Law students constitutionally sound as they head north

26 August 2002
THE Faculty of Law notched up a perfect strike rate recently when all four of its final-year students who applied for posts as law clerks to the Constitutional Court for 2003 were accepted.

Isabel Goodman, Kevin Iles, Jan van Zyl Smit and Kerry Williams are the favoured four who will make their way to Johannesburg – at different times – next year to take up their enviable positions. Each law clerk serves – for one year – as a personal research assistant to a judge at the Court, helping to research foreign cases and legal materials that are referred to by advocates and used in the Court's judgement, explains Van Zyl Smit.

Iles will be working with Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, Goodman will help out Mr Justice Richard Goldstone, Van Zyl Smit has been assigned to Mr Justice Pius Langa, and Williams will assist Judge Kate O'Regan.

"The Constitution is an amazing document. It's one law but it influences all the others," extols Van Zyl Smit. "The Court will probably be one of the most stimulating communities to be part of – graduates of our age, leading advocates and judges – one can't ask for a better combination."

Equally ecstatic about working at the Court was Goodman, who applied for the post because of her interest in human rights law. "There's little to compare, in terms of a body of jurisprudence, to the kind of work done at the Constitutional Court," she says.

"It provides exposure to some of South Africa's greatest legal minds for an entire year," adds Iles. "One won't get to see better legal arguments or better legal reasoning anywhere else in the country," he notes.

And, according to Williams, the Constitutional Court provides an interesting alternative for those who may not want to go the traditional articles followed-by-commercial-law career pathway. "It's a prestigious diversion," she quips.

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