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Article by listed attorney: Fawzia Khan

In pursuance of their chosen professions, a large number of the matriculants of 2013 are about to start the next chapter of their academic life attending universities, techikons, colleges or other tertiary institutions. If anyone were interested in pursuing a career in law, they would be required to not only have passion for law, but to also have a critical and enquiring mind and be able to seek and offer to their clients, the most appropriate remedy to a legal problem within a reasonable time. The ability to properly and effectively communicate, both orally and in written form, is considered a crucial component in the makings of a good lawyer. Language proficiency is thus an important aspect in the life of a aspirant lawyer.

An LLB degree at a recognized university is the academic requirement for law. This degree will enable a graduate to qualify as an attorney or an advocate. However these are not the only two career options available. A career as a magistrate, prosecutor, lecturer, legal advisor, researcher, lobbyist, various governmental and non governmental positions, would also be options to consider. [Judges are drawn from the ranks of practising advocates or attorneys].

The laws relating to admission as attorneys and advocates are under review and will most likely change in the foreseeable future. However until such time as the new laws come into effect, the requirements for admission into the profession are explained below. Once the LLB degree is completed, candidates can choose either to be admitted as attorneys or advocates. Those law graduates wanting to become advocates and be part of the Bar Association, would be required to serve pupilage with a practicing advocate and then write the admission examination for advocates. Those wanting to be admitted as attorneys may choose either to attend the Practical Legal Training, commonly referred to PLT, run by the School for Legal Practice, for a period of six months or commence serving articles with a law firm for a period of two years.

PLT teaches budding attorneys the practical aspects of those legal principles they studied in their LLB degree, whilst serving articles at a law firm, allows a candidate attorney an opportunity to see how the practical lessons learnt at PLT, work in the real world. All candidate attorneys are required to write and pass the Attorneys Admission Board examination. These examinations are usually scheduled twice a year. Thereafter the candidate attorney will require a certificate from the Law Society and the High Court that a candidate is considered a fit and proper person for admission as an attorney.

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