By Harms SC, Ed

Television series, such as LA Law, created the impression that the legal profession comprises:

  1. Extremely attractive people;
  2. Exciting drama in court; and
  3. Earning lots of money.

That is simply devoid of the truth but for the few elite. But you fell for it, or will. Your average lawyer is in fact Rumpole:1

COMPLETING HIGH SCHOOL AND DECIDING TO GO FOR LAW

You fall in one of the following categories:

  1. Your parents wanted you to become a doctor but your marks were too bad.
  2. You are LA law inspired.
  3. You are too stupid to study anything else and a basic law degree is a dawdle and the entry requirements are low.
  4. You are really interested in the law because you want to go and prove something – proving something to whom?

THE REALITY

  1. Demand outstrips supply. There are too many lawyers, and the imbalance is ever increasing.
  2. So what happens?
    1. The clever and the bright specialise:
    2. by, for example, studying engineering or chemistry degrees over and above the law qualifications and become patent solicitors and make good money – 12 years later.
    3. Or, doing the same and write the Bar exams and do their pupillage2 and forge a good career at the Bar and at a good set of chambers.
    4. Then, for the rest, the rat race is on: Becoming an attorney or solicitor
      1. You will try and get articles3 at a solicitor firm. If your marks were krap you won’t get it.
      2. In any event, you are in a long queue and the chances are that the others have better marks or more specialist degrees (over and above the basic LLB, e.g. an LLM in labour law).
      3. This is the called the pub penalty for you thinking in the bar about LA Law instead of studying.
      4. If you get articles you will probably fail the solicitors society exams at least once.
      5. The chance that you will become a partner in the near future and share in the spoils are zero.
      6. You are doomed to consult with assholes and writing letters because you will always be behind with your work. And the files keep on piling up on your desk like a skewed pyramid and a travesty of justice on your office floor.
      7. You are paper toast.
      8. Tip: get a blow-up matrass and sleep in your office. That is if you can blow it up; because by now you are probably a chain smoker. If there is no shower at the office go to a gym – which you won’t cause you are stuffed; so bucket/hospital wash in the toilets. The one for disabled people is usually the cleanest. Trust me.
      9. Consolation: you normally get medical aid and some ridiculous benefits as part of your small salary package. At least you get a salary.
        Becoming counsel (barrister)
      10. This is a walk into the wilderness, unless you are very well connected or of financial means.
      11. And since Latin has been dropped as a “weeding-out” requirement every one passes the 4-year LLB – which is no longer recognized anywhere abroad = krap. Becoming something else
      12. Become a tradesperson. Plumber etc and you are NOT only wanted everywhere BUT will make $$$.

Footnotes
1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mortimer.
2 Apprenticeship.
3 Apprenticeship.

Lifes Choices

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