Written by Juanita Kallychurn
Job shadowing plays an integral role in mentorship. The SWCM Mentorship Program aims to bridge the gap between students studying law and the world of legal professionals by guiding the transition between these two worlds. What better way to do this than on-the-job learning? Job shadowing is an invaluable tool that provides one with intimate insight into the working reality of a particular role. This a unique experience as one gains knowledge that is usually outside of what can be researched and looked up.
Through the job shadowing experience with SWCM, seven(7) mentees had the privilege of shadowing advocate Sinako Lindazwe. This was done over a period of 2 days. The first group met at the Johannesburg High court for an unopposed motion for a particularly important political case and the other met in Chambers for an urgent application online (ending up with haul across town to physical court) – both equally as exciting. What an experience it was! The mentees had the opportunity to experience firsthand the fast-paced bustle in the courtroom, but also had a glimpse of the hours of preparation that Adv. Lindazwe had to put in to get to that point. In law school, lecturers are continuously encouraging students to read and research – as I personally witnessed from job shadowing, this advice will stand you in good stead. The legal world is so much more than what we see on Suits, How To Get Away with Murder, and the likes. As aspiring legal professionals we have to do the due diligence to serve the people of our country with integrity, pride, and passion. Hard work pays.
Seeing Adv. Lindazwe in action was truly inspiring. I resonate with her story because it is similar to my own. Seeing Sinako, in her black robe tackling a challenge with grace and dignity cemented my dream to one day become an advocate myself. That’s really what job shadowing is about: seeing the unfiltered reality of a job and deciding that, that is what I want to do that. I learnt so much on the day- how to dress for court, how to speak to a judge, how to respect your colleagues even if they are your opponents, how the roll works, the importance of punctuality, and also to pack flat shoes (because wow those stairs in court!).
Mentorship is about providing a mentee with career development tools and resources to increase their knowledge and further develop their soft skills. Job shadowing Advocate Lindazwe definitely equipped me with the knowledge I need to get started in the field. The experience also showed me where I need to apply myself as well as the skills I need to hone in preparation for the day I get to wear a robe. More than that, it gave me the inspiration and motivation to finish the final year of my law studies strong. After all, I now have a glimpse of what’s waiting on the other side.
This blog post was last edited on, 23 June 2023.