A tribute to Nik Swart: Chief Executive of South Africa Law Society

It is with deep shock and sadness that the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) announces the untimely death of its Chief Executive Officer and Director of Legal Education and Development (LEAD), Nic Swart at the age of 63.

‘The LSSA, its council, staff and the profession have lost a colleague, a dear friend, a mentor, a leader and an innovator passionate about the legal profession in general and legal education in particular,’ say LSSA Co-Chairpersons David Bekker and Walid Brown.

They add: ‘Nic has led the LSSA and its various departments ably as CEO since 2011 through times of growth and achievement locally, regionally and internationally, but also through the difficult and at times contentious and uncertain processes around the transition to the new dispensation under the Legal Practice Act. A consummate educationist, he strove to ensure that practical vocational training and continuing legal education, which he has spearheaded and nurtured since 1989, continue to be accessible and affordable for aspirant legal practitioners and those already in practice. Nic was especially passionate about the empowerment of young lawyers and of the LSSA staff.’

‘Our profession owes an incalculable debt of gratitude to Nic Swart, as do the thousands of attorneys who have received training, guidance and support from his beloved School for Legal Practice and the LEAD department over nearly three decades.’

Nic Swart joined the LSSA’s predecessor, the Association of Law Societies, in 1989 to start a pilot school for legal practice. That small pilot project with only 51 candidate attorneys has grown immensely since 1990 to one of the premier legal education institutions in the country through Nic’s vision, unstinting dedication and hard work.

We offer our support, thoughts and prayers to Nic’s wife Mariette and his two daughters who have walked every step with Nic and with the LSSA all these years. May they find solace in the knowledge that Nic was loved, appreciated and admired in the profession and beyond.

The Black Lawyers Association of South Africa were also deeply saddened with Deputy chairperson William Maodi saying: “We hope all who have lost him will find peace and remember his contribution to the profession at large.”

Many ICLR members will have known Nik, he was a popular and active member of the regulator community, who was planning on attending the conference in Singapore.  He will be greatly missed and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

80% of major jurisdictions use central qualifying assessment

In an international benchmarking exercise, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in England and Wales finds that almost 80% of the jurisdictions surveyed have a common assessment as part of lawyer qualification.

Press release on SRA website

Report on SRA website