1. Introduction

    1. The South African Bar Association, a voluntary association of advocates, registered in terms of the Legal Practice Council of South Africa, addresses this correspondence to you in order to seek financial assistance in the form of a corporate sponsorship.

    2. The sponsorship will be employed to give effect to the overarching objectives and mission of the Association, which we discuss below.

  2. Mission and objective

    1. The overarching mission of the Association is to transform the legal profession and to inter alia advance access to the profession by female advocates in general and black females, in particular.

    2. In order to understand and fully appreciate the dynamics in our contemporary South African legal profession, particular regard must be paid to developments in the country over the last 25-30 years. During the aforementioned period, we saw the fall of the apartheid system and the rise of constitutionalism underscored by democratic values and objects. The legal profession has seen various transformation initiatives, but most of these, though well-intended, have not had, any significant, let alone, a desirous effect. Transformation in the legal profession is challenged for speed, this much is evident when considering the following statistics. In the mid1980s, blacks (persons classified under apartheid as Indian, Coloured or African) constituted approximately 10% of the 6500 attorneys and 7% of the 650 advocates.

    3. The ratio between advocates and attorneys was approximately 10:1. By 2017, the ratio between these two remained, largely, the same, with 25,283 attorneys to 2,915 advocates. What is even more alarming, and quite evidently anomalous, is the fact that of the aforesaid figures, practising white attorneys constituted 58% of attorneys and white advocates 63% of advocates, in a country where the population is more than 80% black.

    4. A great number of legal practitioners as well as institutions pursuing transformation are in agreement that the legal profession is in urgent need of transformation. As to what is meant by it, appears to be either an uncomfortable discussion often temporarily satisfied with platitudes or an agenda item to be considered briefly just to be, proverbially, kicked down the road for as long as possible. The promulgation of the Legal Practice Act, 28 of 2014 was anticipated to spearhead greater direction towards regulating the profession and collaterally to advance some form of transformation.

    5. The South African Bar Association has been established to aggressively pursue the transformation of the legal profession with renewed vigour and passion but is financially hamstrung in pursuing this objective.

    6. The Association's seven fold mission is accordingly to:

      1. actively promote and facilitate the access of female advocates into the profession;

      2. remove the practice restrictions placed on advocates by traditional bars, relating to location and the manner in which chambers are held, and to encourage advocates to practice from premises and locations that are suitable for an advocate's practice;

      3. significantly reducing bar subscriptions, by subsidizing female and black junior advocates;

      4. invest in the ongoing training and development of junior advocates so as to maintain standards of excellence that an advocate's practice demands. To this end the Association conducts weekly training sessions at no cost to participants aimed at upskilling legal practitioners and thereby to improve the quality of legal representation in our courts;

      5. facilitate and optimise opportunities aimed at making legal practice more accessible and affordable;

      6. foster relationships with functionaries so as to ensure that racially skewed briefing patters of advocates by big law firms are eliminated;

      7. address the anti-competitive narrative held by some attorneys which results in the briefing of advocates of a particular association exclusively at the expense of non-member advocates.
  3. About the South African Bar Association

    1. The Association operates nationally but holds its Administrative offices in Sandton, Johannesburg from where it navigates the affairs of the Association.

    2. The Association has established, in order to promote its commitment to transformation and advancing the cause of female legal practitioners, collaborative relations with organisations such as SABWil.
  4. Purposes for which sponsorship assistance will be used

    1. Financial support in the form of a once-off or recurring sponsorships, will be employed in the following areas:

      1. continuous training and development of advocates;

      2. subsidizing of female and specifically black female advocates' bar subscriptions and chamber fees;

      3. legal assistance for the poor and indigent on a probono basis;

      4. defending public interest cases intended to promote and protect the South African constitutional democracy;

      5. establishment of a transformation fund for the assistance of junior and specifically black female advocates

    2. In order to promote the continuous training and development of advocates, the Association will ensure that:

      1. advocates receive ongoing training and development within their various practice areas. Whilst the LPC regulates the compliance issues pertaining to advocates, it does not offer continuous development and training per se.

      2. as an Association we will source in, trainers from various fields to conduct ongoing training and development of advocates. Trainers will be sourced from senior members of our profession, academics, retired and current judges and specialised institutions. The costs for such interventions will be covered by the sponsorships that the Association managed to secure.

    3. In order to promote the objective of subsidizing of female advocates' subscriptions and chamber fees, the association will take steps to ensure that:

      1. junior advocates and specifically black female advocates, who struggle to build successful practices within the first 5 years of practice, causing them to invariably leave the profession, resulting in the numbers remaining continuously skewed, receive financial support by way of subsidies.

      2. the Association has accordingly adopted a policy to absolve junior advocates from paying any subscriptions to the Association for the first 5-years of their practice.

    4. In order to give effect to its objective to provide Legal assistance for the poor and indigent on a probono basis, the Association will ensure that:

      1. its members assist the poor and indigent on a probono basis, but still provide a stipend payment for such services, to be paid to junior advocates.

      2. The sponsorship secured will be utilised to ensure that the poor, indigent and unrepresented receive adequate legal representation and assistance, whilst enabling some income for junior advocates.

    5. The protection of the South African constitutional democracy is a key component of the Association's service offering. By defending public interest cases we intended to promote and protect the constitution of South Africa. The Association holds our hard-fought constitutional democracy in high esteem and will involve itself in any public interest matters which threatens or has the potential to threaten, our constitutional democracy. The sponsorships secured will be utilised towards funding such initiatives.

    6. The Association will establish a transformation fund for the assistance of junior and specifically black female advocates. The Association will employ funds received from sponsorships to fund a transformation fund which is intended to ensure that junior black advocates are involved in matters that will expand their scope and development, albeit that the Association will be paying the junior advocates for the services rendered on such matters.

  5. The sponsorship options

    1. In light of the above the Association seeks your organisation's kind assistance in the form of a sponsorship in any of the following amounts:

    2. Bronze R1000 - R50 000
      Silver R50,000 - R150,000
      Gold R150,000 - R250,000
      Diamond R250 000+

    3. The Association shall ensure that its books are audited annually and sponsors will be permitted, at any stage, to request an analysis of how sponsorship benefits were utilised within the confines of the purposes for which sponsorships were sought.

    4. We look forward to your contribution and shall provide banking details on request.