Given this year’s extraordinary circumstances, the annual Johannesburg Pro Bono Awards were held online on 29 October 2020.   It was extremely gratifying to see how many of our legal practitioners and other guests were able to join the event, even though we were not able to meet in person.

In his welcome address, Chair of the Board, Mohamed Randera paid tribute to the volunteer efforts of the many members of the legal fraternity who managed to continue to assist our clients during the lockdown, by consulting with clients by phone or virtually. “In addition, legal education did not stop.

We have seen the attendance and participation of some 500 lawyers in Johannesburg alone.” In addition to the webinars, through the AFSA project over 300 paralegals have received training in various community advice offices countrywide.

We were honoured to have Constitutional Court Justice Leona Theron give the keynote address.  “Pro bono work is intrinsic to our profession and speaks to a genuine desire to make a difference in our community”.

Doing pro bono work is one way of connecting us to the good in law and the good in lawyering, she said. “Doing good has been proven to make us happier and more fulfilled. There is a strong positive association between volunteering, life satisfaction and general health. Pro bono work does not only benefit those who receive the work.

It has a much larger impact. It makes employees feel happier and more engaged. It also builds better lawyers, often creating training opportunities for younger lawyers.”

Justice Theron challenged all the lawyers present to pledge to serve, to pledge to devote themselves to doing whatever they can to ensure that every South African can exercise their right to have access to justice.

There were 15 categories of awards:


Finalist: Stephanie Jacobs – Jacobs Attorneys

Winner: Naledi Motsiri – Werksmans

Deceased Estates

Finalist: Sarah Jane Goldman – Lawtons Africa

Winner: Mahlape Mohonoe


Finalist: Elsie Mokoena

Winner: Katekani Mashamba


Finalist: Chrysi Kripotos

Winner: JD van der Merwe – Bowmans

Family Law

Winner: Marinus Labuschagne – MCV Inc.

Labour Law

Finalist: Manager Gumbo – K M Legal Consultants

Winner: Naledi Motsiri – Werksmans

Community Advice Office Award

Winner: Rita Tladi – WATLA (Women and the Law)

SMME Award

Winner: Sushila Dhever – Fasken


Winner: Brenda Rangata – Maponya Attorneys

Child Law

Finalist: Roeline Goosen

Winner: Kruger Engelbrecht

Large Firm

Finalist: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Winner: Fasken

Medium Firm

Winner: Klopper Jonker Attorneys

Small Firm

Finalist: Ceri von Ludwig Attorneys

Winner: Jacobs Attorneys

Advocate Award

Finalist: Pule Tshweu

Winner: Nkabane Zwane

Outstanding Student at a University Law Clinic

Finalist: Lara Dreyer – University of Pretoria

Winner: Heinz Hartzenberg – University of the Western Cape

There were also three Special Mentions:

Fasken was acknowledged for their dedicated work over the years at the NISAA and FAMSA legal clinics in Soweto.

Bowmans was given a special mention for their work at the domestic violence help desk at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court.

And Jazz Vilakazi for his availability to assist ProBono.Org clients, often at short notice.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, many of whom are second and third-time winners, which demonstrates consistence in their caring for the less fortunate.

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