SA attorneys to benefit from Irish partnership

June 1st, 2012
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By Nomfundo Manyathi

The Law Society of South Africa’s Legal Education and Development (LEAD) division, in conjunction with Irish Rule of Law International and Irish Aid, is facilitating an intensive commercial law training programme for attorneys from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The overall objective of the programme is to use commercial law as a tool in establishing sustainable economic development among historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. The programme began with a six-day preliminary course in commercial law, which was held from 16 April at LEAD in Pretoria.

The preliminary course is one of three legs of the training. The programme has been designed to ensure that participating attorneys gain a greater understanding of the theory and practice of commercial law. It is made up of –

  • a three-day advanced commercial law course and commercial law drafting course to be held in July 2012 at LEAD;
  • a one-year corporate law certificate programme at the University of South Africa; and
  • a mentorship programme, which includes participants being assessed and mentored for a minimum of 20 to 25 hours by experienced South African and Irish commercial law attorneys.

Twenty attorneys were selected for the programme and it is anticipated that by the end of the programme approximately eight attorneys will be placed with large commercial law firms in Ireland and South Africa. Director of Irish Rule of Law International Michael Irvine said that it was unfortunate that it was difficult to find placements for all 20 participants, adding that currently there were five confirmed placements and that they were hoping to secure three more. Mr Irvine said that the placements would start in August and would run for three months.

Mr Irvine said that the placements would not be remunerated, but would assist participants to obtain the knowledge necessary to continue advancing in their careers. He added that there was, however, no guarantee of employment at the particular firms where the attorneys were placed.

Irish Rule of Law International is a project-orientated charity established by the Law Society of Ireland and the Bar Council of Ireland. Its aim is to enhance the rule of law in the developing world. Irish Aid is the government of Ireland’s programme of assistance for developing countries.

Days Ramaila from Sandton law firm DMS Attorneys, who spoke on behalf of the programme participants, expressed gratitude to all involved in the programme, saying that it was an ‘exhilarating adventure of learning’ because most of the participants were not familiar with the field of commercial law. He said that the participants were grateful for the effort put in and the passion demonstrated during the presentation of the preliminary course. He said: ‘It was informative and enlightening.’

Nomfundo Manyathi, nomfundo@derebus.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2012 (June) DR 11.