How to start a law clinic

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The population in South Africa is almost 60 million, of which only around 30 000 are lawyers working in private practice. This means that in South Africa there is roughly and conservatively speaking only one qualified legal practitioner in practice for every 1,6 million adult people.

According to the Department of Statistics for South Africa in 2022, almost half of the population over the age of 18 falls below the upper-bound poverty line. The upper-bound poverty line is measured by referring to people living on less than R1180 per month to cover food and non-food items. It is further estimated that about 48% of South Africa’s adult population is unemployed. Poverty is therefore a big factor in people not seeking legal assistance. However, this does not mean that they don’t need legal assistance. The demand for more legal practitioners operating Law Clinics certainly exists!

However, on the supply side, namely the legal profession, South Africa is also facing challenges. More than 85% of registered legal practices are sole proprietors. Many legal practices struggle to start-up properly or grow their legal practices to maturity. Although necessary to regulate the legal profession, the Legal Practice Act also continuously places more requirements on these already hard-pressed small practices.

Section 29 of the Legal Practice Act prescribes that the Minister, after consultation with the Legal Practice Council, may prescribe compulsory community service as part of vocational training for candidate legal practitioners and, a minimum period of recurring community service by practicing legal practitioners to continue being enrolled as practising practitioners. This has indeed became law when  Regulations 4A and 4B of the Legal Practice Act were published on 11 August 2023 in the Government Gazette. These new Regulations require attorneys and candidate attorneys to perform minimum community service hours (free legal services) per annum.

This could be a further threat to a small legal practices, or is there also an opportunity? Stating the reality that any qualified lawyer has the potential to earn a good income, how will legal practitioners get motivated to provide legal services to clients who cannot pay? Or is there another way to look at it?

In the spirit of community service, Emmie de Kock is presenting this online event for FREE to candidate attorneys and legal practitioners who may be interested to attend. RSVP is essential.

The purpose of this session is to share the basics steps on how to start a law clinic (as a main practice or parallel to an existing commercial practice) and explore possible risks and benefits.

DateMonday, 6 November 2023
PresenterEmmie de Kock (BLC, LLB) – Attorney/Business Coach
Zoom invitationJoin Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 933 819 5450
Passcode: 8Gi3PS
RSVPBy sending an email to by Thursday, 2 November 2023 indicating “RSVP and your name” in subject heading

RSVP as soon as possible as spots are limited.

Minimum of 6 committed lawyers required for event to proceed.

Session will not be recorded to encourage maximum participation and protect personal information of attendees.

Coaching, Legal Development, Legal Practice Act