Where Are Lawyers Most in Demand | Regenesys

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The work of lawyers affects all facets of society, as Lawyersnjurists.com. points out You get up in the morning and out of bed. Chances are you bought that bed somewhere, so the law of contract, which governs sales, has something to do with it. The bed is standing in a flat or house, which is either rented – linking it to the law on lease agreements –  or owned, linking it to property law. You take a shower, which means you may  have a service agreement with your utilities provider, who ensures that there is water in the pipe leading to your home.

You get dressed. This may relate to the law of contract concerning how you bought the clothes you wear, property law concerning how you’re allowed to do with them as you please, and your employment contract, which may govern what you wear.

IN THIS ARTICLE:

  • Using one’s law degree
  • Prime practice areas for Bachelor of Laws degree holders
  • Bachelor of law careers

Using one’s law degree

In South Africa, there are two levels at which one can use one’s law degree to practice as a lawyer: as an attorney, or as an advocate. An attorney can be an in-house advisor, or can practice privately in a law firm. Advocates, on the other hand, usually stand before a judge to argue a case (Political Analysis, 2022). Advocates generally need skills to present and argue cases in court, while attorneys mostly use their general knowledge of the law to consult with their clients and give legal advice (Van der Merwe, 2022).

Lawyers represent many different fields of expertise in South Africa. Demand is high for civil litigation lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, labour and employment lawyers, foreclosure lawyers, intellectual property lawyers, defamation lawyers, mergers and acquisition lawyers, medical lawyers, family lawyers, social security disability lawyers, general practice lawyers, and traffic lawyers. All are trained as legal experts in their respective fields.

Like other economic activities, the legal profession is regulated by supply and demand. Kudiabor (2021) notes that demand for lawyers is influenced by human interaction – lawyers are required to resolve everyday human interaction and conflict.

Prime practice areas for Bachelor of Laws degree holders

The most highly sought after areas of practice for Bachelor of Laws (LLB) graduates are in:

Family law

    • South African family law is concerned with legal rules pertaining to familial relationships (Robinson et al, 2016). It may be defined as “that subdivision of material private law which researches, describes and regulates the origin, contents and dissolution of all legal relationships between: (i) husband and wife (including the parties to a civil union); (ii) parents, guardians (and other holders of parental rights and responsibilities) and children; and (iii) relatives related through blood and affinity
    • While StatsSA figures released in 2021 show South Africa’s divorce rate has continued the downward trend first seen in 2010,  a great need remains for lawyers to resolve disputes concerning marriages, divorces, maintenance, custody and other domestic issues.

Employment law

    • The rate of labour litigation in South Africa is particularly high. There are a number of reasons for this, starting with Section 34 of the constitution, which provides that everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of the law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or an independent and impartial tribunal (Hogan Lovells, 2018).
    • The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and Labour Courts were established to resolve labour disputes. CCMA arbitrations provide independent and impartial tribunals. The employment tribunal is obliged to ensure that the proceedings before it are always fair, as per Section 23 of the constitution, which guarantees everyone the right to fair labour practices.

bachelor of laws

Property law

    • South African property law regulates the “rights of people in or over certain objects or things”. It is concerned with a person’s ability to act, with regard to different kinds of property, in accordance with South African law (Mostert et al, 2016). LLB degree holders are needed to draft documents involving movable, immovable and personal property, and to litigate disputes over it.
    • Immovable or fixed property includes land and objects permanently attached to the land. 
    • Personal property includes cars, bank accounts, wages, small businesses, furniture, insurance policies, jewellery, and patents. Pets and season tickets for rugby are also examples of personal property, which is also referred to as personal effects or movable property (Bregman Moodley Attorneys, nd).

Criminal law

      • Criminal law is the body of law that defines criminal offences, regulates the apprehension, charging, and trial of suspects, and fixes penalties for convicted offenders (Norton & Jescheck, nd).
      • South Africa’s high crime rate requires the intervention of criminal law practitioners. BusinessTech (2022) reported 6,424 murders in the first quarter of the 2022-2023 financial year alone – up 12,6% on year-earlier figures – accompanied by an increase in the number of cash-in-transit heists, car and truck hijacking, robbery, and commercial crime.  Given that in South Africa all accused of crime are innocent until proven guilty and have a right to a fair trial, this automatically pushes up demand in this area of law.

Bachelor of law careers

There are many other areas of practice you might consider when you are thinking about what bachelor of law career you might pursue – intellectual property, maritime law, environmental law, and tax law, to name a few. But if it’s evergreen demand you want for your skills, given human nature and the rights enshrined in our constitution, the biggest demand for law in South Africa remains in the fields of family, employment, property and career law.

References

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Kevin Malunga
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Advocate Kevin Malunga LLM, LLB Academic Head: Bachelor of Laws Regenesys Business School

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Advocate Kevin Malunga LLM, LLB Academic Head: Bachelor of Laws Regenesys Business School

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