Young legal practitioners must work hard and remain consistent

July 1st, 2022
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Legal practitioner and Vice-President of the Law Society of South Africa, Eunice Masipa, says young legal practitioners must work hard and be consistent in their work.

De Rebus News Reporter, Kgomotso Ramotsho, spoke to legal practitioner and Vice-President of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), Eunice Masipa. Ms Masipa originally hails from Polokwane in the Limpopo Province, and she is the first-born child of three. Her father is a retired school principal, and her mother is a practicing nurse. Ms Masipa matriculated in 2006 from an all-girls catholic school. She then enrolled for an LLB degree at the University of Limpopo in 2008 and completed her degree in 2011.

Ms Masipa served her articles with Selolo Tlou Attorneys Inc, a medium-sized law firm based in Pretoria. On completion of her articles and admission as a legal practitioner, Ms Masipa added that she was employed as a Senior Industrial Relations Consultant at LabourNet, where she served the company for two years before moving to Lipco Law for All as a Senior Legal Advisor. Ms Masipa opened a practice in 2017 under Masipa Attorneys, based in Arcadia, Pretoria.

 

Kgomotso Ramotsho (KR): Which area of law are you practising in and why?

Eunice Masipa (EM): I practice in the following areas –

  • third party litigation with a focus on Road Accident Fund claims;
  • labour and employment law;
  • immigration; and
  • general civil litigation.

These are the areas of law I have always had a special interest in, most particularly labour and employment law as it gives me the opportunity to contribute in the combat against unfair labour practices and related matters.

 

KR: Why did you choose to study law?

EM: I knew immediately that any profession, which requires maths and science, would be a misfit for me. But on a more serious note, the pursuit of justice has always been my fundamental reason. My grandfather was shot and killed in his shop in 2006 and to date no one has been arrested. This was a way for me to ensure that those who are less privileged, and indigent can access justice and that it not be reserved for those with financial means only.

 

KR: You run your law firm, while some legal practitioners’ dream of working for a big law firm, why did you choose to open your law firm?

EM: I have always been a very diplomatic person who wanted the freedom to exercise my own discretion. I wanted to create my own path and have the freedom of taking instructions, which are meaningful and align with my moral fibre. In so doing I have had the opportunity to take instructions that protect and advocate for human rights which has been a very fulfilling experience.

 

KR: What are some of the challenges you faced when starting your own law firm, especially as a young woman?

EM: It has been a very challenging road. One of the most prevalent challenges I faced in my first couple of years of practice was when prospective clients and senior legal practitioners would ask for my ‘Principal’. It was also difficult trying to find a balance between being a young mother and the long hours that I had to put in at the office. But having a mentor and being surrounded by such great leaders assisted in that I was able to put measures and systems in place to create that balance.

 

KR: How did it feel when you were nominated one of the Vice-Presidents of the LSSA?

EM: I was truly humbled by the confidence that my colleagues and constituency had in my capabilities. It was also a victory for women and more particularly young women. This is an opportunity to continue advocating for gender transformation.

 

KR: Do you think the youth in the legal profession is visible enough? Would you say they have a voice, and are they being heard?

EM: Yes, I believe the youth is being heard. The LSSA is a constituency-based organisation and I believe most constituencies have a youth desk where issues affecting young legal practitioners are ventilated and/or addressed. One can say a case in point is being appointed as Vice-President of the LSSA as a young person, which indicates that young people are being taken seriously by the profession.

 

KR: Who is your mentor and why?

EM: My mentor is Selolo Tlou. He is one of the people I looked up to and he contributed in my studying towards an LLB. The way he approaches the practice of law always inspires me and I aspire to reach the great lengths that he has reached. There are other great leaders whom I look up to that have shaped me to be the legal practitioner I am today.

 

KR: When you were still a candidate legal practitioner, did you ever imagine that you would one day play a role in some of the positions you are holding in the legal profession now?

EM: I have always participated in professional related activities from tertiary level and made sure that I made meaningful contributions where I had the capabilities to do so. I believe it was not by chance or luck that I am in the position I am today. However, I never imagined that one day I would be in this position. I am extremely humbled.

 

KR: There are a lot of young black female candidate legal practitioners looking up to you, who might want to walk the same path as you, what advice would you give to them?

EM: Firstly, be an honourable and credible person before anything. Be a genuine good human being and do not forget to walk closely with God. Work hard and remain consistent. Never stop reading as we all know that the law is ever evolving, and one needs to stay on top of things. Never lose sight of the reason why you entered the profession, it will keep you grounded. Lastly, but most important, get a mentor.

 

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

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2022 (July) DR 22.

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