“Justice is incidental to law and order.” - J. Edgar Hoover
Are you one of the grade 12 students dreaming about being an advocate in one of South Africa’s courtrooms one day? Having you been watching all the legal dramas that television has to offer?
Well, with Lesley Pearse’s new novel, “Suspects," releasing this month, you have another reason to bring your natural lawyer instinct to the fore. The book deals with a fictional neighbourhood called Willow Close. When a new couple moves in, a body shows up. Are you keen on being the lawyer who defends the suspects? If the thought of reading this book excites you, you have taken a keen interest in criminal law.
Since you are already interested in the field, did you know that the legal profession is as old as civilisation itself? That sounds hard to believe, doesn’t it?
We say it was the Romans who took the law into their own hands and established many of the rules and regulations still used by the law system today.
In fact, terms like, "pro bono," are actually formal Latin terms that are still considered to be part and parcel of studying law. Do you want to want to sink your teeth into more legalese and law jargon? Read our glossary of legal terms.
How do you know if the law is for you? Well, if you consider yourself to be a mediator at the time of conflict and you are a firm believer in staying committed to following the rules, perhaps you were made for law school. If you are interested in shaping the laws of the country, consider becoming a lawyer.
So you know that you would like to complete a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree at one of the universities in South Africa, so you work towards making the needed points in high school to get admission into a university law course.
To find out more about admission requirements, read our introduction to law article.
You ready to study law but you must remember that studying law in South Africa can be a very costly affair. The yearly fee for a normal BA degree at a South African university can cost R41 687 and a BCOM degree can cost R42 600. If you choose not to pursue a BA or BCOM degree first and just do an LLB degree, you can expect to pay about R40 500 per annum.
Had it not be for financial aid, it would be far too expensive to afford to study law. As much as you would love to be able to pay off your own LLB degree, the help that comes from a scholarship or bursary is always appreciated.
“You got in Harvard?”- Warner
“What? Like it’s hard?”- Elle
If you are determined to be a lawyer, live your life as Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde," did when she was told she was too stupid to get into law school. Do not let the steep tuition cost stop you from reaching your dream! Apply for scholarships and bursaries so you can study without having to work extremely hard to pay off your tuition fees.
It is with the same Elle Woods' spirit that your Superprof has set out to find possible law scholarships in South Africa for you.
Scholarships for Law Students
The Allan Gray Orbis Fellowship
Have you heard of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation? If you haven’t, it is time to look at the fellowship programme. The fellowship programme wishes to prepare undergraduate students for a life of being high-impact entrepreneurs post studies. Grade 12 students can apply for the fellowship. Are you already in university studying law and you have just realised that the fees are too costly? No stress, you can still apply for the Allan Gray fellowship if you are in your first year of university. To qualify for the fellowship:
- At the end of your grade 11, you need to have obtained a 60% in maths or an 80% in mathematical literacy at the end of your Grade 11 year. You also need to make sure that your average mark is 70% (excluding your Life Orientation mark)
- If you are applying in your first year, you need to ensure that you are under 22 years of age and you must have obtained an average of 65%
Is the Allan Gray Fellowship, the only funding option available in South Africa?
Certainly not! You may have heard of Bowmans, the corporate law firm, listed as one of South Africa’s big 5 law firms. Since its establishment in 1998, the firm has grown to employ over 400 specialised lawyers.
So every year Bowmans offer a bursary to South African students. In fact, bursary applications are open for the 2022 year. So how can you qualify for the Bowmans bursary?
To be eligible for the bursary:
- you must be a South African citizen
- you must be a matric student or have just completed matric
- you have to be studying towards a law degree
- you have to be studying at a recognised South African university to be deemed eligible
While academics do play a role in helping you get a bursary, financial need is also considered when bursaries are awarded.
The intent behind this specific bursary is to provide disadvantaged students who are passionate about studying the law, the chance to do so.
Does your law dream seem more reachable now? Go through the types of lawyers so that you can decide what type of lawyer you would like to be.
What happens if you live in Port Elizabeth? Does your law dreams stop there because you live in PE? Well, the Bridgestone Bursary is offering students from Port Elizabeth the chance to apply for the bursary programme.
So while much the same criteria are required to apply for Bridgestone Bursary, the one catch is that you must be a Port Elizabeth resident or a student studying in Port Elizabeth to be considered for this bursary.
The Bridgestone bursary leaves its applications open until April in the year. University students are expected to have at least 60% in their previous year of studies in order to secure the bursary.
Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund
You managed to pay your way into law school. You are enjoying every minute of studying the legal jargon and all about justice and injustice. You have one year left to complete your degree, however, your funds have run low and you are worried about how you would manage to pay your way towards graduation. This is where the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund comes into play. The fund offers a bursary to first and third-year students in the law field.
So why should you consider applying for the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund? People who are in serious financial need may be eligible to apply for this fund. However, academics also plays a big role in being a deciding factor as to whether or not you will manage to secure the bursary. The bursar covers the tuition funds of undergraduates for a duration of two years only.
Does the good news stop there? Well, practicing attorneys or candid attorneys who wish to study further can also be awarded this bursary.
Naturally, there are many more scholarship programs and bursary options available to law students in South Africa and it is virtually impossible to list every bursary option.
Finding a law tutor in South Africa can help you to secure a bursary.
Bachelor’s Degree in Law
Maybe all the talk about bursaries has got you seriously considering what studying law could be like.
Every scholarship that you are applying for will require you to write a concise personal statement detailing why you would be the best candidate to accept the bursary. Your best chance at earning funding would be to demonstrate a commitment to social issues, especially those that impact the underprivileged. Think how important pro bono work is for lawyers.
What else would you write in your letter?
Are you dreaming of studying for a 4-year-long LLB degree and thereafter taking the bar examination so that you can specialise as an advocate?
Lawyers also give back to the community by taking on some pro-bono cases now and then.
Career in Law
Once you have studied law what happens next?
So you could have a bright future practicing as an advocate or attorney. You could start by practicing under the guidance of an advocate, paralegal, or an attorney who works at one of the top law firms in South Africa.
Look at the article on the top law firms in South Africa to find out more about the places where you would possibly be interested in working.
If you have progressed beyond the graduate stage, many big companies offer graduates the chance to intern at a law firm, sometimes even with some form of incentive.
In conclusion, we leave you with a few hints that you should consider when applying for scholarships:
- Never pick and choose scholarships. Do not only apply for the bursaries that you think you will get. Sometimes academics really is a deciding factor in whether or not you score a bursary
- Don’t let the lengthy process of applying for a bursary or scholarship scare you from applying. There are many documents that you need to submit and many write-ups that you need to do.
- Be honest in your application letter. Do not write to impress, write to honestly state why you deserve a bursary.
As our favourite fictional lawyer, Elle Woods said, "Being true to yourself never goes out of style."
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