Johannesburg (South Africa) – On October 29, 2020 the annual ProBono.Org Awards were held virtually to acknowledge and celebrate the role played by legal practitioners and others in promoting the principles contained in the South African Constitution through undertaking pro bono legal work.
Fasken is thrilled to announce that the Johannesburg office won the “Large Law Firm” and “SMMe” awards as well as receiving special recognition for Gender Based Violence legal work undertaken.
The “Large Law Firm” award recognises the overall pro bono contribution by all of the Johannesburg lawyers. This award’s criteria takes into consideration the types of matters undertaken by the Fasken lawyers, the complexity of the matters, client service feedback, NGO feedback, the range of pro bono projects, the turn-around time in resolving a matter; and feedback from pro bono counsel who work with the firm. The collaboration across the Firm by the associates has been a highlight in the Firm’s endeavour for the success of our clients.
Additionally the Firm took home the newly introduced “SMMe” award. This award is a new category created to encourage enterprise development. Fasken is the only firm offering pro bono services to entrepreneurs, in partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UJCfe); as well as pairing young lawyers with growing businesses. The project was recognised for its empowerment potential. Partnerships with various SASSETA’s and Foundations were established to encourage and promote entrepreneurship.
This project stood out because it promotes sustainable economic growth by providing high-end services to start-ups that would not initially be able to afford such services. The service Fasken provides is assisting the University and Foundations with ensuring that the businesses receiving training from the University, and funding from the Foundations; are able to get off the ground and become profitable. We provide basic training on legal contracts, business structures, and governance issues to grass roots start-ups. The impact of the project has in some instances resulted in job creation.
The Firm is also proud to have been recognised under the banner of “Special Recognition” for Gender Based Violence work undertaken. The firm has had many success stories, including assisting clients with obtaining protection orders, and enforcing protection orders, ensuring matters are criminally prosecuted; removing women and children from abusive situations and placing them at places of safety; obtaining maintenance orders, and social grants. Additionally, the firm partners with NGO’s that train women on basic computer, administrative and beading skills so they can either obtain employment or become self-employed and leave abusive relationships.
Pro Bono head and partner Sushila Dhever and associate Andricia Hinkemann are very active in the lower courts representing women needing pro bono legal support. In addition to this the team train, social workers, community centre advice office workers, communities, women in shelters, learners in the townships, paralegals in the rural areas and educators on Gender Based Violence and Children’s Rights.
Probono.org is a dynamic NGO that works with the private legal profession to provide pro bono legal services to the poor. We harness the enormous skill, might and strength of the South African private legal fraternity to cases and clients that we identify. Our existence is a response to the lack of access to justice for people in South African who are unable to pay for their own private legal representation. Section 34 of our Constitution, giving everyone the right to have any dispute resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court, or… another independent and impartial tribunal or forum, has no meaning whatsoever, if a person is unable to afford representation. ProBono.Org has as its goal, the creation of sufficient free legal representation for all who need it.
Fasken is a leading international law firm with more than 750 lawyers and 10 offices on four continents. Clients rely on us for practical, innovative and cost-effective legal services. We solve the most complex business and litigation challenges, providing exceptional value. For additional information, please visit the Firm’s website at fasken.com.