- Education Law Specialist, Pinnock Consulting
- Head of the Western Cape Education Ministry, Western Cape Government
- Senior Associate, Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys.
How I obtained my current position
After regularly checking the vacancy lists published online by the Western Cape Government (http://www.westerncape.gov.za/jobs), I became aware of a number of legal positions that had become available within government. I applied online and subsequently completed a rigorous selection process (including competency assessments and a panel interview). I was appointed shortly after my panel interview.
How my qualification relates to my work
Without my law degree and without being admitted as an attorney, I would not have been eligible for my current position.
My law degree is particularly relevant to the work that I do as a State Law Advisor, as it has ensured that I have a comprehensive understanding of how the government is structured and how the government should operate, particularly when the rights of citizens are affected.
Skills that have contributed to my success
Some skills that I have developed since graduating and which have contributed to my development as a legal professional working in government include:
- An ability to research complex legal topics thoroughly and efficiently;
- Good time management skills;
- An ability to communicate and educate people about the law in plain language; and
- An ability to develop practical solutions for clients in line with the law.
As a State Law Advisor in the newly-established Legal Compliance Unit in the Western Cape Government, I work with a team of other State Law Advisors to:
- Develop and facilitate workshops for government officials that are focused on a range of legal topics, including administrative justice and public procurement;
- Develop and distribute useful legal resources for government officials to ensure that they are kept updated on legal developments;
- Review and provide input on decision-making processes within government departments; and
- Provide ad hoc legal support to government departments on a range of legal compliance matters.
Best & most challenging parts of my job
The best part of my job is seeing the positive impact that our work can have on the capacity of government to make decisions that are in line with the law and that protect and promote the rights of citizens.
The most challenging part of my job is getting through the huge workload under significant time pressures and with very limited resources.
Involvement at UCT
I was an active member of Amnesty International UCT and UCT RAG. I also served on the Law Students’ Council in the UCT Law Faculty.
How I made use of the Careers Service
I regularly read career development material issued by the UCT Careers Service.
Getting a competitive edge while at UCT
Use your time at university to get the best academic results possible. These will always stand you in good stead, particularly when trying to secure a job interview.
Take advantage of the student and community-based activities available to you. These activities can open your mind to new ideas, provide you with opportunities to develop your interpersonal skills and offer you good networking opportunities.
Do as much vacation work as is possible during your time at university. Vacation work can offer you the opportunity to explore different avenues within the legal fraternity. Vacation work opportunities at a law firm, a non-governmental organisation or government office would be particularly beneficial to someone who wishes to pursue a career in law.
Advice for graduates entering the world of work
Be patient with yourself and the industry you find yourself in. Work hard, perform consistently at a high level and remain open to learning at every opportunity. Consider asking someone with experience in your industry to mentor you during the early years of your career.