This report focuses on legal services and activities in South Africa and includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector and the factors that influence it. There is information on the number and size of firms, people studying or employed in the sector, earnings and fees and transformation statistics. There are profiles of 28 companies including big law firms such as Norton Rose Fulbright, Bowmans, Webber Wentzel, Werksmans and ENSAfrica, a number of medium-sized firms and specialists such as Von Seidels Intellectual Property Attorneys and Spoor & Fisher.
Legal Services and Activities in South Africa
The legal activities and services sector in South Africa has been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which initially resulted in the brief closure of courts and a number of legal entities. Legal practitioners have experienced salary cuts and a decline in fees billed, and sole practitioners and smaller law firms have been more greatly affected than larger firms. Firms also face rising operating costs and the possibility of having legal fees regulated. Competition is on the rise and law firms are attempting to incorporate new legal technologies to reduce costs.
The number of practising attorneys has increased significantly over the past few decades, and there has been a huge rise in enrolment for an LLB degree, and in the number of graduates. There is a growing gap between the number of LLB graduates and the number of attorneys admitted to the profession each year, and although demand for legal services is growing, the sector faces an over-supply of qualified graduates.
Demand for Legal Services
Besides dealing with new legislation and providing compliance advice, the legal sector is assisting clients with legal issues and challenges that have emerged as a result of pandemic including challenges to the legality of certain regulations introduced during the lockdown and legal issues involving claims companies have made against insurance companies for losses incurred during the lockdown. Amendments to legislation and the introduction of new laws and regulations is set to continue driving demand for legal advisory services, particularly in the area of compliance.