Plaxedes joined Herbert Smith Freehills in 2017 when the Johannesburg Alternative Legal Services (ALT) practice group was launched. ALT Johannesburg forms part of a market-leading, innovative global team of 350 lawyers, technologists and legal analysts operating across 11 locations. Plaxedes, a qualified lawyer, practices as a Disputes Manager specialising in managing complex document reviews, on large international and local matters, She also manages the International Legal Development Programme (ILDP), which offers high-performing legal graduates the opportunity to gain work experience as a Legal Analyst through a structured learning and development programme. During the ILDP recruitment process and in day-to-day interactions, she encourages the team to be mindful of racial, cultural and gender diversity. She was instrumental in establishing the ALT Johannesburg, Social, Diversity, CSR and Mental Health, and Awareness committees. Personally, Plaxedes founded Pink Power, a breast cancer awareness initiative to raise funds for patients who cannot afford treatment.
Plaxedes is proud to work in both a firm and practice group that places a great emphasis on diversity, inclusivity and equality in the workplace. Being in the management team has enabled her to have an active role in establishing committees and networks that strive to make the practice group more welcoming and inclusive, not only for women but for all employees. This includes the establishment of the ALT Johannesburg Diversity Committee and the ALT Johannesburg Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. Plaxedes strives to foster an inclusive business culture by championing individual uniqueness. As a member of the interview panel for her team, Plaxedes is mindful of unconscious biases and is always sure to circumvent them. Recently, she was appointed to the firm’s pro-bono committee. Externally, Plaxedes is a powerful advocate for breast cancer awareness and treatment funding. She recently hosted a fitness day, Pink Power, to raise funds for a breast cancer patient who could not afford treatment.
In South Africa particularly, given its racial history and patriarchal culture, it is extra-ordinarily difficult for a black woman to be in a senior management role. Plaxedes Makura, through hard work and an unparalleled perseverance, has risen through the ranks of the South African legal fraternity to be appointed as the most senior lawyer in the Johannesburg ALT practice group at the global law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (Johannesburg). She runs a department of approximately 18 legal analysts, and deals with work that is cross-border, large-scale and commercially complex. . She encourages diversity of all types, has an open-minded and respectful approach to her team and their work style. She is a remarkable woman with a work-ethic next to none, who always encourages her team to reveal the strengths of their nature regardless of the stresses of the job.