Is law right for me?

professionals coming down on escalators with green background

Choosing law as a career can be rewarding and exciting but it also requires hard work, dedication and a high level of commitment.

The legal industry in South Africa is exceptionally competitive and there are many different career paths to choose from.

Our legal experts at Robert Walters have highlighted the basic career options available.


Legal career options in South Africa

There are various career options for lawyers in South Africa - you can either be admitted as an attorney and/or as an advocate. Attorneys will have good working knowledge of all aspects of the law. They work in law firms and are the initial legal contact for a client with a legal dispute or problem.  

Choosing law as a career can be rewarding and exciting but it also requires hard work, dedication and a high level of commitment.

Attorneys brief advocates if the matter is referred  to court and is not able to be settled on the papers.  Attorneys in South Africa are also able to appear in court and represent clients should they have their right of appearance which can be applied for.  

Advocates specialises  in specific legal fields and will argue legal matters in front of a judge should the matters be referred to court for argument and/or hearing.

In-house vs private practice

However, law graduates, once admitted as attorneys and with the required post qualification experience usually end up becoming in-house legal advisors within a legal department of a company or working  within a private practice law firm.

In-house legal work usually gets outsourced to legal professionals who are within private practice.

There is no right or wrong answer in terms of which is a better career move as both in-house and private practice roles offer different elements and pros and cons. You will find many arguments for and against both options.

If you would like to discuss your career in more detail, please contact our legal recruitment team and they will be happy to talk to you.

What is your earning potential as a lawyer in South Africa?

Download the Robert Walters Salary Checker App on iOS, or download the latest Robert Walters Salary Survey to find out.

Looking to make the next move in your legal career? Search all our current legal jobs available.

Or if you have a friend looking for a new job, why not be rewarded for recommending Robert Walters? Learn more about our excellent referral scheme and refer your friend today.

For more career advice please contact:

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
+27 (0) 11 881 2414

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