LEADing the legal profession into the future

February 1st, 2024

The Law Society of South Africa’s legal education division was established in 1975, by the LSSA’s predecessor, the Association of Law Societies (ALS). From offering continuing legal education (CLE) seminars to the first practical legal training (PLT) course for candidate legal practitioners in 1979, LEAD has been at the forefront of legal education and has provided training to more than 11 500 persons in 2022. In many respects, LEAD is recognised as the preferred provider of practical vocational training and professional development.

How LEAD has been at the forefront of legal education
  • 1979: The first practical legal training (PLT) course for candidate attorneys was offered in Pretoria. This was followed by the establishment of similar 25-day courses in other parts of the country.
  • 1989: The council of the then ALS resolved to launch the ‘School for Legal Practice’, to offer practical legal training to LLB graduates, over a six-month period. The purpose of the School was to provide more in-depth structured vocational training to law graduates, and to assist those who had difficulty in securing articles of clerkship.
  • 1990: The first School for Legal Practice was offered as a pilot project in Pretoria and 51 students attended.
  • 1993: Practical training for candidate attorneys was made compulsory for admission as an attorney.
  • 2003: The CLE and PLT sections of the LSSA were merged to form the LEAD division.
  • 2008: LEAD launched judicial skills training courses for practising attorneys to assist them in their preparation for acting as judicial offers in the regional and High Court.
  • 2009: The attendance of practice management training became mandatory for every practising attorney who was issued with a Fidelity Fund certificate for the first time. During this time LEAD’s practice management training programme increased from 100 to more than 500 in 2010. LEAD became involved with the training on behalf of external clients, including the Financial Services Board, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the South African Police Service, Sasol, and South African Revenue Service.

LEAD has offered legal support staff (non-legal personnel) training to approximately 3 300 staff at law firms.

  • 2010: The e-learning method was introduced by LEAD.
  • 2019: LEAD is accredited as a training provider by the Legal Practice Council (LPC) and the practice management training course presented by LEAD is also accredited by the LPC.
  • 2021: LEAD started advising the profession on the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development (CPD). The concept of CPD for legal practitioners was adopted by the LSSA’s House of Constituents in November 2021, after substantial research, as well as consultation with the profession. It is envisaged that this will promote a greater culture of learning and open new learning opportunities and methods in the profession.
Why choose LEAD?

LEAD provides access to quality learning that is relevant and affordable through its extensive range of learning activities (seminars, courses, etcetera). It is one of the largest providers of legal and professional education in South Africa and is an associate member of the Society for Law Teachers of Southern Africa. The Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund subsidises many of LEAD’s activities and LEAD has produced graduates who are now leaders in their chosen fields.

What courses are offered at LEAD?
  • School for Legal Practice: This is a practical law school and offers an intensive postgraduate vocational course at one of the nine provincial centres situated around the country. There is a day school, night school and distance-learning school available. The full-time course takes four months to complete, and the distance-learning course take six months. Visit LSSALEAD.org.za to see more about the 2024 application process.
  • Compulsory course for candidate attorneys: The objective of this course is to supplement the training provided by law firms in the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of a competent candidate legal practitioner. The LEAD course is practice-orientated and an important facet of preparation for the profession’s Admission Examination. The course is in compliance with the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA).
  • Practice management course: This course has been developed to assist legal practitioners manage their practices effectively by combining legal expertise with strategic business management. This is mandatory training for all legal practitioners who are issued with their first Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund certificates, subsequent to 14 August 2009. The course is offered on an after-hours attendance basis or distance basis. Visit LSSALEAD.org.za for more information on the 2024 intakes.
  • Postgraduate distance education programmes for legal practice: In a fast-changing legal environment where budgets and time are limited, a legal practitioner’s ability to specialise and stay ahead of the game is vital. This can be achieved through LEAD’s diploma and certificate programmes. These programmes, in cooperation with universities, are offered in inter alia, corporate law and deceased estates.
  • Conveyancing and notarial courses: In these courses, legal practitioners are given a practical background in the law, practice and procedure of conveyancing and notarial practice. The training is provided by practising conveyancers and notaries.
  • Seminars, webinars, and workshops: A wide range of seminars and workshops aimed at providing quality continuing professional development is offered. LEAD prides itself in bringing seminars dealing with important current issues at affordable fees. Candidate legal practitioners and legal practice staff are also encouraged to attend these seminars and workshops.
  • e-LEADer (an e-learning initiative): e-Learning is the use of technology to enable people to learn anytime and anywhere, it is essentially computer and web based (Internet) transfer of skills and knowledge. LEAD’s e-learning product is called e-LEADer and it offers a range of LEAD’s learning activities.
  • Support staff training: Over the past 15 years, support staff’s duties in law practices/departments have expanded and become much more complex. This is especially true since the increased use of software applications in law practices. As a result, modern legal support staff now need more in-depth training. LEAD assists legal practitioners to avoid the risk of negligence by assisting them to properly train their employees and help their employees to develop their full potential and optimise their overall performance.

Sponsorship opportunities

LEAD offers various sponsorship opportunities for webinars, where advertisers can speak directly to delegates during the webinar. For more information, please e-mail the LSSA’s Communications Department at LSSA@LSSA.org.za.

Contacting LEAD

The training calendar for 2023 and 2024 is available at www.lssalead.org.za/training-calendar/.

For more information on the various courses, seminars, workshops and training visit www.LSSALEAD.org.za or contact the LEAD team at info@LSSALEAD.org.za.

Kathleen Kriel BTech (Journ) is the  Production Editor at De Rebus.