TO THE EDITOR
PO Box 36626, Menlo Park 0102 Docex 82, Pretoria E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax (012) 362 0969 Letters are not published under noms de plume. However, letters from practising attorneys who make their identities and addresses known to the editor may be considered for publication anonymously.
State legal services -
I read with keen interest the article titled 'Transformation of state legal services' in 2012 (July) DR 9. I am certain that the large corporate law firms are delighted to see that in future the state will be represented by the head of state legal services ('Hasles'). Indeed, litigation departments that have in the past traditionally acted for the state will no longer be afraid of accepting instructions to bring proceedings against the state for fear of biting the hand that feeds them, as that work will thenceforth be performed by state legal services ('Sales') under the watchful eye of Hasles. The big firms will be free - indeed delighted - to accept instructions to 'sue the pants off the state'. As De Rebus readers are well aware, the big firms hire the brightest and the best and pay them astonishingly large wads of cash to keep them from jumping ship and moving to the opposition. A fortiori, PDI (previously disadvantaged individual) litigators at the big firms are like hens' teeth - managing partners are unlikely to let them follow their dreams to join Hasles. Instead, points, equity, shares and a parking space near the front door will be foisted on any PDI partner who so much as mutters 'Hasles' in their sleep. Nevertheless, firms should welcome the news that the appointment of Hasles will be 'done as a matter of urgency'. (Note to Justice Minister Jeff Radebe: More speed, less haste; as haste makes waste.) The firms will welcome the knock-kneed newcomer with a (very) firm slap on the back, after which a feeding frenzy of litigation will ensue. Bullies like nothing better than a punching bag. I love the smell of a party and party costs order in the morning! The state will find itself on the receiving end of summonses and notices of motion from every corner of Sandton. What the Minister has not considered is that the state is going to (again) struggle to recruit attorneys with the same skill, competence and legal dexterity as those in the northern suburbs. Before you jump up and down and wring your DE REBUS - OCTOBER 2012 - 4 - hands, know this: The aforementioned qualities have nothing to do with colour, they have to do with brains and grey hair. Big firms hire the best and pay the most. Nowadays, candidate attorneys are paid enough money to have their hair cut by 'stylists'. They are recruited out of second-year university, for goodness sake. Their first pay cheque after admission is applied to the acquisition of a glistening German vehicle. Where, I ask, will Hasles recruit litigators with skill, experience and legal acumen to suffer the slings and arrows of the outrageously fortunate? And, most importantly, can Hasles pay anyone enough to move to Pretoria? Good luck comrade Jeff. Fiat iustitia (let justice be done). Attorney, Cape Town * The author of this letter has asked to remain anonymous. The editor is satisfied as to the author's identity. q