Towards improving the corporate lawyering skills base in South Africa through vocational education

Authors: Jessica Blignaut, Jonathan Klaaren and Jean Milner

ISSN: 1996-2193
Affiliations: BA (Hons) LLB LLM (UCT); BA (Harvard) MA (UCT) JD (Columbia) LLB (Wits) PhD (Yale), Professor, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand; BA LLB (UCT) LLM (American University) LLM (UP)
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 34 Issue 1, 2023, p. 101 – 121


Increased attention to vocational education in both law firms and in law schools in South Africa can improve the skills base in the legal services sector by upskilling junior attorneys. The location for this series of interventions should be in law practice and in law schools. We situate our discussion in the global literature of corporate lawyering, including some studies on legal services in Brazil. This contribution sketches the corporate lawyering vocational education which South African law graduates receive from law schools during an undergraduate law degree and the ad hoc practical training they may subsequently receive at law firms. Finally, it identifies and develops several options for improving South Africa’s corporate lawyering skills base, including experiential learning, the use of case studies, law school teaching partnerships with practitioners, and expanded clinical offerings