David Hertz, Chairman, Werksmans

I read the outpouring of grief on the Rob Friends Group yesterday evening and can only, but echo, the sentiments expressed.

I address you not only personally but on behalf of the entire Werksmans family.

The last time that I saw a picture of Rob was when several of my partners, and several of his, joined tables for drinks one evening and informed me that our firms had merged. That speaks to the nature of our special relationship both personally and within the legal space.

I spoke to a mutual friend yesterday and informed him that after more than 30 years of practice, it was the exception rather than the rule to establish close friendships with colleagues at other firms. Rob was the exception. He was exceptional in so many ways.

When I was elected chairman of Werksmans, I recognised that establishing relationships with my counterparts at other larger firms was appropriate and necessary. While most of the relationships forged, were, understandably, professional, cordial and collegial, mine with Rob was different. He welcomed me into his inner and friendship circle almost instantaneously and had a transparency and genuineness about him that made him unique.

His passing has left a huge gap in my life, within the legal fraternity and, it goes without saying, within his family, friends and friendship circle both within Werksmans and Bowmans.

We have, measured objectively, undoubtedly lost a giant of the legal profession but I have lost a friend.

On behalf of the entire Werksmans family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to you all on your loss.