Cape Town Candidate Attorneys’ Association update

August 29th, 2016
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CTCAA logoBy Darren Hanekom

The Cape Town Candidate Attorneys’ Association (CTCAA) is a dynamic and diverse body of candidate attorneys (CAs) practising law in the greater Cape Town area. Forming part of this group of CAs, the CTCAA is served by a small committee of individuals who aim to provide the young professionals in the field with a platform for networking, as well as opportunities to be involved in community initiatives, both directly and indirectly. The CTCAA is fortunate in that it has strong affiliations with the Cape Law Society – as well as the Cape Bar – a dual function of our field on which it prides itself.

The CTCAA committee hosts a variety of events throughout the year, with all money raised being donated to deserving charities. In 2015, the CTCAA committee raised R 65 000, which was allocated towards social donations. Its events include –

  • pub quiz nights;
  • education days;
  • a young professionals evening;
  • a charity auction; and
  • a closing function.

These events enable its sponsors to be part of its networking and social responsibility commitments, while providing them with an ideal platform to form long standing relations with young professionals within Cape Town.

Ultimately, the CTCAA committee aims to facilitate networking between CAs, prominent members of the legal fraternity and other young professionals in the greater Cape Town area, while remaining mindful and dedicated towards its social responsibilities with regard to those less fortunate. For this reason the CTCAA committee’s activities in 2016 consist primarily of involving CAs in social events, social responsibility projects and fund raisers, with the aim of raising funds for its main charity, The Homestead Projects for Street Children (The Homestead).

The CTCAA pub quiz nights

The CTCAA committee has in the past supported a vibrant local partnership with a group that provides pub quiz services to various Cape Town based pubs. The CTCAA committee hosted two pub quizzes in 2016, the first of which was held in May and the second, in August. The first event of the year took the form of a pub quiz held in Cape Town. The evening was well attended and guests were asked to answer questions on a varied selection of interesting topics. The winners walked away with complimentary prizes from the partnered brands and sponsors.

Grade 9 learners from Maitland High School participating in the CTCAA Take a Child to Work Day.

Grade 9 learners from Maitland High School participating in the CTCAA Take a Child to Work Day.

Take a child to work day

In May, as part of our Community Development Programme, the CTCAA introduced a programme called ‘Take a Child to a Law Firm Day.’ The CTCAA focused on working in conjunction with Maitland High School that has children from disadvantaged areas. Several Grade 9 learners were welcomed into the offices of various firms across Cape Town. The programme aimed to highlight the importance of knowing ones rights, as well as the inner workings of busy law practices. Learners were advised on the prerequisites of studying law and possibly other disciplines that might enhance their career in law.

Participating law firms showed their hospitality by treating the learners to lunch. The programme was not all fun and games, learners were tasked with conducting preliminary research on relevant matters such as evictions and consumer protection related issues. Through the media, many young people have a skewed perception of the legal profession; and the CTCAA provided clarity by ensuring that the learners were taken on tours of the various courts and judicial offices around the city.

The CTCAA is fortunate to be working in an ever changing profession, and it is through these initiatives that it is able to share the lessons it has learnt along the way. The CTCAA looks forward to hosting more learners in the future and hopes to encourage more firms to open their doors to eager high school learners.

Candidate attorneys attending the Young Professionals evening held by the CTCAA.

Candidate attorneys attending the Young Professionals evening held by the CTCAA.

The young professionals evening 

The CTCAA, in partnership with the South African Institute for Chartered Accountants, as well as the Trainee Accountant Society, invites young professionals annually in various fields for a Young Professionals Evening.

The first Young Professionals Evening (YPE) was held on 15 June at the BMW Auto Atlantic venue in Cape Town. The YPE is one of the CTCAA committee’s events, which are specifically aimed at providing young professionals with a pleasant and unique networking experience.

This year’s YPE centred on the theme of selflessness, with Paul Hooper of The Homestead speaking to attendees about their work in taking homeless children off the streets of Cape Town and socialising them back into schools.

The life of CAs can become isolated; hence the CTCAA committee continually strives to provide the body with social initiatives to counter this.

Paul Hooper, Director of The Homestead Projects for Street Children, addressing YPE guests.

Paul Hooper, Director of The Homestead Projects for Street Children, addressing YPE guests.

Education day

Due to the ever increasing unemployment levels among the youth within South Africa, the CTCAA tries to alleviate the burden put on high schools and learners in preparing learners for the workplace. During the CTCAA education days, hosted at Maitland High School, the CTCAA invited professionals from industries ranging from drama and film to medicine and construction and gave learners the opportunity to ask questions relating to their area of interest. Not only are learners given an introduction to various job opportunities, learners are also taken through a CV writing course to increase their chances of securing employment within their desired field of employment.

Mandela day 

In line with the vision of Mandela day actions being focused on the realisation and restoration of dignity and empowerment through contributions in areas of civic need, the CTCAA supported by its main partners, BMW and PPS, arranged for a fun day out at The Homestead, the CTCAA’s charity for 2016.

The 2016 Candidate Attorney Moot Court Competition

The CTCAA committee will be launching the very first inter-firm Candidate Attorney Moot Competition in November. As new entrants to the legal profession, the CTCAA believes that every CA should be equipped with skills to confidently navigate their way around the district level motion and criminal courts. Taking place at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, participants will have a choice of competing in either a Criminal Court bail application or arguing an opposed prevention of illegal eviction (PIE) application. Matters will be presided over by magistrates and senior practitioners. Top litigators will be selected on a points based system.

The winning firm and their selected CAs will have their names engraved into the CTCAA trophy. This will be an annual event, which aims to foster the tradition of cooperative learning and camaraderie. Winning firms will be encouraged to defend their titles in subsequent years.

The CTCAA understand that many CAs are not afforded with the opportunity to gain experience within litigation. To aid participants in building their skills within this space, the CTCAA committee will be hosting two workshops, the first workshop will be led by one of the country’s top criminal defence attorneys and the second will be led by Senior Council behind landmark Constitutional Court judgments relating to housing and mass evictions.

Each firm, regardless of size will be allowed to enter two teams of two CAs, one per category (criminal and civil), entry will be R 500 per team. Expectedly, all proceeds raised will be going towards its partnered charity and upcoming social responsibility projects. The CTCAA looks forward to receiving entries and being the first group of candidate attorneys to participate in this initiative.

Candidate Attorneys and firms can e-mail Darren Hanekom at darren.hanekom@gmail.com to enter.

Charity auction

The work done by the CTCAA throughout the year is only made possible through the kind donations received from sponsors. The Charity Auction is the CTCAA’s biggest event and has in the past been very successful in raising funds and attracting attendees from various professional spheres. The CTCAA envisages an even more successful auction this year, which can only be achieved with the help from their invaluable sponsors. Guests are treated to three course meals and funds are raised through the auctioning of unique sponsored items such as F1 racing experiences and one of a kind collectables.

The charity auction will take place on 4 November 2016.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the CTCAA is conscious of the challenges which exist within the profession. Scarce CA placement opportunities create competitive law students, who in turn look to compete rather than cooperate with their peers. This culture of competiveness only hinders opportunities to learn from each other and further exacerbates fragmentation and isolation within the profession. Rather than digging our heads in the sand, one should look to take small strides in creating an inclusive fraternity. Due to the dreary salaries offered to aspirant attorneys, the growing consensus among many CAs is that practice is not for everyone, and that the tenure of articles is just another way to make ourselves more marketable to the corporate world. The CTCAA believes that practice is indeed for everyone, we did not study all these years to become yet another cog in the machine. The CTCAA challenges CAs to join it in their journey in growing, learning and sharing what it means to practice law in this country we call home.

 

Darren Hanekom, Cape Town Candidate Attorneys’ Association Chairman

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2016 (Sept) DR 10.

 

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