How to secure articles

Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 8:03
Author name
Johan van Stade
A young lawyer in South Africa looking forward to secure law articles

One of the most daunting tasks facing a fresh-faced law student is securing articles of clerkship in compliance with Section 21 of the LPA requirement in order to become an attorney.

The dilemma: you need experience to find a job, but you need a job to gain experience.  To find out which qualifications you need to apply for articles, read our article on how to become a lawyer in South Africa.

This balance between practical and theoretical experience is not unique to law students, but it is different.  Not fulfilling this requirement can prevent you from reaching your goal of becoming an attorney.

In this blog, I will provide you with some pointers on how to stand out from the crowd and secure that all-important “you're hired” phone call.

One

Show the firm that they cannot afford to not hire you.  This is easier said than done and it is therefore important to play to your strengths.  If you are a bookworm, make sure your marks are top-notch, and you have the practical know-how to back them up.  If you are not the strongest student, make sure your personality takes the front seat during the interview process: be positive, confident, and vibrant.  These traits make interviewers more receptive to people and this will give you that extra edge and make you hard to forget.

Two

Invest time and effort in your CV.  Do not just download a template from the internet and complete the blanks.  Represent your skills properly on paper.  This means that you have to include a professional headshot, i.e. a head and shoulders shot of you in professional attire.  Include all your accolades from school/university and ask for a reference letter from your school principal/university lecturers.

Ensure that your CV is error-free as inconsistencies and many spelling mistakes will immediately disqualify you from the pack.  After completing your CV, ask someone to proofread the document and give constructive feedback if they have any.  This Communication skills course will help you hone your verbal and written communication skills.

Three

Prepare to be rejected (a lot). Unfortunately, you are swimming in a very saturated pond and as such there are just not enough law firms to accommodate the vast number of candidate legal practitioners.  However, do not lose heart.  As with everything in life, just keep on trying - the more jobs you apply for the better your chances are to receive a job offer.  Remember: you miss 100% of the chances you do not take.

Four

Lastly, if all else fails, offer your services for free at any law firm willing to accommodate you.  This may not be what you had in mind, but this will give you that much-needed foot in the door.  People are more willing to hire from their own pool, so if it is not the job you want, make sure you do it par excellence and then as soon as an article job opens up, you are right there willing and waiting to fill the gap.

People also ask

How can I prepare for my attorneys’ admission exam?

The Gawie le Roux Institute of Law offers attorneys’ admission exam courses for Paper 1 to 4. Our blog is updated regularly and has helpful tips on how to prepare for the board exams.

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