South African law covers all internationally recognised fields of the law. To qualify to become an attorney, strict courses spanning over a few years are followed covering all the fields of speciality. After they have obtained their degree, they have to do practical training for a specified period. Only then can they register at the Board of Attorneys. Any person therefore needing an attorney can be assured that the attorney will possess the necessary knowledge required in their field.
Selecting an attorney will greatly depend on the reason you require an attorney as attorneys have certain fields in which they specialize. With that information at hand, you can proceed to contacting the relevant attorney.
Law Society of South Africa
All qualified attorneys are screened and registered at the Law Society of South Africa. This should be your first point of contact. By phoning or emailing them, they can provide you with a list of available attorneys in your area. Always select a registered attorney to protect your rights as client. The Law Society will only provide you with contact details of reputable attorneys.
Attorneys can also register at various firms and organisations practising in their field of speciality. The Law Society of South Africa will also provide you with lists of such organisations.
One such type of organisation is a Legal Aid Clinic. Candidate attorneys need to have a certain amount of practical training before they can write the Board exams. They have the option to work for 3 years at a recognised legal aid clinic before qualifying as a practicing attorney. Legal aid clinics offer legal services at a reduced cost or cost free if you meet certain requirements. The candidate attorney is forced to deliver work of high quality or else they may not be recommended at the Law Society to take their examination.
Various boards of practising professionals
Just as attorneys need to register at a society of legal practitioners, many other professionals are required to register at a board in their field of practice. Health workers are required to register at the Board for Medical Practitioners, teachers register at the Board of Education, people working with loans and insurance need to register at the Board for Financial Service Providers.
These are just three examples. To protect the practitioner and their individual professions, it is necessary for them to register at the various boards. If you have a grievance against a certain professional, you can contact the relevant board where that person or practice is registered. The board will then provide you with attorneys that handle cases pertaining to that practice.
The benefit to this is that the selected attorney will be experienced in handling practice specific cases and work closely with specialists in that field. You can be sure to get quality assistance.
One of the best ways to select an attorney is by word of mouth from previous clients. The reputation of an attorney precedes his work and to the law profession, reputation is everything. It is therefore always helpful to ask previous clients, where you are allowed to, on their experiences with the service.