Rising Demand for LLB Degree in South Africa | Regenesys Law School

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In the diverse and dynamic educational as well as social and political landscapes of South Africa, and Southern Africa in general, the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree holds a unique position that means it is much sought after. That is for several reasons that will be discussed below.

South Africa, as a constitutional democracy, has as one of its foundational pillars a set of laws and indeed a fundamental set of laws in the Constitution itself, which means that students and graduates who hold an esteemed LLB degree have been shaping the course of South African justice for decades. 

In the past, prospective law students only had a handful of academic institutions to which they could apply to read their Bachelor of Laws degree. This led to the degree itself, owing to issues around racial exclusion, academic exclusivity, and a lack of resources and spaces resulting in the Bachelor of Law becoming almost unattainable to many withing the country. With the arrival of the fully accredited four-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree to the academic portfolio of Regenesys, this has changed, as too is the face of the legal profession in South Africa. 

However, given the ever-evolving socio-economic conditions and educational trends within the country, the question mut and does arise – is the LLB degree still in high demand in South Africa? 

In this blog, we will discuss

  • The demand for the LLB degree in South Africa
  • The reasons behind the popularity of the LLB degree
  • How one goes about earning an LLB degree 
  • The many career possibilities an LLB degree offers its holder
  • Can I study an LLB at Regenesys, and what sets the Regenesys LLB degree apart?

The Demand for the LLB Degree in South Africa

At the outset, we can say even a cursory glance at the news media that there is a consistent and vigorous demand for legal professionals in South Africa. This demand is for the most part a result of the complex legal landscape of the country, as well as its economy, and its dynamics around issues of social change. The legacy of apartheid, ongoing issues around concepts like land reform and state capture, and the development of a constitutional democracy have all contributed to a South Africa now operating in an environment which could be termed legally unique. This then requires South African legal professionals and graduates who are well trained not only in various aspects of law, but also who are in possession of a high level of emotional, cultural, and spiritual, agile as well as the more traditional mental intelligences. 

The reasons behind the popularity of the LLB degree

Whilst the list of reasons as to why the LLB is so incredibly popular in South Africa could be seen as non-exhaustive, the author has identified three key aspects that speak to this point: the South African legal system’s level of complexity, South Africa’s complicated economic development, and the evolving societal landscape that is dominant in South Africa. All three of these broad-stroke points are indicative as to why successful LLB graduates and holders are required within the country.

  1. Legal System’s Complexity: The author will assume for this point that the reader is in possession of a working knowledge of the complex layers of South African history that have preceded the advent of the land’s constitutional democracy. Apartheid’s heinous effect on law, the rule of law, the development of law and the judicial interpretation of the law was all-pervasive through the country’s systems. After the interim Constitution of 1993 simultaneously ushered in a democratic framework, but also introduced an interplay of pre- and post-apartheid laws. This created a, incredibly complex legal framework that required – and still requires – skilled legal practitioners to navigate. As South Africa continues to grapple with these issues, particularly in areas such as land restitution and state capture, the need for legal professionals remains high.
  2. Economic Development: As the South African economy has developed, it has necessitated a deep integration into the world market. Legal expertise, and specifically within the spheres of international, Commercial, and other legal subjects, are crucial. Corporations and small businesses alike require legal practitioners with unique acumen to navigate the complex world of the law of contract, international law, cyber law, privacy, and intellectual property to succeed in their endeavours. This, by definition, requires more and more skills individuals who hold an LLB degree to assist these businesses to do so.
  3. Evolving Societal Landscape: Almost 30 years on from the implementation of a democratic and constitutional form of government and law in South Africa, it is a harsh and sad reality that it still requires an immense amount of social change, right the way through its various strata, be they within business, social development, education, and the like. Social change continues to require the need for legal practitioners with a strong sense of social justice and a vision that includes equality and liberty for all South Africa’s people. Thus, the demand for legal practitioners who can and will advocate for the vulnerable and disenfranchised, of which there are too many to be found in South Africa. In the face of such inequality, the need for LLB graduates continues and will continue to grow. 

How one goes about earning an LLB degree 

Earning an LLB degree in South Africa is a rigorous process that demands extreme commitment and dedication from those who embark upon it. The journey typically starts with a four-year undergraduate LLB programme from an accredited institution, normally a university.

Alternatively, some students opt for what has often been referred to as a ‘two-tier’ journey, and they complete a three-year bachelor’s degree (such as a Bachelor of Arts of Bachelor of Commerce), followed by a two-year postgraduate LLB programme.

After graduating, aspiring attorneys are required to serve articles of clerkship for two years with a practicing attorney, or to complete a one-year Legal Practice Course. This practical experience is capped by admission examinations (often referred to as ‘the bar exam’) conducted by the Legal Practice Council, after which one can register as an attorney or advocate.

SEE ALSO: Are you a lawyer after an LLB?

The many career possibilities an LLB degree offers its holder

One of primary appeals (and we have seen that there are many) of an LLB degree is the wide range of career paths it offers. Traditional legal careers such as attorney, advocate, prosecutor, or magistrate remain popular in South Africa

But there is also a professional career that exists beyond the traditional; beyond the courtroom. Specifically sought after, corporate environments require such graduates with a law degree in the form of legal advisors or compliance officers, guiding businesses with sound legal advice. In the world of academics, LLB graduates can contribute as lecturers or researchers, shaping the next generation of legal professionals and contributing to South Africa’s legal scholarship.

Roles in government agencies and non-governmental organizations are also available to graduates with an LLB. Concepts like policy development, advocacy, and social justice work all require LLB holders. 

Additionally, the media industry offers opportunities in legal journalism and broadcasting, while the emerging legal technology sector seeks law graduates comfortable at the intersection of law and technology.

Can I study an LLB at Regenesys, and what sets the Regenesys LLB degree apart?

The answer to this question is yes. But first, despite the evident demand for an LLB degree in South Africa, potential students should be aware of the challenges. These include issues of accessibility, inclusivity, working conditions, and job market saturation. However, considering the breadth of opportunity, societal impact, and intellectual stimulation a law career offers, an LLB degree remains a compelling choice for many. 

This is why Regenesys embarked upon receiving its fully accredited four-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme, and, since January of 2023, the roll-out of South Africa’s newest LLB programme began – to much success.

Of course, the Regenesys Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) develops understanding of legal processes, methodologies, and principles enshrined in the Constitution. The LLB also explores analytical and critical thinking skills, and professional communication skills which are required to develop well-rounded graduates to excel across a multitude of legal career paths. But there is so much more Regenesys Law School offers its students and its graduates.

In the words of Regenesys founder and Chairperson, Dr Marko Saravanja, “A Regenesys law degree is profoundly transformational, developing smart, fearless, purpose-driven lawyers committed to creating a just world.” This follows because of Regenesys commitment to holistic development. You can read more about this revolutionary approach here.

Conclusion

To conclude, the LLB degree’s demand in South Africa is buoyed by the nation’s complex legal system, economic development, and evolving societal needs. The journey to earning this degree is challenging yet rewarding, offering an array of career possibilities in and beyond the traditional legal field. The Regenesys LLB degree is, for the reasons discussed above, the pinnacle of legal education. The LLB degree is without doubt much in demand, but the Regenesys LLB degree will set its graduates apart, preparing hem to change South Africa, the continent, and the world!

NOW READ: How much do beginner lawyers make in South Africa?

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Mark Wasserman

LLB Head of Strategic Communications | Regenesys Business School A lawyer by training, Mr Wasserman worked as a journalist and editor for a range of publications prior to joining Regenesys as a senior editor. He indulges both his creative and analytical mind teaching part time on Regenesys’ LLB programme, which has rapidly become his first love.

Author

LLB Head of Strategic Communications | Regenesys Business School A lawyer by training, Mr Wasserman worked as a journalist and editor for a range of publications prior to joining Regenesys as a senior editor. He indulges both his creative and analytical mind teaching part time on Regenesys’ LLB programme, which has rapidly become his first love.

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