Women’s contribution to the legal profession is appreciated

December 1st, 2018
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The Mpumalanga branch Chairperson of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA), Nomaswazi Shabangu-Mndawe. The SAWLA branch hosted a dinner in celebration of female legal practitioners who passed their Board Examinations and who opened their own practices.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

The South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) Mpumalanga branch hosted a dinner in Mbombela to celebrate female legal practitioners who passed their Board Examinations and who have opened their own practices. Mpumalanga branch Chairperson of SAWLA, Nomaswazi Shabangu-Mndawe, said SAWLA saw it fit to thank and celebrate female legal practitioners who sat and wrote the difficult Board Examination and passed, as well as those who boldly decided to go out and practice for their own account. Ms Shabangu-Mndawe said when one starts one’s own practice it is not an easy task, as there will be obstacles and challenges, however, she added that SAWLA wanted to show their appreciation to these female legal practitioners.

Chairperson of the Attorneys Development Fund (ADF) and SAWLA’s national treasurer, Nomahlubi Khwinana, shared her experience of owning a practice. She said as a newly appointed legal practitioner one needs to know what is going to drive you to sustain a practice, whether it is the love of money, the love of the profession or the love for justice. Ms Khwinana said when she went into practice she could never have imagined having everything she now has and added that her reason for going into practice was simply to serve people.

Chairperson of the Attorneys Development Fund and SAWLA’s national treasurer, Nomahlubi Khwinana, spoke at the SAWLA dinner held in Mbombela.

Ms Khwinana pointed out that sometimes it gets difficult and things do not always run smoothly, but one must remember why one chose the legal profession. She added that legal practitioners must also have integrity. Ms Khwinana said when a client goes to a legal practitioner and tells them that they do not have enough money, but they need legal help, legal practitioners must be able to help those clients pro bono. She quoted former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, saying, ‘I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said.’ She added that legal practitioners must listen and apply ubuntu by being the best lawyers they can be.

Motivation

Attorney, Daphne Pick, gave a motivational talk at the dinner. She said female legal practitioners are a force to be reckoned with and are here to stay. She added that the days when the legal profession was dominated by white male legal practitioners are gone. She pointed out that female legal practitioners have so much to offer the legal profession and said she is glad to see that the men in the legal profession are aware and respectful of the contribution of female legal practitioners.

Attorney, Daphne Pick, gave a motivational talk at the SAWLA dinner hosted in honour of female legal practitioners in Mbombela.

Ms Pick told female legal practitioners to be passionate in what they do. She said a passionate woman is an unstoppable woman and added that a person should be passionate about their profession. She gave advice on how to continue having the best practice and to keep excelling in one’s work. Ms Pick said one needs to continuously read, study and ask questions when one does not understand, because no one knows everything. She pointed out that the minute someone thinks they know everything, they might be at risk of embarrassing themselves.

Ms Pick added that a passionate woman is a dedicated woman. She said one needed to put in extra work, be reliable, not lose ambition, stay positive and always be prepared. Ms Pick said that not all legal practitioners are conveyancers or litigators from the get-go. She stressed that one must not take instructions that one is not comfortable with. ‘If you cannot read, study or ask your way through it, stay away from it,’ Ms Pick said. She pointed out that good word spreads fast, but bad words spread even faster. She added that female legal practitioners needed to identify their weak points and work on them until they improve. She said female legal practitioners must take advantage of certain work that is said to be reserved for them and turn the work into opportunities.

Judge President of the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, Frans Legodi, spoke on attributes of excellence. He told female legal practitioners at the SAWLA dinner that they had the ability to excel in their work and in the legal profession. He pointed out that one of the attributes of excelling is passion. He said ‘passion is the first step to achievement, passion determines our destination in life. It increases our will power, it changes us, it makes the impossible possible, it fires the soul inside us.’

Judge President Legodi pointed out that passion is a good attribute for excellence, he added that he agreed with the statement: ‘A person with good passion and few skills always performs or outperform a person with great skills and no passion.’ He said there are people who are seen to be geniuses, who should be capable of doing many things in life, but because of lack of passion they are outplayed by people with less skills, who are not geniuses but have a great amount of passion. Judge President Legodi added that he wants to see passion in female legal practitioners. ‘I want to see you shaming your brothers in the legal profession when you appear before us. As you do so supposing I will be sitting on the Bench. I will be singing a self-composed song titled “passion and excellence before money,”’ Judge President Legodi said.

Judge President of the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, Frans Legodi, spoke on attributes of excellence. He was invited to give a motivational talk to female legal practitioners who were celebrated at the dinner.

Judge President Legodi pointed out that another attribute of excellence is responsibility. He said successful people are driven by excellence and excellence is a great motivator for successful people. He added that people who desire excellence and work hard to achieve it, are almost always responsible people. When they give their all, they live at peace with themselves. He noted that if one wants to succeed in life, one must produce, and responsibility goes hand in hand with excellence. ‘It cannot be right to accept instructions from a client and fail to execute the mandate to the best of your ability. It is almost like being fraudulent,’ Judge President Legodi said.

Judge President Legodi added that another attribute of excellence is love for people. He said whatever one does best, it is important that one cares for the people around oneself. He pointed out that one cannot excel as a legal practitioner unless one has the intention to help someone in need. He said legal practitioners must be driven by concern for people and not by personal glory. ‘A true successful and excellent legal practitioner is driven by the desire to serve people with excellence,’ Judge President Legodi added.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2018 (Dec) DR 10.

 

 

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