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Law Society of South Africa How to Become an Attorney : lssa.org.za

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Organisation : Law Society of South Africa
Name of Facility: How to Become an Attorney
Location : Pretoria
Website : https://www.lssa.org.za/about-us/attorneys-development-fund/

Becoming An Attorney :

** The admission requirements for attorneys in South Africa are prescribed by the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 and the rules promulgated in terms of the Act.

Related : Law Society Of South Africa Conveyancing Examination Syllabus 2017 : www.southafricain.com/7121.html

The most relevant requirements are the following :
Personal fitness:
** A person must be regarded as a fit and proper person by the Law Society and the High Court before he can be admitted as an attorney.

** This requirement refers mainly to the moral integrity of a person, his characteristics and particularly honesty, which is considered to be an important prerequisite for practising as an attorney.

** A person must be older than 21 years and a South African citizen; or be legally entitled to permanent residence in the Republic and be ordinarily resident in the Republic; or be a citizen of a state which formerly formed part of the Republic and belongs to a category of persons and has complied with certain conditions, as determined by the Minister from time to time (currently being the former ‘TBVC’ states, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe).

Academic qualifications :
** The only academic qualification that is presently recognised for the purpose of admission as an attorney is an LLB degree (the course duration of which is not less than four years) or BProc-degree (obtained on or before 31 December 2004), obtained at any university in the Republic.

** There are exceptions to this rule.

** The first exception is if the applicant has obtained a degree/s other than an LLB at university in South Africa, for a study period of not less than five years and has satisfied the requirements of an LLB.

** The second exception is if the applicant has completed a degree of the same status as the South African LLB degree at a university in a country designated by the Minister (currently being the former ‘TBVC’ states, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe), which degree has been certified by a university in South Africa and the person has completed a supplementary examination (if required).

** The third exception is if the applicant has completed a degree, which does not meet the requirements of an LLB degree, at any university in South Africa, or,

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** Fourthly, if the applicant has completed a degree of the same status as the corresponding South African degree at a university in a country designated by the Minister (currently being the former ‘TBVC’ states, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe), which degree has been certified by a university in South Africa.

** The fifth exception is if the applicant has obtained a matric certificate with full university exemption. Please note that the abovementioned exceptions numbered three to five increase the term of the duration of service of articles of clerkship (see 3.2.4 below).

Attorneys’ Admission Examination :
** The attorneys’ admission examination, which is presented by the Law Society, must be successfully completed before admission.

This examination is practice-orientated and can only be written :
** once the aspirant attorney has completed a period of six months service under articles of clerkship or a service contract (community service at a law clinic)
** or
** once he/she has attended the full-time School for Legal Practice for a period of approximately six months.

** A person has more than one opportunity during the period of articles or community service to write the admission examination, which is scheduled twice per year. A person may also attempt the exam within three years after the contract has expired.

The examination comprises the following sections :
Paper 1: Practice and procedure (criminal procedure, supreme court procedure, magistrates’ court procedure and motor vehicle accident claims);
Paper 2: Wills and Estates;
Paper 3: Attorneys’ practice, contracts and rules of conduct; and
Paper 4: Legal bookkeeping.

Language requirements :
Although statutory language requirements for qualification have been abolished, it is important to note that individual universities may:
i) still have language requirements as part of their degree curricula or offer courses in such a language on an elective basis; and/or
ii) require a minimum symbol at matric level, in certain languages.

** The ability to communicate effectively is essential for all lawyers.
** Prospective lawyers should therefore make us of every opportunity to enhance their oral and written communication skills.

Promotion possibilities :
** Professional Assistant with a firm of attorneys;
** Junior Partner in a firm of attorneys;
** Senior Partner in a firm of attorneys; or
** Starting one’s own firm once admitted as an attorney.
** Attorneys can also be appointed as judges to the High Court and the Constitutional Court.

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