Candidate Legal Practitioner Crisis: Time For Alternative Law Careers
The Legal Practice Council (LPC) of South Africa has proposed a minimum wage structure for candidate legal practitioners (previously known as candidate attorneys), which some may find as the sign they’ve been looking for to consider alternative law careers.
Luckily alternative law careers are on the rise, and we at Legal Interact know all about going from traditional to non-traditional careers.
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The Proposal From The LPC
After a survey was conducted by the LPC, asking questions about the working environment and candidate attorney/principal relationship, the LPC has released recommendations.
One of the main recommendations which have caused some concern for candidate attorneys is the minimum wage that is recommended:
- For candidate legal practitioners in rural areas – R6000 per month
- For candidate legal practitioners in urban areas – R8000 per month.
The LPC recognised that the release of wage suggestions would cause concern, stating that:
“It goes without saying that the regulation of any minimum amount payable to candidate legal practitioners, and pupils in particular because they have no employer, is fraught with difficulties. For example, setting a low minimum wage could result in lower salaries being paid to some CAs, whilst setting a high, or even moderate, minimum wage could result in fewer CAs being employed.”
One of the key concerns for law graduates who want to embark on their articles is that the above wages are too low for their expected work and education level.
However, there are alternative law careers that many law graduates can now consider.
Alternative Law Careers
If you’re a law graduate or a practitioner who is keen for a change, then there are options outside of the traditional law path available to you.
At Legal Interact, we have many people who have opted for alternative law careers. These are their stories.
As you may or may not know, Legal Interact is a legal technology company. We have been creating innovative technology for the legal community and other businesses for over 40 years now.
As we service the legal community (and beyond), we have found it indispensable to be a place for law graduates and practitioners to find alternative law careers. As our director, Raphael Segal explains:
“Lawyers working in legal tech can combine their legal expertise with technology, allowing them to innovate and create solutions that can transform the legal industry.
In a legal tech company, lawyers can be at the forefront of developing cutting-edge software and tools that streamline legal processes and improve access to justice.
They can have a direct impact on shaping the future of law by leveraging technology to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and client experience.”
One of the other former attorneys who work in our software development department, has explained that choosing alternative law careers is a natural part of growing with the world rapidly changing through technology:
“In a world influenced and driven by technology, every person and industry has to adapt to the changes or run the risk of becoming obsolete.
Being part of the legal technology revolution allows for the small drop in the ocean that becomes the wave of change to an industry that is stuck in stoic, traditional comfort zones; and helps in gearing them up to keep up to date with the changing, technology-driven environment we find ourselves.”
One of our contract analysts, Hlengiwe Mtetwa, explains how her legal knowledge and training have assisted her in choosing one of the various alternative law careers:
“I think we all contribute differently to the legal industry. My analytical skills along with my love for reading with understanding are what I contribute, and in as much as I do not develop the technology myself, my legal experience and qualifications assist and guide the team to make legalistic instruments consumable, not only to Lawyers but people who use the legal documents and instruments- which for me is fulfilling.”
Adrienne Bates, who is a software implementation consultant at Legal Interact, explains her choice to go for one of the alternative law careers after studying law:
“Legal Technology has expanded in ways we have yet to realize, and including AI in the mix has advanced the game completely. With these new developments made, legal practitioners can now rest easy when it comes to their legal workflows and contract management. Built to suit our needs as a legal community, this technology is here to stay and will grow into something so vital, that every legal practitioner will want to be a part of the Legal Tech revolution.”
Our digital marketing manager, Nastassja Robberts, started her articles and discontinued them years ago to pursue a career in digital marketing. As all the resources are readily available, she was able to teach herself on the go and now provides a unique voice to our digital marketing communications.
Our head of business development, Leah Molatseli is probably the poster child for alternative law careers and she explains it perfectly below:
Legal Interact’s business development consultant, Ane Morgan explains how she has always had a passion for law, but hated being in traditional practice:
“I was lucky that I got the job at Legal Interact. Initially, it was just a way out, but now it’s a job that I love and see myself making a career in Legal Tech. I love the fact that we’re working with the future, and we get to lay the groundwork for bigger and better technological advancements.”
Khanyisa Ngobeni is a recent LLB graduate and is one of our support consultants. She expressed how she was hesitant to pursue a traditional law path, and considered alternative law careers in order to find her purpose. She has shared her journey:
“Serving as 1st line support consultant for legal software has taught me that it is my duty to ensure that every client enjoys their journey to incorporating technology into their practice and has offered me a new understanding of the blend of law and technology, enhancing legal practices and other legal areas.”
With the new proposal by the LPC and some of the struggles faced by law graduates, now is the best time to consider some alternative job journeys. So many options are available, and the time is ripe to consider a fresh start.