Imagine that you are a lawyer in one of South Africa's tiny platteland towns – Smithfield, for example, where I live. You practise on your own, and though you have an interesting range of cases, it's often hard to manage when something out of the ordinary pops up. How will you know what the courts have said about the issue? How can you advise your client the best strategy to follow?
A"fishery" is defined by the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 as "one or more stock or stocks of fish or any fishing operations based on such stocks which can be treated as a unit for purposes of conservation and management, taking into account geographical, scientific, technical, recreational, economic and other relevant characteristics".
In the previous article "The business of law" (August 2015), I analysed the dichotomy between the interests of the individual practitioner and the law firm. This dichotomy (as in any industry) is an important concept. The interests of both the individual and the firm need to converge; without this, the firm's vision cannot be achieved.
I applied for articles in 1983, to start in January 1984. It was a different world then. There was no internet and no law firm websites, and as a group of fairly uninformed Wits Law School students, we relied on very anecdotal and no doubt incorrect information about the opportunities available to us, as well as using the Hortors directory of law firms to identify our prospective employers and find their contact details. No law firm was running any vacation programmes, nor did there seem to be any visible recruitment efforts on campus.
Social media usage is growing rapidly in South Africa. There are reportedly 11.8 million Facebook users, followed by YouTube with 7.2 million users and Twitter with 6.6 million users. Social media does not come without its risks and, unfortunately, one of the most significant risks is the threat to privacy.
A student of law should follow the simple rule of "take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence" (Charles Dickens). However, there must first be something that requires evidence. The study of law needs to be approached with a plan of attack, with short and long term goals and how these goals will be achieved.
Law has always been a respected profession, and popular shows like Suits have also projected it as a glamorous one. Whether as a result of this or not, in recent years universities have produced an ever increasing number of legal graduates. The legal industry growth has not followed with the global economic downturn and, as a result, securing articles at a top tier law firm has become increasingly competitive.
Personal branding is a crucial part of graduate recruitment. It demonstrates an understanding on the part of a student applicant of what prospective employers look for in the annual sea of applications. These days, online profiles are becoming more prominent in everyday life and many students wonder to what extent their online presence may affect their applications for work.
It is the job of every generation to look at those younger than them, and sigh deeply, saying, "Ah, the young people of today are such a problem." Apparently the first formally recorded incident of this dates back to Julius Caesar's time but it probably happened when Homo Naledi observed the carryings on of Homo Sapiens.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and various other social media platforms have become household names. For many, particularly the younger generation, these platforms form an integral part of life. In fact, it would appear that many cannot operate without constantly keeping up-to-date with the latest posts on social media.
Entering the corporate world straight out of university may seem a bit daunting. The hours are long and the application of legal principles and case law is not the same as that taught in lectures. However, through it all, I would not have chosen any other career path. As such, I hope to share with you some "top tips" that may assist in conquering your journey as a candidate attorney.
Global law firm Baker & McKenzie: Johannesburg, which has been in South Africa for three years, offered a different kind of graduate recruitment programme earlier this year. The firm hosted over 30 university students in its annual vacation programme where participants gained first hand experience by way of a job shadow opportunity. Students were involved in current matters and were assigned tasks relevant to the mentors daily activities and deliverables, providing essential hands-on experience.