How to Become a Corporate Lawyer in 6 Steps: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals in South Africa

Are you passionate about law and business? Do you envision yourself representing corporations in legal matters? If you’re in South Africa and these questions resonate with you, a career as a corporate lawyer might be the perfect fit. Becoming a corporate lawyer in South Africa involves rigorous academic preparation, professional training, and practical experience. Here’s a detailed guide to becoming a corporate lawyer in South Africa in just six steps.

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How to Become a Corporate Lawyer in 6 Steps: South Africa

To become a corporate lawyer in South Africa, start by obtaining a National Senior Certificate (Matric Certificate) with strong marks in subjects like English and Mathematics. Then, pursue a four-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at an accredited university. After that, complete Practical Legal Training (PLT), which can be a six-month full-time or one-year part-time course. Subsequently, pass the Admission Examinations and serve a two-year articles of clerkship under a practising attorney. Finally, register with the Legal Practice Council to become a licensed attorney, and then gain specialised experience in corporate law.

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Step 1: Obtain Your Matric Certificate

Before you embark on a legal career, completing your secondary education is essential. You’ll need a National Senior Certificate (Matric Certificate) with good marks, especially in subjects like English and Mathematics, to qualify for a law degree at a university.

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Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

After completing your Matric, enrol in a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme at an accredited South African university. This is a four-year full-time course that will equip you with the foundational knowledge in law.

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Step 3: Complete Practical Legal Training (PLT)

After earning your LLB degree, the next crucial step is to undergo Practical Legal Training (PLT). PLT helps you acquire the practical skills needed to practise law successfully. You can opt for a six-month full-time course or a year-long part-time course.

NB: View All Law Courses From Universities Here

Step 4: Pass the Admission Exams

Before you can practise as an attorney in South Africa, you must pass the Admission Examinations. These exams evaluate your practical competence in the procedural and substantive law. It’s advisable to take these exams after completing your PLT.

Step 5: Serve Articles of Clerkship

After passing the Admission Exams, you need to serve articles of clerkship for two years under the guidance of a practising attorney. This period serves as an internship where you gain hands-on experience in the legal world.

Step 6: Register with the Legal Practice Council

Once you complete your articles of clerkship and have passed the Admission Exams, you’re eligible to register as an attorney with the Legal Practice Council in South Africa. Registration confirms your legal credentials and enables you to practise law in South Africa.

Specialise in Corporate Law

After becoming an attorney, you can specialise in corporate law by gaining experience in areas like mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, compliance, and corporate governance. Many lawyers also opt for postgraduate studies in corporate law to bolster their expertise.

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Conclusion

If you’re committed to both law and the intricacies of the business world, becoming a corporate lawyer in South Africa can be a rewarding career. It offers both intellectual challenges and significant financial rewards. The road may be long and demanding, but with dedication, you can climb the corporate legal ladder and make a meaningful impact in the South African business community.

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