Gregory Solik

Current Job: 
Pupil advocate at the Cape Bar
Leave your ego at the door.

Previous job(s):

  • Research and advocacy work with My Vote Counts and Ndifuna Ukwazi
  • Clerk at the Constitutional Court
  • Law articles at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
  • Studying at the University of Melbourne on a UCT bursary for 6 months 

How did you obtain your current position?

I decided to come to the Cape Bar after experiencing various jobs in the legal sector. The independence of the Bar, the opportunity to research and write on a wide variety of legal issues, as well as the opportunity to partake in public interest litigation meant that the Bar best suited my personality and interests.

What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?

I think the key skill I value most which I learnt predominantly but not exclusively at law school was to read widely and thinking critically about the issues I'm confronted with, and when dealing with an issue, to confront and test my own argument from as many angles as possible in order to formulate a strong position.

What are your day-to-day activities?

Research, drafting, consulting with clients and appearing in court.

What are the best and most challenging parts of your job?

The best and most challenging task of advocacy work is building solid legal foundations for your clients both on paper, and in court. 

How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?

Don’t waste your time trying to get a competitive edge in anything during your 20s. Invest all your time in figuring out what you are passionate about, and then pursue that with every bit of sinew you have in you. The later you start that process, the more trouble you will run into. Just be honest with yourself. What are your gifts? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Experiment. Try things. But give them a proper go. And once you find something that sticks, then go for it. Go be the best at that. Being at university gives you the opportunity to read and talk and listen. So read widely and think hard before you choose.

In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?

Careers are 21st century inventions, and you should avoid wanting one.

Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?

Leave your ego at the door. The lower down you start, the better. Don’t skip the shit. Learn to make good coffee. Dive into it. The temptation is to try and get a job where you can earn good money early. That’s a trap. What you have not experienced you do not know. Invest in experience for a decade and the money will come tenfold in the future.