More women study law

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-More women have taken on the task of being involved in the legal system of the country by studying law, with the numbers expected to rise.

According to the Law Society of Namibia, as of April 2017 it has 780 active registered lawyers who are members of the society.

Doris Hans-Kaumbi from the society explained that of that number, 362 are women.
The number has drastically increased compared to 1995 when the society only had 44 women who were registered as lawyers.

The statistics show that in 1995 there were only 195 practising registered lawyers in the country and of that number 44 were female.

Currently out of 780 lawyers 418 are male members. During the span of 22 years the demographics within the legal fraternity have changed with previously racially disadvantaged members rising in numbers from a mere 32 to 434 lawyers.

These numbers were revealed during the launch of The Change Project yesterday. According to Ramon Maasdorp, chairperson of the Law Society of Namibia, The Change Project aims to critically assess numerous aspects of the legal profession in Namibia and to propose changes to ensure the profession remains relevant, responsive to the Namibian society and maintains international standards and best practices.

“We have had the same set-up since 1990 but our numbers have evenly risen since then. Yet our governing structures have not changed at all. What we have done is to catch up and respond in the best way we can but it’s not enough,” said Maasdorp.

The project that is estimated to run until April 2018 emanated from concerns that were brought to the society by stakeholders within the legal fraternity. “We can no longer run away from these concerning issues and if we do not research them and try to find solutions they will forever exist,” explained Maasdorp.

The society is trying to anticipate where the profession is moving to and ensure that it is doing what it is expected to do. “We have decided that we are going to systematically approach the task of regulating. What it is that the lawyers are doing right and what they are doing that is wrong,” he said.

The Change Project is all about opportunity, about showing the public and professionals what can be done and how to do it, said Maasdorp. The project is co-funded by the Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund and the Namibia Legal Practitioners’ Trust.

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