Mentorship to count as pro bono

May 1st, 2013

By Kevin O’Reilly

The Pro Bono Committee of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has agreed that in certain circumstances mentorship will count as pro bono services.

LSSA chief executive officer, Nic Swart, told De Rebus that ‘mentorship is an important element in the profession’ that provides valuable growth and it is hoped that, through this, attorneys will be encouraged to make themselves available as mentors.

Mr Swart said that in future mentorship will most likely count significantly  towards earning continuing professional development points.

The application of the mentorship will take the form of a written contract with reports to LSSA’s Legal Education and Development (LEAD) division.

‘Mentees gain confidence from mentorship, especially when it is on a one-on-one basis,’ said Mr Swart.

The mentorship should not be less than 20 hours and mentors will not be remunerated.

Mentors will need to have been in practice for not less than ten years and mentees for not more than two. The mentees also cannot be from the same firm as the mentor.

Marissa van Niekerk, coordinator for the LSSA Pro Bono Committee, said this would allow for necessary skills transfer.

LEAD is currently in the process of developing a database of mentors. The database will help LEAD to match mentees to mentors. The database will also allow for the matching of mentees with mentors when the former require training in specific fields of law, said Ms van Niekerk.

Ms van Niekerk added that the mentorship programme would also offer mentees practical skills, such as how to conduct themselves in court, how to keep a diary and the correct attire to be worn.

Kevin O’Reilly,

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