Hogan Lovells to house unique pro bono law clinic in new Sandton office

Johannesburg, 16 October – Global Law firm Hogan Lovells will become the only law firm in South Africa to permanently house an internal pro bono law clinic following the move to its new office building at 140 West Street in Sandton.

With a strong market reputation for its corporate; infrastructure, energy, resources and projects; and banking and finance practices, the firm has also been recognised for its commitment to pro bono work.

Last year Hogan Lovells won the CSR Initiative of the Year Award at the African Legal Awards for its work with the Teddy Bear Foundation which assists children who have been the victims of sexual crimes in preparing to give evidence in court against their perpetrators. The Johannesburg team has also received awards for its success in numerous police brutality cases. It has also partnered with Redpeg to roll out training to the SAPS on the Sexual Offences Act and their responsibilities to victims as well as on LGBTI rights and legislation.

Located across from the Sandton Gautrain Station and taxi rank, the clinic is easily accessible by commuters and will serve as a walk-in legal advice centre. “This is a pilot project for Hogan Lovells and our aim is to immediately give people the legal advice they need and take on matters we have the capacity to assist with. Where we do not have capacity, we will refer people to a relevant organisation or government department that can assist.” says Candice Pillay, pro bono partner at Hogan Lovells, who will oversee the running of the clinic. 

The firm has a dedicated pro bono team of admitted attorneys and candidate attorneys who will staff the clinic and other staff members will also volunteer their time. The clinic will initially run from 07:00 to 12:00 on week days and will offer assistance or referrals on any kind of legal matter. Pillay says the project marks a new chapter for the pro bono practice: "Our focus has been to make an impact by empowering women and girls and our award winning work in this field has grown over the years. Until now we have always partnered with other organisations in South Africa, but the clinic will give people direct access to us instead of having to go through intermediaries.” 

May-Elaine Thomson, CEO of Hogan Lovells South Africa, sees the clinic as an exciting and much needed facility that supports the Africa practice's four pillared strategy of understanding, operating, investing in and respecting Africa: “We started our pro bono work with a vision to help the poor and vulnerable in society. As lawyers we have a responsibility to society to give back the knowledge of the law that we have been privileged to gain.” 

The new building, which is environmentally friendly, will provide an arbitration room and more client meeting facilities, making it easier for our frequent international guests to conduct business. The ultramodern technology and video conferencing facilities have been designed to increase productivity and client engagement. The new building will also see the expansion of the firm’s Global Business Services Centre, which provides support services to Hogan Lovells globally. Thomson says the firm’s move to West Street will also allow it to better accommodate its growing offering of legal services. “Since 2014 we have focused on expanding across a wide range of sectors including competition, employment, real estate, tax, banking and finance as well as business rescue and insolvency. To me, the new building is the physical embodiment of the Hogan Lovells African growth trajectory which we are confident will continue as the firm expands its global reach.”

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