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Article by listed attorney: Fawzia Khan

To those aspirant lawyers, especially those learners in matric who will need to start approaching the universities for admission in 2018, we look at some factors when considering law as a career option. An LLB degree at a recognized university remains one of the most popular choices of law degrees for law students.

In South Africa, the term lawyer loosely also includes attorneys, advocates or legal advisors who work in the public sector as judges, magistrates, state attorneys, prosecutors, in private practice servicing both the corporate and non corporate clients, as well as those employed in various non-government organizations or lobby groups. A career in law can be immensely rewarding and offer job satisfaction. This is especially so when you are able to provide the client with a solution in an expeditious and cost effective manner. However it also has its drawbacks, the biggest of which must be the high levels of stress which lawyers work under. Burning the proverbial midnight oil is not restricted to tests and exams during your undergraduate or even post-graduate years as a law student, but becomes almost a part of your daily routine in your professional life.

It’s expected that as a lawyer you should know the law (especially in the area you may choose in practice in), but there are other, equally important factors, which an aspirant lawyer should take cognizance of. Firstly it’s a given that the legal landscape is an ever evolving system and so it becomes necessary for lawyers to constantly keep abreast of changing statutory laws and recent court rulings, understand any new concepts, for example in the field of technology and how the law deals with those concepts, do proper research and so on. Secondly litigation attorneys are always mindful of deadlines and the dire consequences should a law firm not deliver or serve pleadings within the prescribed time periods. Thus a person who wants to make a career in civil litigation or even the entire spectrum of non litigious areas of practice including commercial or corporate law, estates, property law conveyancing, trade mark and patents, must have the ability to work well under pressure.

Being able to think critically and apply the law whilst offering the client the most appropriate remedy to a legal problem will ensure that not only are your client needs met but that he or she will recommend others to your law firm. Off-course the ability to properly and effectively communicate both orally and in writing is considered a crucial component in the makings of a good lawyer. These are just some of the factors which will be needed to make a career in law worthwhile and rewarding.

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