Candice Pillay, partner (with award) and associate Ushir Ahir host; awards host broadcaster Leanne Manas (left) and Isobel Rees, Legal Week Events (right) Candice Pillay, partner (with award) and associate Ushir Ahir; with awards host broadcaster Leanne Manas (left) and Isobel Rees, Legal Week Events (right)

Finalists: Afriwise; Baker & McKenzie; Bowmans; DLA Piper; ENSafrica; TTA – Sociedade de Advogados (PLMJ Network); White & Case; Yakha Isizwe Business Law Clinic

Hogan Lovells’ support of the Teddy Bear Clinic – which provides trauma counselling and legal assistance for victims of child abuse in South Africa – earned it the CSR Initiative of the Year award.

The firm volunteered almost 500 hours across two centres in 2015 (a 150% increase on its support a year earlier), spurred by a motivation to see an increase in convictions and prison sentences, and reduce the number of acquittals, while at the same time educating and empowering victims to stand up to abuse and take back control of their lives.

Hogan Lovells helped with two key initiatives at the clinic. The first was a legal review and adaptation of a child protection plan manual that is frequently referenced by social workers across the courts. The second was participating in a 10-part training programme that aims to build trust and confidence among child abuse sufferers and help change their mindsets from victims to champions. The programme is carried out in courtrooms to give the children real court experience and help them become credible witnesses, by teaching them about the legal process and how to cope with stress and fear during and after giving evidence in court.