Odette Geldenhuys, flanked by colleagues, collects the award from host, broadcaster Leanne Manas (left)

Odette Geldenhuys, flanked by colleagues, collects the award from host, broadcaster Leanne Manas (left)

Webber Wentzel’s Odette Geldenhuys bagged the title of Attorney of the Year for her pro bono work at the firm. As the only full-time pro bono attorney at Webber Wentzel’s Cape Town office, she is responsible for the bulk of pro bono cases that come through its door.

Geldenhuys’ previous leadership positions include that of deputy national director of the Legal Resources Centre (South Africa’s oldest public interest law organisation) and as director of access to justice of Legal Aid South Africa.

She has made a significant impact with her pro bono work, having launched probono.org – a clearing house for pro bono work in South Africa – at a time when there was no pro bono culture in the country. Its panel has grown to 330 law firms. Geldenhuys also led the Emoluments Attachment Order case, which won Webber Wentzel the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year award in 2015. This case continues to have a major public interest impact.

“Odette is making a major contribution to the firm’s medium- to long-term strategy to be the pro bono leader in Africa,” said Gavin Fitzmaurice, managing partner in Cape Town.

Click here for further coverage of the African Legal Awards, which were held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on 9 September.