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  • Industry

    Where did the “One-Third Allowance” go?

    By the end of 1974, the Law Society by-law established that a maximum one-third allowance on fees to correspondents was permitted but not compulsory. Today, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, there are no one-third allowances granted by the correspondent attorney. Most newbie practitioners are oblivious to the one-third allowance and how to account for it. In practice, the correspondent attorney invoices the instructing attorney for the full fee. In turn, the instructing attorney recovers the full fee from the client and then pays the correspondent attorney two thirds thereof. The correspondent attorney should then send a credit note for the one-third which would then allow both practices to round off their books. In some instances, a referee attorney will invoice a client directly. In this scenario, the referring firm would invoice the referee firm. The challenge in this relationship is keeping track of both the quality of work as well as the fees invoiced as the respective firms have different books of accounts which are not accessible between the firms. Linklawyer provides a common bookkeeping and document management portal for referred clients which are accessible by both the instructing/referring attorneys and the correspondent/referee attorneys. Linklawyer further…

  • Industry

    Unravelling the Legal Practice Act

    We, at Linklawyer, know how difficult it is for small and solo practitioners (SSPs) to keep abreast of professional developments and governance while juggling court appearances, urgent applications, and demanding clients. Large firms have dedicated resources to not only monitor but also voice their interests, which often differ markedly from those of SSPs. We’ve initiated the Linklawyer blog so that we can keep SSPs in the loop by providing concise and informative articles about new developments and the things that matter, and to collate, voice and lobby for such interests. First on our agenda is to present a series of articles on the Legal Practice Act. Our aim is to keep our followers updated on new legal developments and to identify and address the more salient features of the LPA. The Legal Practice Act came into partial effect in February 2019. This spells significant changes for legal practitioners who will all have to adapt very quickly to adjust to the new regulations or face punitive action. The LPA is the first piece of legislation to regulate all legal practitioners, candidate legal practitioners, and juristic entities in South African history. This new development has left many of us scratching our heads…

  • Industry

    What Makes Lawyers Happy? It’s Not What You Think

    By Paula Davis-Laack Happy lawyer – sounds like an oxymoron, right? Having practiced law for seven years, I can’t think of many of my colleagues who I would classify as happy, or even mildly enthusiastic. More troubling, when I ask my lawyer audiences how many would pick this profession if they had to do it all over again, very few hands go up. The law is a well-regarded profession (despite all of the lawyer jokes you hear) that affords most in it a very comfortable income, prestige and respect – something is missing. I recently spoke at a conference on lawyer well-being and was thrilled to co-present with one of my favorite law professors, Larry Krieger. Krieger, together with social scientist Ken Sheldon, authored a groundbreaking study examining lawyer satisfaction. They discovered that the things that lawyers think will make them happy long-term in the profession (e.g., money, prestige, making partner, status) are exactly the opposite of what actually does lead to well-being in the law, and scientifically, have little to no correlation with happiness. Rather, it’s these three pathways that most strongly correlate with long-term well-being:…

  • Industry

    Taking Legal Practice into the 21st Century

    ~ by Stephen Wingate-Pearse I recently came across a body of research, commissioned by the South African Law Society, and conducted by Lexis Nexis, the results of which I found fascinating.  Whilst the research was done in 2016, it is my considered opinion that the outcomes are that much more relevant in the current lexicon.   The research established a genuinely reflective “picture” in terms of inter aliageographical, race, earnings and gender demographics for the profession.  In brief, most lawyers operate within small firms or sole practitioners – the vast majority(72%) of the 12 373 law firms in South Africa are made up of organisations that employ one to ten staff including professionals and support staff.  Of the 72%, 47% is made up of sole practitioners!  Coupled with the information that the majority of lawyers bill less than R1 000 per hour, – this is a startling finding indeed!It appears that most lawyers are putting in a great deal of work, with non-concomitant rewards.   Additionally, it appears that the industry has thoroughly embraced technology to further their growth trajectories.  This is illustrated by 37% of respondents, indicating that either a director or equity partner conducts their own research with…

  • Industry

    Sharing Office Space: A Smart Choice for aspiring specialist legal practitioners

    It’s tough practising law as an independent practitioner. The considerable outlay involved in setting up, and the overheads and time involved in managing a practice, fall squarely on your shoulders.