Tshepo Shabangu, Partner at intellectual property specialist law firm Spoor & Fisher, has been crowned the Law Professional of the Year for the 2019/2020 period. The accolade was granted by the SA Professional Services Awards sponsored by Sanlam and W. Consulting.

Professionals from various organisations were set to gather at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ball Room on the evening of 19 March 2020 to honour the best amongst them. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAPSA Awards were indefinitely postponed. The organisers of the event have subsequently undertaken to progressively announce the winners for the 2019/2020 edition prior to hosting a gathering for all finalists and guests. This marks the fifth edition of the Awards following a rigorous process of determining winners through strict criteria.

Janette Minnaar, the chair of the adjudication panel explained how the winners were determined.

“Individuals were judged based on a host of attributes including demonstration of leadership skills, changing of paradigms and innovation within the bounds of available resources. We also conferred a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards to deserving recipients who had served their professions faithfully for many years,” said Minnaar.

The firm awards were based on the following criteria – business growth, customer service, technical excellence, contribution to the community, contribution to the profession, transformation record and commitment to ethics and professionalism. The criteria were not equally weighted, a strong showing in one category was sufficient to put the firm above the rest.

Ms Shabangu is a qualified attorney, trade mark practitioner and notary public.  She specializes in local and international selection, clearance and registration of trade marks, due diligence investigations and Intellectual Property (“IP”) portfolio management.

She is a partner and immediate past chairperson of the century old boutique IP firm, Spoor & Fisher.  She is the past president of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) and sat on the Council of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP), the regional body regulating attorneys in South Africa.

“Tshepo is arguably a great asset to both the company she works for and the profession to which she belongs,”the judges remarked. “We noted her contribution to the profession as the past president of SAIIPL and sitting on the Council of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP), the regional body regulating attorneys in South Africa. She is an outstanding example for women in the legal profession having been recognised internationally by WIPR in their inaugural listing of influential women in IP. Her leadership philosophy is collaborative yet bold and sensible, ‘to respectfully listen to dissenting views, and in certain instances, have the courage to stand alone on some issues’”

Watch Tshepo Shabangu’s acceptance speech below: