At the recent conference on ethics,* organised by the Association of Law Societies, the Black Lawyers Association and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers with the assistance of the Bureau for Occupational Ethics at the University of Pretoria, it was suggested that in order to assist attorneys in dealing with ethical questions, a regular column of questions and answers should be published in De Rebus. The editor has agreed to this column and the editorial committee has requested me to be responsible for it. The success, or otherwise, of this column will depend on the participation of practitioners. First, it is necessary that practitioners send in their questions.**
Distance education is the future of legal education' writes S Colbran in the 1995 Journal of Law and Information Science vol 2. Continuing Legal Education had already in the mid-eighties realised the truth of this statement and introduced first the Conveyancing correspondence course and, two years later, the notarial practice correspondence course. Both these courses have been improved over the years and have provided tuition in these fields to more than 4 000 practitioners and candidate attorneys.
The four-year LLB* has raised so many expectations and trepidations that it is easy to forget that it is only part of a bigger picture. The larger debate has been about facilitating access to the legal profession while maintaining the standards the public is entitled to expect. For some years the attorneys' profession has been grappling with the conflict between the public's unsatisfied demand for legal services and the inability of many law graduates to enter the profession. A great deal of time and effort was devoted to promoting the ladder system. While the profession still believes that it offers great promise for alleviating the problems of legal representation, opposition from the Black Lawyers Association in particular destroyed the viability of this option.
In previous articles I dealt with the administrative procedures which should be followed when accounting to the local law society for interest on trust monies payable to the Attorneys Fidelity Fund, and the recovery of trust account bank charges. Certain possible administrative problems have recently been identified which may require practitioners' procedures to be reconsidered.
Historically, the process of generating a typed document has been laborious. First, you dictated a document into a dictation unit. The document was then transcribed by a typist and sent back to you for correction and final approval. This was a long-winded process requiring perhaps two or three drafts before a finished document was produced. Now, if you produce it yourself by talking to your computer, the document can be produced in final form, almost instantly.