Law Society saddened at death of Eastern Cape attorney, Gordon Pope

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) is saddened at the untimely passing of King Williams Town attorney and legal education instructor, Gordon Pope, on 24 October 2019 at the age of 53.

Gordon’s passion was the legal profession and from the start he was involved with the Cape Law Society and the King Williams Town Attorney’s Association. He was currently serving as a member of the newly formed Legal Practice Council.

‘As we acknowledge Gordon’s contribution to the profession, we also acknowledge the immense loss to his firm, clients, and mostly to his family. We extend the condolences of the attorneys’ profession to his wife Helen Pope, and his children Emma and Jack,’ says LSSA President, Mvuzo Notyesi.

Gordon was born in Cape Town on 13 February 1966. He attended a local primary school and then spent his high school years as a boarder at Grey High School in Port Elizbeth where he matriculated in 1983. As was the custom for young men at the time, Gordon had to do two years military service. He attained the rank of corporal.

Gordon attained his BA in 1988 and his LLB in 1991. He served his articles at Barnes and Ross (now Smith Tabata) in King Williams Town and was admitted as an attorney in March 1994. After 16 years with Smith Tabata, Gordon started his own law practice in 2009 and Pope Attorneys celebrated their tenth anniversary in June this year.

For the last number of years Gordon lectured at the University of Fort Hare and was an instructor at the LSSA Schools for Legal Education since 2005. He had a passion to teach candidate attorneys and was a strong advocate for the Schools for Legal Practice.

Gordon believed in skills development in the younger generation of attorneys and put these beliefs into action via his presenting of vocational training to others. He set an example to practitioners and remained faithful to these beliefs until the very end. In this way he contributed to access of the public to quality legal services.

He suffered a stroke while training and imparting knowledge to others. The profession salutes him.


LSSA provincial attorneys’ associations establishment meetings

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) is currently busy with a drive across the country to establish provincial LSSA attorneys’ associations in all 9 provinces as set out in the LSSA constitution. The aim is to encourage the existing structures to be part of the LSSA provincial structures.

In order to gain a better understanding of your needs, please put aside time to attend the establishment meetings across the country as it is a critical step in the establishment of the attorney’s associations so that the LSSA can establish a body that best represents you.

The first such meeting was held in the Eastern Cape, in East London and was attended by some 70 practitioners. It was a fruitful meeting as the LSSA got buy in from the Eastern Cape attorneys. The LSSA will be having a follow up meeting there in the first week of November.

The date of the other establishment meetings are outlined below. All meetings will be held at 16h30 unless otherwise advised.

Limpopo – Thursday 24 October
Bloemfontein – Friday 25 October
Mpumalanga (Nelspruit) – Tuesday 29 October
Northern Cape (Kimberly) – Thursday 31 October
Western Cape (Cape Town) – Thursday 7 November
KwaZulu- Natal (Durban) – Friday 14 November
North West – Tuesday 19 November (Hunters Rest)

To prepare for the meeting, read the LSSA constitution and our value-add document. Also read the news article on the inaugural LSSA attorneys’ association establishment meeting.


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 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:
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