Graduate Jobs in Law, South Africa
Finding a graduate job in Law in South Africa takes time and effort, but the benefits far outweigh the time (and cost) involved.
How to become a qualified attorney
A career in Law starts by obtaining a degree at university, as The Qualification of Legal Practitioners Amendment Act of 1997 confirms that an LLB Law Degree is required to practice law in South Africa. Candidates can either opt to study a straight LLB Law Degree (usually 4 years), or by completing a BComm Law Degree, followed by an LLB Law Degree (usually 5 years). Once your undergraduate studies have been completed, and in order to become a qualified Attorney, you will need to work at a law firm and serve as a Candidate Attorney for a period of 2 years while also attending law school on a part-time basis. Alternatively, you may wish to attend law school full-time, which will shorten this period to just 1 year. Once you have completed your Practical Legal Training (PLT) at law school, your will be required to take your board exams and only after that time can you apply to be admitted as an attorney.
Finding a graduate job in Law
So, how do you go about finding somewhere to complete your time as a Candidate Attorney before being able to qualify as a lawyer? There are specific skills that employers are looking for when hiring Candidate Attorney’s into their firm. Some of these include; commercial awareness, excellent communication skills, a strong sense of professional ethics, and of course problem solving skills. It is also beneficial to obtain some work experience in the legal sector before applying for a graduate job in law. Work experience may be in the form of vacation placements, visits to law firms, volunteering to ‘clerk’ at a law firm, and undertaking pro-bono work. It is always beneficial to get as much work experience as possible when seeking a Graduate Job in Law, as employers want to see that you have experience working in that specific field before they will recruit you.
What will I do as a Candidate Attorney?
Once you have been admitted as a Candidate Attorney, you can expect to spend your time rotating across departments within the firm and being exposed to other lawyers and partners who will show you the ropes. It is important to leave a good impression with the people you meet during your time as a Candidate Attorney, as there is a good chance the firm will offer you a position as an Associate once you have qualified as long as you have proven that you are a valuable member of the firm.