Articles

What is the big A all about?

No, we’re not talking about the big apple. We’re referring to articles or clerkship. The Attorneys Act, 53 of 1979, defines “articles” or “articles of clerkship” as a contract in writing under which any person is bound to serve an attorney for a specified period in accordance with this Act. It is intended as a training period or internship during which a candidate attorney, having completed an LLB degree, is to work under the direct supervision of a senior attorney to get exposure to different areas of law and various types of legal matters. Coupled with the prescribed practical legal training course of candidate attorneys and the admission exams, this is a rewarding but demanding and challenging period.

By the way – you probabaly know that “The Big Apple" is a nickname for New York City, but did you know that it was first popularised in the 1920s by John J. Fitz Gerald, a sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. (Wikipedia)

How many candidate attorneys does the firm employ on an annual basis?

We employ more than 35 candidate attorneys per year.

What do candidate attorneys at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr earn?

We offer an attractive and market-related remuneration package.

In addition to a competitive salary, the following benefits apply to our candidate attorneys:

  • Free parking at our offices
  • Daily lunch in our cafeteria
  • A laptop to use (but not to own!)
  • Paid study leave
  • Medical aid and provident fund
  • Study and training material as part of a well-structured in-house training programme

Read more about our offering.

What do we offer candidate attorneys?

We offer an environment where graduates are given every opportunity and the means to reach their full potential through, for example:

  • Well structured in-house training and skills development programmes
  • Real experience working with world-class companies on quality matters and transactions
  • Opportunities to work and train in diverse teams of like-minded lawyers - some of the best in the world
  • Access to the most up-to-date legal information resources, systems, documents, precedents and global best practices
  • Professional skills development and access to a wealth of expertise, experience and knowledge from across the globe
  • Regular evaluation to help you realise your potential and career goals
  • Opportunities to forge meaningful relationships with your local community through voluntary and pro bono work

How do I register my contract of articles of clerkship with the Law Society?

We will attend to all administration in regard to the registration of your contract and you screening interview.

What do I need to know about the admission exams or board exams for candidate attorneys?

For purposes of being admitted as an attorney, candidate attorneys are required to attend a practical legal training course and to pass four prescribed admission exams (dealing with, for example, bookkeeping for attorneys, wills and estates, court procedures, ethics etc).

For more information about the law Society of South Africa's legal education and development initiatives visit the L.E.A.D website: www.lssalead.org.za.

Do we assist our candidate attorneys in registering for and passing the attorneys admission examinations?

Yes. We offer an accredited in-house training programme for candidate attorneys in preparation for the admission exams. Lectures are presented by senior attorneys and associates who are experts in their fields. We also make past papers and memorandums available to all candidate attorneys. 

We offer sufficient study leave to assist our candidate attorneys to prepare for the examinations.

Are candidate attorneys involved in any firm activities and/or events?

Yes, it’s not all work.

We involve our candidate attorneys in a variety of client events, graduate recruitment initiatives at universities as well as internal firm events (i.e. charity events, sports events and social activities in the office). See our "more than just work" tour.

Am I required to have a motor vehicle to be employed as a Candidate Attorney?

No. We do require all our Candidate Attorneys to have a driver's licence.

Want to know what our candidate attorneys have to say about articles of clerkship?

The most challenging and rewarding aspect of being a candidate attorney:

 "Starting your professional career can be a daunting thing – new working environment, unfamiliar faces, and for some, a new city. This can make starting your articles quite daunting, as you are bound to feel overwhelmed. However, the firm embraces an open-door policy and there is always someone available to assist you with any query that you may have."

 

"Prospective CAs coming into the profession must be mindful of the fact that adjusting to life as a young professional will be challenging and therefore, it is important to fully embrace the opportunity from Day 1.  I have always followed the advice of my tennis idol, Novak Djokovic: "I think luck falls on not just the brave but also the ones who believe they belong there".  Don’t forget that you are never insignificant. You have achieved a lot thus far and you will achieve more if you believe in yourself."

 

"It is incredible how much knowledge and experience I have attained in my first year of articles. It has been interesting working with different people and being exposed to the variety of work I have been involved in."

 

"The most rewarding part of my first year as a CA was and continues to be the teachings of my directors and associates and the constant learning to which I have been exposed."

 Is articles all work and no play?

"Not at all, and it doesn’t have to be! The aim is to work hard and smart, so that you can have a work-life balance. Luckily, the firm really encourages this with the various events that it plans throughout the year so that everyone who works hard is rewarded with tons of fun."

 

"No, there are times when there is play, obviously it’s a lot about hard work though."

 

"Articles is a lot of hard work but that is not the only thing that happens. Life is about balance and one needs to strive to find a balance between work and play. The various events that the 1st year candidate attorneys get to plan and be involved in are a great way to have some fun."

 

"Absolutely not, being an extreme introvert, I have realised that there is a lot of work but also a bit of play just to maintain the balance. The play aspect helps one to remain sane and interact with fellow candidate attorneys who can relate with the daily challenges that we are often faced with. I have also realised that among our group genuine friendships have developed, which goes beyond passing one another in the corridors or sitting together in the dining hall and that makes the experience of being a candidate attorney enjoyable."

 

"If you want articles to be all work and no play, then articles will be all work and no play. Invest in yourself, and make an effort to keep yourself happy!".