In 1993 practical training for candidate attorneys was made compulsory for admission as an attorney.
Many candidate attorneys opt for the shorter, 25-day PLT courses. Some 1 300 candidate attorneys attend these courses every year. Like the School, the practical training courses are offered at 10 centres throughout the country and training is offered at full-time and part-time programmes.
An amendment to the Attorneys Act entitles a candidate who successfully completes the School for Legal Practice to a reduction in articles of clerkship of six months.
An important result of the amendment was that candidate attorneys who attend the ‘night’ School and serve their articles simultaneously, may complete only one year of articles.
In 2003, the CLE and PLT sections of the Law Society of SA were merged to form the new LEAD (Legal Education and Development) division. This division is responsible for practical legal training courses, Schools, seminars, postgraduate legal training programmes that are offered in conjunction with universities, the drafting of admission examination papers, liaison with educational institutions and practice management training.
In 2009 the attendance of practice management training became mandatory for every practising attorney who is issued with a Fidelity Fund certificate for the first time. Attendance of LEAD’s practice management training programme has increased from 100 to more than 500 in 2010.
The number of seminars offered by LEAD has increased substantially with more than 5 000 persons attending seminars in 2010.
LEAD has also become involved with the training on behalf of external clients, including the Financial Services Board, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the South African Police Service, SASOL and SARS.
In 2008 LEAD launched judicial skills training courses for practising attorneys in order to assist attorneys in their preparation for acting as judicial offers in the regional and High Court.
From 2009 LEAD has offered legal support staff training to approximately 3 300 staff at law firms.
In 2010, the e-learning method was introduced by LEAD. To date, four online courses have been developed as part of its e-LEADer initiative.
The latest challenge for LEAD is to advise the profession on the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development (CPD). The concept of CPD for attorneys was adopted by the LSSA Council in November 201, after substantial research as well as consultation with the profession. It is envisaged that this will promote a greater culture of learning and open up new learning opportunities and methods in the profession.
In many respects, LEAD is recognised as the preferred provider of vocational training and professional development.
View the LEAD statistics documents which gives an overview of the demographics and statistics relating to School attendance, attendance of other training initiatives, law students, law graduates, new admissions to the attorneys’ profession and practising attorneys.