The last of our "Top Student" features appears this month. The Class of 2013 graduates appeared in the April 2014 feature. That year there was an increase in the number of men who were top students, although there were still more women in total, and globally women outnumbered men when it came to enrolling to study law, which led Mary Curnock Cook, Chief Executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service in the UK, to say men were becoming a disadvantaged group when it came to university applications.
Private prosecution for environmental crimes has always been a thorny issue in South African Environmental Law. In the recent case of Uzani Environmental Advocacy CC v BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd (CC82/2017)  ZAGPPHC 86 (1 April 2019), the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria found BP Southern Africa (Proprietary) Limited (BP) guilty of contravening the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act (107 of 1998) (NEMA) which require fuel retailers to obtain environmental authorisations prior to commencing any construction of filling stations, which trigger certain listed activities.
In the sale of a business, there is often a transfer of the operational licences to the new owner or operator. In an environmental law context, this may require a transfer of the existing environmental authorisations, water use licences, waste management licences or atmospheric emission licences.
Speaker of the House" was made during a time of uncertainty, waiting for the birth of a new South Africa and with expectations of a new, vibrant parliament of African influences, as opposed to the oppressive staid conservatism of the apartheid government.
The Africa we want" is beginning to be heard echoing across the African continent; this is off the back of the early stages of the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is an integral part of the African Union's (AU) 2063 agenda (https://au.int/en/agenda2063/about.//13 February 2019).
Percentage of partners shrink while BigLaw profits increase
The percentage of equity partners in the nation's top 100 law firms declined to 56% in 2018 (it was 78% in 2000). Average profits per equity partner in these firms were $1.88 million, an increase of 6.5% from the previous year. Average revenue per lawyer was nearly $1 million in 2018. An outsider commented, "In the old days where most firms had collegial partnerships where all you had to do was work long enough and you got into the partnership, what that meant was that some people were being subsidized. As soon as one or two firms decided they weren't going to do that, then everyone basically had to go to that world." - Debra Cassens Weiss May 7
A new study on sleep by Dr Rebecca Robbins, an epidemiologist, and a team of sleep experts at the NYU School of Medicine, have debunked a few myths. They found counting sheep doesn't help, "If 15 minutes pass and you're not getting anywhere, get out of bed and do something 'mindless' like folding socks". Aim for a consistent seven to eight hours sleep a night; five hours won't do. "… sleeping five hours or less consistently, increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences.
These include increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and shorter life expectancy." A nightcap won't cut it either, "Drinking alcoholic beverages before bed is actually linked to low-quality sleep." And hitting the snooze button is going to make you feel even worse than you did when that alarm woke you.
This five-year-on feature includes those universities that participated for the first time in 2014 and without prejudice caught up with some of the graduates. It has been a salutary lesson in how well some people do despite the odds stacked against them, but it has also been something of a let-down to find that of the original 21 students who attained "top student" status from the four "new" universities, only nine could be found. Once again I am amazed that in this technological age some people seem to disappear off the face of the earth: nothing to be found on Google, nothing on LinkedIn; mail delivery failure from email addresses, and their 2013 peers at the universities don't know where they are either.
Johannes (Jan-Len) Smit
The five-year milestone is a pivotal moment in a young attorney's career. At this stage, the distinctive pressures of articles of clerkship, the admission exams, and law firm retention are distant memories. In many cases, these pressures will have given way to three years of experience defined by rapidly increasing levels of professional skill, confidence, independence and maturity. This envisions a future limited only by ambition and the capacity for vast industry. The reality, however, is that the associate-partner track is an unforgiving journey. For some, there will be structural barriers, seemingly impassable. For others, no degree of technical excellence will compensate for under-developed inter-personal and networking skills. By contrast, there are certainly a select few that will speed through the process.
I have a confession to make. When I was brainstorming ideas for this article, I experienced something of a creative block. I struggled to conjure up any insightful ideas and as a result, I found myself reading several articles that were written for this feature in previous years.
I walked through the doors on my first day as a candidate attorney full of ambition and ready to take on the world. I'm sure the same can be said of thousands of other legal graduates entering practice at the time. It felt like all the years of studying had led up to that one moment, where I could officially call myself a lawyer.