senior Consultant
Michelle joined Cognia Law in March 2017 as a Senior Consultant. She completed her Bachelor of Business Sciences degree through the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1994. She has spent the last 20 years working across a range of companies in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Jersey, where her roles have included consulting, interim management, project and programme management and the establishment and running of 2 project portfolio offices. Michelle has incredible drive and pride to get things done and is a catalyst for high performance in teams. Her focus has primarily been in the Financial Services industry, where she has managed projects for Fortune 500’s such as Old Mutual and Standard Chartered Bank and extends to working with start-ups including 20twenty (South Africa’s first online retail bank), FireID (a technology incubator who played a leading role in establishing 2 factor authentication in South Africa) and LTPTrade PLC. Her project experience includes large scale platform and data migrations, business process outsourcing, full life cycle management of new investment product offerings (including managing all process and system build) and the review of various service and product offerings. Michelle spent 3 years with Clifford Chance in London where she was part of the Global Programme Group. Her project and programme management roles at Clifford Chance included the roll out of a global career framework (which received The Lawyers Award for Innovation) and the restructuring of the global business development support function.
Arianne Vanden Berghe – Senior Legal Associate and Legal Delivery Manager
Arianne completed a Masters at Law degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium. She has extensive commercial and financial services experience, with her most recent role as a partner at Albright Verhoeven, where she worked in inhouse consulting in Financial Services with a focus on contract negotiation of a broad range of derivative and structured products, financing transactions and Capital Markets transactions. Prior to that she acted as a Director and Legal Counsel for Global Derivatives, Structured Products and Retail Solutions for Dresdner Kleinwort. She has also worked for Deutsche Bank as a Director and Head of their Structured Products Group, Legal Equities Global Counsel and Global Markets, for Merrill Lynch as Trading Counsel for Global Equity Linked Products, and for Bacob Bank NV (now Dexia NV) as Head of their Legal and Compliance Unit for Financial Markets. Arianne joined Cognia in June 2016 as a member of the company’s senior lawyer alliance network (‘Cognia People’) and in 2017 came on board as the manager of the Skyline team that provides managed legal services to a tier one investment bank client.
Charles Owen – Senior Legal Associate and Legal Delivery Manager
Charles completed his B.Proc degree through the University of the Free State in 1996. He started his legal career at Guthrie Colonnani Attorneys, where he trained and qualified as a lawyer. On completing articles, Charles worked in-house for an independent financial services company before moving to London, where he first worked as an in-house general litigation lawyer for a London Borough council while completing his QLTT. Charles spent the next 6 years working as a Legal Adviser and, subsequently, Principal Legal Adviser for the General Medical Council, where he dealt with a wide range of disciplinary cases, general litigation, appeals and judicial review work. In March 2010, Charles was appointed as a Senior Lawyer in the Dispute Resolution team at Capsticks Solicitors. Charles returned to Cape Town in late 2011 and was appointed as Head of the Medical Malpractice Department at DSC Attorneys. Charles joined the Cognia Law team in 2016, as a Legal Delivery Manager in the Shared Legal Services Team, where as an experienced litigator he specifically heads up Cognia’s Litigation and ADR support services.