So, you’ve been watching SUITS and have decided to become a lawyer? Who wouldn’t want to be the next Harvey Specter or Jessica Pearson – looking suave and glamorous, eating at the best restaurants, arguing fluently in court, and solving client’s problems? But is that really what a career as a lawyer is cut out to be? Let’s unpack this further!.
The terms Lawyer and Attorney are used interchangeably in South Africa – both refer to a person who has successfully completed a law qualification, completed their practical vocational training and succeeded in passing the competency based examinations. More about that later.
An Advocate is different from a lawyer and is an expert in the art of presenting and arguing cases in court – much like Harvey Specter.
Pursuing a career in law requires commitment from the outset – to achieve the necessary qualifications and to work in the field. Lawyers often work long hours and are usually held to account for a high percentage of billable hours when they work in practice. Having a legal qualification does, however, equip you for several different opportunities, you don’t necessarily have to practice as a lawyer.