The Survivor’s Guide for Candidate Attorneys

December 1st, 2013

By Bhauna Hansjee & Fahreen Kader

Cape Town: Juta

(2013) 2nd edition

Price: R 325 (incl VAT)

226 pages (soft cover)

The Survivor’s Guide for Candidate Attorneys is a book aimed at guiding the lost and confused candidate attorneys (CAs) who have just entered into the working environment of the legal profession. The title grabbed my attention since, as a candidate attorney, I have found that the legal profession is not as glamorous as portrayed by television dramas. The book gives CAs the assurance that they are still sane and it can offer guidance in difficult situations.

It offers advice on situations that CAs may find overwhelming or in which they may be unsure of what to do, how to do it, and where to start. This guide is user-friendly as it offers easy language, step-by-step guidance on tasks a CA may be faced with, and useful forms, checklists and contact information in respect of various ombudsmen and other important bodies. Another plus factor is that one is given tips by the authors on how to handle situations that are common in practice for CAs.

Another upside to this book is that the authors are able to give CAs a sense of assurance that they are human and are therefore bound to succeed through trial and error. I love the jokes that the authors sneaked in, it offers a reminder of where we all started. While reading this book I had flashbacks, some good and some that I would rather forget, to when I first started as a CA and my experiences along the way. The way in which the book is written encouraged me that all is not lost after all.

A few negatives about this book is that some of the paragraphs are too long and the layout of some pages could deter one from continuing to read that page. Another issue is that some of the information is repeated throughout the book, creating a feeling of dejá vu. While I am aware that the book cannot address everything one needs to know in the legal profession, I do feel that the authors could have gone into more detail in some chapters, especially ch 4 and part of ch 13.

I would recommend this book to CAs, but I would also encourage students who are about to complete their LLB degrees to read this book, as it will give them insight as to what to expect when they leave the comforting walls of university. I would also encourage principals to read this book, especially chs 4 and 13 (p 103), so that they can be aware of certain aspects that they may tend to forget about.

Busisiwe Zulu is a candidate attorney at Kafu & Dlamini Attorneys in Durban.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2013 (Dec) DR 47.