Law Society of Zimbabwe Tells Law Firm Principals To Treat Junior Lawyers "Humanely"


The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), which is the country's regulatory professional body for legal practitioners, has sternly censured law firm principals over their attitudes towards junior legal practitioners, reminding them to treat their professional assistants as human beings.



In a circular distributed to all law firms, LSZ  — through its Executive Secretary Edward Mapara — bemoaned the fact that there are some law firms in Zimbabwe which are making junior lawyers pay for their own Practising Certificates (PCs), as well as making junior lawyers pay for their own continuous training assessment exercises. 

"It has come to the attention of the Law Society o f Zimbabwe that junior legal practitioners are being forced to pay for the CPT, CPD and PC fees. These are the obligations of the principals of a law firm. It is against the spirit o f SI 137/99 and the Pupillage Tripartite Agreement," the Council said.

It also came to light that junior legal practitioners "are being forced to forgo their leave days in lieu of PC fees and for attending CPD events like the Summer and Winter schools." 

The Law Society also raised the issue that senior counsels are not adequately compensating junior legal practitioners, saying that this compels junior legal practitioners to tout for work.

"The commitment to pay a reasonable salary or wage is also expected of all firms on engagement of a professional assistant. A professional assistant is not hired to tout for work but to assist a principal in servicing his existing clientele.

"Asking young professional assistants to tout for work inducts the aspiring professionals into the wrong habits and traits. It spawns moonlighters and touts. This is the source of rent a chair phenomenon. The products of such a practice are not professional lawyers. 

"Principals are called upon to assume full responsibility for training the professional assistance that they take under their wings. They should engender loyalty by offering the best training and exercising good human resources management."

Law firm principals were reminded to treat junior lawyers as human beings and that failure to observe these regulations may attract punishment.

"You are urged to treat your [professional assistants] humanely and with professional courtesy.

"Principals, are reminded that failure to observe the foregoing may constitute acts of misconduct and may attract sanctions."

Post a Comment