A new survey of South Africa’s legal professionals, including over 500 attorneys, has revealed a notable increase in their confidence regarding the Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB).
The third quarter survey conducted by PPS, the financial services provider focused on graduate professionals, found that 30% of respondents believe the current LLB degree prepares prospective practitioners sufficiently to enter and succeed in the attorney’s profession, up 10 percentage points from the second quarter survey.
Gerhard Joubert, Head of Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at PPS, notes that while the figure is still quite low, it is incredibly positive to see legal professionals have gained confidence in the degree.
The survey also revealed some interesting findings around other profession specific issues. When asked whether pro-bono work should be a requirement for all in the legal profession in the future dispensation, an increase of six percentage points was recorded quarter-on-quarter to 60%.
“It is pleasing to note that the value and necessity of pro bono work is on the increase, as this remains a cornerstone to a fair and democratic legal system. Given the socio-economic demographics in South Africa, the need for free legal advice remains of paramount importance, in addition to providing valuable experience to legal professionals,” says Joubert.
Other results from the survey revealed a two percentage point decline quarter-on-quarter in the confidence of the efficiency of the court and justice administration system to 53%. The figure is still relatively low and mirrors similar concerns amongst the public, says Joubert. “Other studies have revealed a similar level of confidence among the general public in the court system, with the recently published Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) South African Social Attitude Survey 2012 showing the public’s confidence in the court system had fallen to 50% from 57% in 2009.”
Further results revealed that 54% of respondents believe that wills and estates should be reserved for attorneys only, a decline of five percentage points, while 56% of respondents said they believed the split profession, attorneys and advocates, increases legal costs unnecessarily.
Joubert notes that it is incredibly positive that a confidence level of 74% was recorded when Attorneys were asked about their confidence in the future of their profession over the next five years. “This is the highest confidence level recorded for this question since the survey was started in the first quarter of 2012. In addition to this, 78% of respondents are confident about remaining in South Africa for foreseeable future, which is encouraging given the vital skills attorneys provide to the country.”
Further information about the respondents
– 64% of respondents work in Private Sector employment, 15% in public sector and 21% in corporate
– 54% of respondents believe attorneys do better financially in the Corporate sector, while 40% and 6% believed Private and Public sector attorneys respectively do better financially