The firm's Pro Bono Practice provides free legal services to various organisations and communities.
On 1 March 2003 Webber Wentzel established a Practice to co-ordinate its pro bono work and provide free legal services to a variety of communities. This coincided with the 135th anniversary of the founding of the firm, previously known as Webber Wentzel Bowens, and with the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bowens, which merged with the firm in 1994. The establishment of this Practice demonstrates that our firm is determined to provide its clients and the wider public with the highest level of legal expertise, combined with social sensitivity and responsibility.
The work of the Pro Bono Practice is guided by the recognised need to narrow the divide between the advantaged and disadvantaged members of South African society and the obligation to play a role as a good citizen in promoting the transformative goals of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. It represents Webber Wentzel's commitment to contributing to these processes through equal justice for all.
The Practice provides essential legal services to individuals and communities on issues such as enterprise development, land reform, housing, education, healthcare, children's rights, gender equality and service provision.
The Practice has effective working relationships with a number of NGOs and charitable organisations, which assist Webber Wentzel to identify areas where our pro bono services are most needed and can be of maximum benefit.
Some of our Pro Bono work includes:
Funded by Investec Bank, The Business Place project offers guidance and advice to start-up entrepreneurs on issues relating to the establishment and conduct of small businesses.
Webber Wentzel provides free legal advice at the centre on a weekly basis as part of our support of small- and medium-sized enterprise development and it's role in combating poverty.
Webber Wentzel provides legal services, to individuals and institutions, aimed at securing constitutional equality for women.
We have provided legal assistance to the South African National Aids Council and the South African Business Coalition on HIV-Aids. In addition one of our attorneys regularly attends the ProBono.Org clinic for persons with legal problems arising from HIV-Aids. Many of these are cases concerning labour and employment equity issues.
Webber Wentzel provides services to impoverished people, including the residents of informal settlements in and around Johannesburg. There are 189 known informal settlements in Johannesburg containing more than 209 000 households. There is a critical need for a variety of pro bono legal services across a wide spectrum of issues facing the people living in these areas.
Webber Wentzel provides corporate legal services to land reform beneficiaries to facilitate their development as entrepreneurs and job providers.
Our legal services to non-profit organisations cover the formation and incorporation of such organisations, their registration in terms of the Non-profit Organisations Act, and appropriate exemptions from taxation under the Income Tax Act.
Subsequent to the xenophobic attacks which rocked South Africa in early 2008 ProBono.Org has established a weekly legal clinic where refugees and asylum seekers can obtain legal advice and assistance. We participate in these clinics.