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Young dynamic corporate & commercial lawyer

 

• with at least 10 (ten) years post admission experience.

• having a sound knowledge of commercial and tax issues

• having good drafting and IT skills

• the ability to deal with clients independently and at a high level

• who is energetic, service focused and solutions orientated

• A client following would be an added advantage

• Remuneration commensurate with experience

• Position available immediately

 

If you would like to be a part of our journey your CV can be submitted to:-

 

Mrs Leanne Ross

Livingston Leandy Incorporated

hr@livingston.co.za

 

Secretarial and Administrative Positions

All applications in respect of secretarial and administrative positions should be e-mailed to hr@livingston.co.za

 

Candidate Attorneys

At Livingston Leandy Inc. candidate attorneys are exposed to a diverse range of litigation matters, including debt recovery, foreclosures, personal injury and medical negligence claims, damages claims, as well as matrimonial, labour and commercial litigation. There are also opportunities for candidate attorneys wishing to gain exposure in our estates and conveyancing departments in the latter part of their articles.

 

Our candidate attorneys attend the practical legal training course offered at the School for Legal Practice which, together with our in-house training conducted by directors in the various departments, provides them with the training they require to prepare adequately for the Board examination.  In keeping with our policy of continuous training, our candidate attorneys are tasked with preparing case law presentations on new and interesting legal developments each quarter.

 

How to apply

Anyone interested in applying for articles at LLI should email a comprehensive CV, enclosing all academic transcripts, to hr@livingston.co.za by 31st March the year before you wish to commence articles of clerkship.

 

Interviews are usually conducted during April/May and successful applicants will be notified by June. Applicants who are unable to attend an interview in Durban will be interviewed by Skype.

 

Student work experience

Most secondary schools require students to obtain work experience in their particular field of interest and LLI offers students the opportunity to spend the required time at our offices. Owing to the high demand and limited spaces available during school holidays, students are encouraged to make application early in the academic year in which they are required to complete work experience.

Achieving the First Step – Securing Articles

 

Law has always been a respected profession, and popular shows like Suits have also projected it as a glamourous one.  Whether as a result of this or not, universities have in recent years produced an ever increasing number of legal graduates.  The legal industry growth has not followed with the global economic downturn and, as a result, securing articles at a top tier law firm has become increasingly competitive.  International firms in South Africa like Fasken Martineau can receive over 500 applications for articles each year, while candidate attorney classes vary from about five to 30 depending on the size of the office.

Below is a list of 10 aspects you can focus on to maximize your chances of getting a position in the firm of your choice.

 

1. Do well at school

The journey to successfully obtaining articles often starts before starting university.  Almost all law firm recruiters will want to know how well you did in school.  This includes your matric marks, any areas of leadership (i.e. prefect, learner representative council, etc.), and active involvement in sports, cultural and community activities.  This shows us that the candidate has already started to become an active member of the community.

Most of you reading this will already have completed your schooling.  My reason for mentioning school is to remind you not to omit achievements at school when submitting your application.

 

2. Develop good study habits

How well you do at university has a significant impact.

One of the first things any firm will look at is your university marks as it is an easy way to reduce the load of applications on their desk.  Too many failed subjects or marks that are consistently low tell us one of two things: either you are not smart enough or you are not willing to work hard; both of which are instant “no’s”.

The short version - work hard and consistently, stay organized (in terms of your time and university notes), prepare adequately for exams, make use of university resources, look after yourself, and don’t allow yourself to be discouraged.

 

3. Develop good reading and writing skills

This is linked to the previous point, but deserves a special mention in its own right as this is one of the areas that law firms place emphasis on when it comes to legal graduates.  Many students are required to study in their second or even third language; and given our multicultural society and the challenges in our education system, this is unlikely to change in the short to medium term.

You will almost certainly be required to write a covering letter with your application.  A well written covering later leaves a lasting impression, while one with too many grammatical or spelling errors has the opposite effect.

The good news is that it is possible to pick up language, reading and writing skills fairly quickly.  Many universities provide language classes for students who are not studying in their first language.  The bad news is that becoming fluent in another language takes a lot of practice and hard work.  If you are faced with this challenge start practicing as soon as possible and as often as possible.  Industry publications and business newspapers can be useful in terms of learning appropriate terminology and developing a broad vocabulary.

 

4. Get involved in all aspects of student life

There is a time and place for everything, and that place is called university.  Having completed university a while back, I can tell you that these years will be among the best in your life – don’t let this pass you by.

On a more serious note, education goes beyond getting good marks at university.  It comes from engaging with your peers and professors, and becoming part of the broader university life through extra-curricular activities such as clubs and societies.  Not only are you exposed to different perspectives, but these activities will enable you to develop critical skills in the areas of leadership, interpersonal relationships, teamwork and much more.

Active involvement and leadership in university clubs and societies reflects well on you as an applicant and suggests that you are on your way to becoming a leader in society.

 

5. Keep up to date with the world around you

Law is neither studied nor practised in isolation.  What happens in the world has an impact on the law.  Good lawyers are critical thinkers and have an opinion on absolutely everything.  Excellent lawyers are critical thinkers, up to date with current events relating to their areas of expertise and the world around them and have an informed opinion about a great many things.

Get an early start by exposing yourself to the world around you and forming your views based on a proper analysis of the information you are exposed to.  As a lawyer, you will be expected to have an opinion, and very often you will be required to express this view eloquently and convince others to agree.  Any interviewer worth their salt will test you on your ability to articulate your opinion on a topical or controversial matter, argue your point well and have the courage to stick to your view despite “rigorous” arguments to the contrary.  It is far easier to argue a point when you are well informed and aware of the facts and key issues surrounding the topic.

 

6. Create a strong curriculum vitae and cover letter

When firms have relatively little time to spend reviewing each CV, you need to ensure that your CV is one of those chosen for the interview round.  Some basic tips:

  • ensure that all your contact information is visible;
  • make sure the spelling is correct and formatting is neat;
  • try to find something about yourself that stands out; and
  • ask a person that you trust to review it for omissions or mistakes.

Your cover letter should be well written and should tell the firm a little about yourself, your differentiator and why you would like to work for the firm.  Do not spend time telling the reader what a great law firm the firm you are applying to is – they already know this.

There are numerous books and articles on the topic of writing CV’s.  Also, many university career development centres provide assistance to students in terms of writing a CV and cover letter.

 

7. Prepare well for your interviews

Just about all job interviews are stressful affairs, and the only way around this is to prepare adequately.  Research the firm and the people interviewing you (if you have this information), know what its flagship practices are, what industry it operates in, and any recent news about the firm.

Most interviews will start with the interviewer asking you about yourself – an interesting and well thought out response will set a positive tone for the interview.  The other prospective CAs will also be of a high calibre, so find something about yourself that sets you apart.

As with preparing a CV, there is a lot of information of preparing for job interviews.  One way of preparing is to have ten short pre-determined stories you can tell in response to the 10 most common interview questions.  This should be from a variety of sources (e.g. sports team, internship, travel, volunteer work…) and should all follow the format of:

  • describing the issue;
  • your solution; and
  • the result obtained.

It also helps to practice answering a few questions with a trusted person.

 

8. Apply for and participate in vacation programmes

Most of our current candidate attorneys have participated in one of our vacation programmes.  Vacation programmes are useful for a number of reasons.  First, interviews by their very nature are limited in terms of time (and hence how much one can get to know a person).  A one or two week vacation programme allows you to make a good impression with a prospective employer and show them what you are made of.  Second, a vacation programme gives you a sense of what it is like working at a particular law firm.  Not all firms are a good fit for all people, so doing vacation work at a number of places allows you to “shop around” (remember that recruitment is a two way process).  Finally, even if you are not successful in obtaining articles at a particular firm, you can include the fact that you did vacation work in your CV.

 

9. Attend career days and apply early

You should try to engage with the law firms face-to-face as often as you can.  Graduate recruiters and candidate attorneys are always willing to answer any questions that you have and it gives you a sense of the type of person who works for each firm.  This would also apply to other events that firms host at universities.

 

10. Avoid these common mistakes

Finally, there are some things that drive firms crazy (thus pushing your CV into a regret pile):

  • If you are applying to a firm, please don’t mistakenly tell us why you want to work for another firm – we will not be forwarding your application to them.
  • Include everything that is asked for in the recruitment process.  Forgetting to include your transcripts or matric certificate is sloppy and a sure way to be declined.
  • Most applications are now done online.  Make sure that your application is correctly filled out and all the information is included.  Don’t forget to hit the “apply” button!
  • Make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes in your documentation.
  • Don’t be late for an interview.  Make sure that you know where you are going and ensure that you are on time.
  • Don’t forget to dress professionally for an interview.  This includes taking care of your personal hygiene.
  • Don’t exaggerate or lie about anything on your CV – you will be found out.
  • We all try to make a positive impression at an interview.  However, don’t try to project an image of a person you are not, it’s important to find a firm whose culture you’ll fit into.

 

Entering a top tier law firm is difficult, and you will very likely experience setbacks along the way.  Don’t give up hope – it’s those who persevere who are success.

 

Ben Raffray, Professional Development Manager, Fasken Martineau

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