Law Society of South Africa in transition

February 1st, 2019
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By Barbara Whittle

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) is on a three-year trajectory to realign its functions to those of a membership-based professional association. The LSSA’s constitution was amended at the end of October 2018 outlining its structure and commitments. The amended constitution can be viewed on the LSSA website at www.LSSA.org.za under the ‘About us’ then ‘This is the LSSA’ tabs.

The LSSA has a long-term commitment to –

  • legal education;
  • an independent profession;
  • the public interest;
  • the rule of law; and
  • protect, promote, support and train legal practitioners and candidate legal practitioners.

LSSA’s legal education functions: Core and mandatory in terms of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014

Practical vocational training (PVT) before admission to practice and currently carried out by the LSSA –

PVT through nine attendance Centres of the School for Legal Practice –

  • Bloemfontein (night school);
  • Cape Town (day and night school);
  • Durban (day and night school);
  • East London (day and night school);
  • Johannesburg (day and night school);
  • Polokwane (day and night school);
  • Port Elizabeth (night school);
  • Potchefstroom (night school); and
  • Pretoria (day and night school).

Including, Distance training school in cooperation with Unisa.

PVT takes place on a part-time basis (five-weeks) in a programme of structured course work for candidate legal practitioners.

Practice management training (PMT) must be completed within a specific time to continue to practise for one’s account with a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) (currently one-year from the date of receipt of the first FFC, or within such further period as the Legal Practice Council (LPC) may approve).

Post professional development (PPD) to maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills to deliver a professional service to clients and the community. This ensues the practitioner has the relevant knowledge and expertise to practise in the interests of the public. Currently provided by the LSSA through seminars, workshops, webinars, e-learning and certificate courses for specialisation (some of these in conjunction with universities).

The above mandatory programmes will, by necessity, continue irrespective of whether they are housed within the LSSA or not.

The LSSA focuses on

  • supporting the development of the administration of justice;
  • the interests of the profession;
  • supporting legal practitioners;
  • enhancing of professional standards;
  • the public interest;
  • research;
  • transformation/empowerment initiatives; and
  • international liaison.

The Professional Affairs department administers the LSSA’s specialist committees that analyse legislation and policy liaise with stakeholders and lobby Parliament for changes in the interest of the profession and the public.

The LSSA publishes De Rebus, the mouthpiece of the profession, which is distributed to all attorneys and candidate attorneys to inform and educate. De Rebus has functionality for PPD.

Barbara Whittle, Communication Manager, Law Society of South Africa, barbara@lssa.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2019 (Jan/Feb) DR 14.

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