Two SA attorneys overseas for training

December 1st, 2013
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By Nomfundo Manyathi-Jele

This year’s two South African candidates for the three-month International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA) training programme are Patience Nyabadza and Tasneem Parkar.

The pair are two of 21 candidates chosen for this year’s programme.  ILFA provides work experience at international law firms as well as training in international law and key legal practice skills. This year the programme runs from 6 September to 4 December. Seventeen African countries participated in the programme, including Botswana, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

Ms Nyabadza (35) is currently a legal adviser at First National Bank focusing mainly on commercial law, procurement law, regulatory law and applicable compliance regulations, legislations and policies. She holds an LLM in commercial law from the University of the Witwatersrand and an LLB degree from the University of Fort Hare. She has been seconded to Hogan Lovells International LLP in London.

Ms Nyabadza told De Rebus that she applied to participate in the programme because she was looking for an opportunity to broaden her legal expertise and gain exposure to global legal experience in project finance and law of banking and finance. She added that she saw the programme as a platform for making a profound difference in her career as she has more than five years’ post-admission commercial and regulatory work experience.

Ms Nyabadza says that she is delighted and filled with gratitude to be part of the programme and to be given the opportunity to augment her skills at the highest levels of the legal profession.

She is hoping that the programme will give her exposure to banking and corporate finance transactional matters and that she will experience first-hand knowledge and insight into the work of finance lawyers in the United Kingdom (UK). ‘I would like to acquire project finance knowledge and gain more knowledge about the UK banking market,’ she said, adding that she also believes that the programme will assist her with networking with other lawyers from different jurisdictions, which would facilitate an exchange of ideas.

Ms Nyabadza says that working at Hogan Lovells International LLP has been exciting. ‘I experienced insight into the work of the finance legal team. I have participated in different transactions and got myself involved as much as possible in the matters. The legal team ensured that I understood the project finance transactions and that I could identify and manage risks, and that I had observed how the vital key drives for the parties in structuring the transactions and objectives were captured in the project documentation when we drafted, reviewed and negotiated them. Furthermore, I have learnt how multi-jurisdictional issues, legal issues and related matters are dealt with and covered in the documentation,’ she said.

Ms Nyabadza says that she has also had an opportunity to be seconded to UK Barclays as part of the programme where she had first-hand experience in retail and business banking. ‘The programme was designed to give me an insight into the work of retail and business banking lawyers and how they support the business units and stakeholders,’ she said.

She urged future candidates to seize the opportunity with both hands as it offers a once in a lifetime opportunity that they will never regret.

Ms Parkar (28) is currently practising as a senior associate at the Cape Town-based law firm, Bisset Boehmke McBlain, where she specialises in corporate and commercial law with a particular interest in South Africa’s new consumer protection legislation. Ms Parkar holds an LLB degree and a post-graduate diploma in tax law from the University of Cape Town. Ms Parkar has been seconded to SJ Berwin LLP in Dubai.

Ms Parkar told De Rebus that she applied to participate in the programme because the training would give her an opportunity to learn, grow and develop and she saw the benefits that such opportunities held for her as an individual and lawyer.

She says that she still cannot believe that from the many lawyers in South Africa, she was selected to participate in ‘such a wonderful programme.’ She said: ‘Being selected to participate in ILFA has been a privilege and a blessing.’

Ms Parkar is hoping that the programme will provide an opportunity for her to become a better lawyer and to enable her with the skills and network to grow her practice in an international environment.

She told De Rebus that the first two months of the three-month ILFA programme had flown by.  ‘On reflection, the programme has provided me with invaluable experiences. Not only have I been exposed to areas of law I was otherwise not knowledgeable about, I have also met amazing lawyers from different regions in Africa. I have come to appreciate the fact that the South African legal system is well-developed and we as South Africans, should be proud of this development,’ she said.

Nomfundo Manyathi-Jele, nomfundo@derebus.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2013 (Dec) DR 9.