In terms of the South African matrimonial property regime, all marriages are concluded in community of property. This is so unless, among other things, a valid antenuptial contract excluding community of property and community of profit and loss has been entered into before a marriage.
The features on past top students are, once complete, always fascinating. To get to that point is usually frustrating as one tries to find all those involved – detective work is required; requests go out then reminders; one cajoles, then nags and finally begs before, sometimes, giving up. How do some people disappear off the face of the earth in this day and age?
Ten years ago, in 2009, my most noteworthy client engagement was to advise the venerable London law firm of Denton Wilde Sapte on its options in finding a suitable U.S. law firm with which to merge. Their subsequent merger with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal gave rise to SNR Denton, which has evolved in due course into the global polycentric behemoth that is Dentons, today. The world in 2009 was a very different place.
Corbin Bernsen played the role of Arnold Becker in the 1980's hit American legal drama series L.A. Law. Becker was a partner in the fictitious Los Angeles-based law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak. A ladies' man, Becker was the quintessential alwaysunprepared, inevitably brilliant divorce lawyer who constantly found himself between dangerous liaisons and courtroom shenanigans. Harvey Specter has nothing on him.
South African law firms generally attract talent from universities and through lateral hires from other firms. More and more we are seeing lawyers leaving one firm to join another. Often they join a similar size firm to the one they leave and, at times, (seemingly for specific reasons) they opt to join smaller boutique firms.
During my time at ENS the heads of department in litigation and competition were women. My work took place mostly in this context and my experience has accordingly been shaped by powerful women. The atmosphere at Penn Law and Wharton is neutral. Students are less focused on ideology and spend most of their energies on landing top jobs.
University of Cape Town
Johannes (Jan-Len) Smit
Jan comments on the route he has taken,"My decision to pursue an LL.M. at a late stage in my career, and almost immediately after I was promoted to director at ENS, was a major turning point in my life. I've since become engaged, got married and made life-long friends and contacts all over the world. I love living in Philadelphia, and I travel frequently to neighbouring New York and Washington D.C. I am exceptionally grateful for the scholarship I received from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in Philadelphia, where I am doing an LL.M. in foreign affairs, and concurrently, a certificate in Business and Law at the Executive Education faculty at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. I have no regrets pursuing this life-long ambition and I look forward to applying my developed understanding of the political and legal levers that dictate developments in sub-Saharan Africa, in private practice, in the future.
University of the Free State
Marieke is a practitioner at Seymore du Toit & Basson. "Practising as an attorney has so many advantages. Due to the constant changes and updates in our law, one never stagnates and we are challenged every day by constantly learning, adapting and solving problems."
"Technology is definitely the way forward. It has a vast impact on any attorneys' practice and almost everything is done electronically these days, which has its advantages, especially in terms of efficiency, but also disadvantages due to the consequent fast working pace."
"The greatest impact on my life has been meeting my fiancé. He has been my rock and has enriched my life since the moment we met."
"Life is what you make of it; therefore always be kind to others, and never start the day without a good cup of coffee!"
University of Johannesburg
Bianca comments, "Becoming a director was always the end goal for me; just when I was staring directorship application in the face, we decided to move to Australia. Although 'bad' timing, I realised reaching that goal is not a race and I have enjoyed a few pit stops along the way!"
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Rebecca is a principal at M|A Legal in Australia and for her, practising as an attorney "presents new and interesting changes as technology and the law changes and develops. However, the most rewarding aspect is making a difference to an individual or being integral in a commercial transaction".
"My experience has taught me that when you arrive as an immigrant; you are never going to tick every box. You need to accept every challenge and give it your all." "Technology and media platforms regularly appear in submitted evidence before court. Technological developments continue to streamline legal practice and improve efficiency, already documents may be filed at court electronically; service may be substituted with email; precedents can be auto-populated."
"The birth of my daughter has had the greatest impact on my life. There is nothing quite like becoming a parent to put dayto- day stresses into perspective. It has added a deeper understanding of private client disputes in a family law context."
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Nura-Lisa took roads "less-travelled". "The greatest challenge has continued to be finding my calling. However, within this, many opportunities have opened. I am grateful to have had the support to pursue them."
University of Pretoria
Lizl is a partner at Goodrickes. She says, "The best aspect of practising as an attorney is meeting people from all walks of life. You can observe human behaviour and the effect choices have on people's lives."
"Technology has impacted our work but the profession as a whole still has a long way to go to completely integrate technology. I would not be able to practise effectively without the use of technology but there is much more I can learn and use."
What has had the greatest impact on her life in the past few years? "I have been fortunate to travel overseas quite a lot. I love seeing how people live and work in other countries; the way in which a person lives (his /her habits, food, culture etc.) in Japan is completely different to Peru and the Netherlands. It intrigues me and only makes me want to travel more."
"Life is about experiences and learning from them, whether good or bad."