Happenings at the Cape Town Candidate Attorney Association

September 1st, 2017

By Jody Blount

2017 sees the Cape Town Candidates Attorney Association (CTCAA) go into its sixth year of serving the junior practitioners of the legal fraternity in the greater Cape Town area.

The CTCAA has shown a growing influence in the legal industry with its particular focus on addressing various issues facing candidate attorneys (CAs) and assisting them with the first practical hurdle of their formal legal careers, as well as participating in social outreach work.

This year’s executive committee boasts a collection of CAs from a diverse range of firms, all with very different backgrounds. While only constituted of five permanent executive members, there is no shortage of enthusiasm to tackle this year’s agenda head on. The current committee consists of:

  • Jody Blount (chairperson);
  • Hondo Swartz (deputy chairperson and treasurer);
  • Jenipher Mudenda (executive member);
  • Kyle Abrahams (compliance officer); and
  • Marieka Nel (general secretary).

From its inception, the CTCAA has taken the lead in a number of social outreach initiatives. Last year the CTCAA put its efforts into expanding its social involvement. This culminated in being able to present its chosen charity, The Homestead, a charitable trust aimed at getting children off the streets of Cape Town, with a large cash donation to be put towards furthering its own objectives. The CTCAA, in partnership with BMW Auto Atlantic, hosted a fun day for the enjoyment of the children participating in The Homestead’s programme on Mandela Day 2016.

The CTCAA also hosted and facilitated a number of events in partnership with secondary school institutions, which saw learners taking part in various educational days, career and lifestyle building activities, as well as accompanying CAs to work in the CTCAA’s annual ‘take a child to a law firm day’ to give the prospective future attorneys their very first experience of life in the legal profession. (See news ‘Cape Town Candidate Attorneys Association update’ 2016 (Sept) DR 10.)

This year’s ‘take a child to a law firm day’, was held on 25 May. The CTCAA, in partnership with Maitland High School, Schneider Galloon Reef & Co Attorneys, Chris Fink Attorneys, Cliff Dekker Hofmeyr, DSC Attorneys, Webber Wentzel, Ashersons Attorneys, Bailey Haynes Inc, RM Brown Attorneys, Strauss Daly and Old Mutual Legal was enjoyed by learners and a huge success. The programme saw learners enjoy a full day in a law firm experiencing the day-to-day life of a legal professional.

  • Should your firm wish to participate in next year’s event do not hesitate to make contact with the association in order to confirm your firm’s inclusion.

The CTCAA additionally attempts to foster interaction between CAs of various practices in the greater Cape Town area through hosting both informal and formal meets for the purposes of networking, as well as engaging with other young legal minds. This year has already seen two events of this kind, one of them being the CTCAA’s much anticipated Pub Quiz night, which proved to be a hotly contested evening.

Without negating its obligation to further its social outreach objectives, the executive committee has decided to put its focus on addressing the various industry based issues faced by CAs entering the legal environment, who in many instances, find themselves in positions of weaker bargaining power, as well as addressing possible issues that law firms may experience when and after hiring their new inductees. In doing so, the CTCAA hopes to add to a more harmonious and effective system of candidacy. If CAs or law firms have any genuine concerns, which they would like to address to the CTCAA for further investigation, e-mail the CTCAA at thectcaa@gmail.com.

In 2017 the CTCAA further aims to grow its network of influence in order to build on the success of the past years by assisting a greater number of CAs, as well as charitable causes in line with its social objectives. This can only be done by the CTCAA growing its partnerships with other stakeholders, specifically those within the legal industry.

The CTCAA held its flagship event, the Young Professionals Evening on  7 September. This event was aimed at bringing working professionals, not limited to CAs, together for a relaxed evening of networking and entertainment. The annual event was held with the support of BMW Auto Atlantic and served as an opportunity for CAs new to the profession to branch out and make useful connections.

On 23 September the CTCAA will host its annual education/career training day in partnership with Maitland High School. This day has been created in order to assist Grade 11 learners at the school prepare for upcoming decisions that they have to make with regard to university and ultimately their future careers by facilitating a day of workshopping with a number of experienced professionals from a wide array of fields and allowing them to share their personal experience of what it takes to reach the goals the students aspire to. The details of the event can be found on the CTCAA website.

To close off the year, the CTCAA will be hosting a formal black-tie event, the details of which will be announced closer to the time. The CTCAA would at this time like to extend an open invitation to all who would like to get involved or just learn a little bit more about what the association does and what has been  achieved in the year to date.

At this time, the CTCAA is the only association of CAs in South Africa (SA). As such we do extend our assistance, where we can, to candidates not from the greater Cape Town area. We do, however, recommend that CAs in other jurisdiction of the country come together in the achievement of our common aim to continually grow the legal system of SA. The CTCAA would be glad to assist any person hoping to start a similar association in their area of practice and we encourage anyone hoping to do so to make contact with us.

 Jody Blount is a candidate attorney and chairperson of the CTCAA.

 This article was first published in De Rebus in 2017 (Sept) DR 15.