Attorneys’ firms committed to skills transfer and mentorship in the profession

March 1st, 2012

By Barbara Whittle

Earlier this year, Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) co-chairpersons Nano Matlala and Praveen Sham met with a group of Johannesburg and Pretoria firms that had committed themselves to participating in the mentorship programme introduced by the LSSA Legal Education and Development (LEAD) division. The firms represented included Webber Wentzel – which committed a number of its practitioners to the programme – Ria van Rensburg Attorneys, De Wet Van der Watt, Ramushu Mashile Twala, Le Roux & Du Plessis and Tau Palane Inc. LSSA CEO Nic Swart outlined the importance and value of a mentorship programme in the profession, as there appeared to be a need for skills transfer and guidance, particularly in the areas of commercial law and conveyancing.

Attorneys elsewhere in the country have also indicated their willingness to assist in the programme and meetings with them are to be held in due course.

The idea is to develop a panel of mentors on a national database who can mentor their peers in practice management and law advancement, with the purpose of specialising in new areas of practice.

LEAD, in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland, Irish Rule of Law International and Irish Aid, has introduced an intensive, one-year, fully funded commercial law training programme for disadvantaged practitioners. The course will include attendance of the one-year certificate in corporate law course, two six-day attendance workshops in March and September 2012, with hands-on, practical training provided by Irish and South African commercial lawyers, followed by a mentorship component. After completion of the second workshop, practitioners attending the training programme will be assigned mentors with relevant experience in the commercial field. Mentorship will entail 20 contact hours between mentor and mentee, after which mentors will report progress to LEAD.

During 2011, practitioners from Bowman Gilfillan offered their services as trainers and lecturers free of charge to LEAD for the ‘Drafting of Contracts’ two-day workshops held in main centres throughout the country. The seminar was aimed at junior practitioners and covered the key principles of the law of contract that have application in practice; an analysis of typical provisions found in contracts; a deconstruction of agreements for the sale of land, leases, service agreements and share sale agreements; basic drafting techniques; and tips for the contract attorney: How best to represent your client.


The LSSA is grateful to practitioners and firms prepared to participate in the skills transfer, mentorship and training initiatives in the profession.

Firms and practitioners wishing to offer their services as mentors or lecturers should contact Nic Swart at or call LEAD at (012) 441 4600.

Compiled by Barbara Whittle, communication manager, Law Society of South Africa,

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2012 (March) DR 12.