Legal Practice Management Course (PMT) – Rule 27

The Legal Practice Council would like to rectify incorrect information regarding the PMT course. In a notice the LPC stated that it has come its attention that some practitioners who opened new practices since 1 November 2018 or who were appointed as partners/directors for the first time as from the same date, have, due to a bona fide administrative oversight, received correspondence from the LPC incorrectly advising them that they have to complete the compulsory practice management training course by either 31 December 2019 or 31 December 2020, depending on the date when the practitioner was issued with their first Fidelity Fund certificate.

Rule 27(1) provides that every legal practitioner who is obliged in terms of Section 84(1) to be in possession of a Fidelity Fund certificate must, within a period of one year after the date on which the legal practitioner was required for the first time to be in possession of a Fidelity Fund certificate, complete a legal practice management training course approved by the Council. This relates only to practitioners who practise as attorneys.

In terms of Rule 30.4.4.2 and Rule 32.2.2:
– an advocate who applies for conversion of enrolment to that of an attorney; and
– an advocate who applies for conversion of enrolment from a Section 34(2)(a)(i) advocate to a Section 34(2)(a)(ii) advocate [advocate with a trust account]
must submit proof of completion of the legal practice management course. The one-year period referred to in Rule 27(1) is NOT applicable in these instances, as prior completion is required.

The approved training course is offered by the Legal Education and Development (LEAD) section of the Law Society of South Africa. Information on the course is available from LEAD at tel (012) 441 4600 or on their website: www.lssalead.org.za
Read the LPC notice here.

Cybersecurity key tips

The Law Society of South Africa has noticed an increase in cybercrime and has published some cybersecurity tips. These are oulined below.

1. Take out cyber theft insurance policy
2. Train staff – this is a continuous activity
3. Ensure payment security is effective – Verify banking details, use emails in conjunction with telephone verification, deposit small amount in clients or service providers/ 3rd parties account and verify receipt of deposit or transfer – multi authentication
4. Cyber breach – it’s not if but when – do you have a continuity plan, insurance, communication policy or mitigation (back up etc.) when it does occur?
5. It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure ICT resources are secure

What can you practically do?
• Avoid Phishing scams – beware of suspicious emails and phone calls – refer to this article dealing specifically with this threat – there are common sense approaches to avoid being a victim.
• Do not store sensitive data on your device and you must ensure the file is password protected. Refer to the LSSA guideline on information security.
• Ensure that the all staff change their passwords regularly and these should be strong passwords (minimum size and mix of characters) and that users are locked out if the maximum numbers of days for the password change has been exceeded. Passwords should not be repeated.
• Always ensure that all software up to date – install all updates for operating systems and programs- especially security updates (ensure auto updates are selected for all programs and browsers).
• Ensure you do not have click happy staff – do not open attachments from unknown parties, do not visit unknown websites, only download software from trusted sites. Malware (malicious software) is often hidden in attachments or in the body of the email requesting users to click on a section.
• Mobile devices (banking apps and easy access to log in to server and network) are a security risk and must be password protected and be physically kept secure.
• Do not leave your device unattended (computer, tablet, laptop, phone etc.) Physical security is a basic tenet for ICT security.
• Ensure a back-up facility is mandatory (software) or if in a small practice set rules and policies and monitor compliance.
• Antivirus protection for emails, laptops, and servers is a must and these must be regularly updated (ensure auto update is enabled).
• Do not allow any staff member to plug in personal devices into the network, without adequate ant-virus scanning of entire device (this includes smartphones).
• Memory sticks should not be allowed to be plugged into any office equipment, unless it is provided by the firm and has built in anti-virus and/or scanned by anti- virus software, prior to being accessed on a firm computer/device.
• Ensure security systems on your equipment is enabled – Firewalls.

NB: The above is applicable to ALL members of the firm, including the principal partner

Call for comment on draft insolvency policies

Call for comment on draft insolvency policies

The Law Society of South Africa’s (LSSA) Insolvency and Liquidation Matters Committee recently considered the proposed policies discussed at the Justice Department’s Draft Insolvency Policy Workshop on 10 July 2019. The workshop followed a Constitutional Court decision in Minister of Justice and Another v SA Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association and Others 2018 (5) SA 349 (CC), where the court held that the Minister’s erstwhile impugned policy was ‘not reasonably capable of achieving equality’. Attorneys are encouraged to review the proposed policies and are invited to submit their comments, if any, to the LSSA, attention Kris Devan at kris@lssa.org.za, by 30 September 2019 should you wish for your comments to be considered as part of the LSSA’s submissions.
Download and view the draft polices here.

 

Conveyancing examination update: LSSA launches Pilot Project for Conveyancing Mentorship Programme in Mthatha and Polokwane

The LSSA has launched a pilot project for the Conveyancing Mentorship Programme as part of its interventions to address the apparent high failure rate in conveyancing examinations. This mentorship initiative forms part of the recommendations placed before the Legal Practice Council (LPC), which is responsible for regulating the examinations.

The pilot project was launched on August 1 and 2 this year via roadshows held in both Mthatha and Polokwane. In Mthatha, the roadshow was presented by the President of the LSSA, Mvuzo Notyesi, and Task Team members Sinawo Makangela and Lizette Burger. The Vice President of the LSSA, Mabaeng Lenyai, presented in Polokwane.

The LSSA has indicated it hopes to obtain the buy-in from all the mentors and mentees who attended the roadshows. A total of 31 potential mentors and mentees attended in Mthatha, and eight in Polokwane. While the LSSA will make every effort to link the mentees to mentors, this will depend on the number of mentors available in the mentee’s preferred geographical area.

The mentorship process will take place through one-on-one and group mentorship, WhatsApp and Facebook groups. The mentees, along with other students, will also be able to take advantage of past examination papers  being made freely available on the LSSA LEAD website.  The model answers will be added soon.

The LSSA hopes that by sharing their skills, knowledge, experience and expertise, mentors will play a considerable role in helping the candidates to pass the exams successfully. The LSSA is optimistic that the mentorship programme, when fully implemented, will successfully change the landscape of conveyancing in a very positive way.