Age is Not a Defining Factor

Master’s in Business Law graduate Mr Nareshnan Pillay.
Master’s in Business Law graduate Mr Nareshnan Pillay.

His brave decision to pursue a Master’s in Business Law and Practical Legal Training at the age of 52 after taking a voluntary severance package due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the telecommunications industry is paying off for graduate, Mr Nareshnan Pillay. Having been admitted as an attorney in March, he has now opened his own practice.

‘The pandemic led to the downsizing of many private companies. My company offered voluntary severance packages and I took a leap of faith and decided to pursue my articles at the age of 50,’ said Pillay.

His academic journey was not without challenges as Pillay started his legal studies by pursuing a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) part-time in 2015 at the age of 45 whilst working full-time. However, his determination saw him complete the LLB in five years, moving on to a Master of Laws (LLM), his Practical Legal Training (PLT) and serving articles.

‘I secured articles with Nivesh Hirallal attorneys while submitting my thesis for examination and completing my board examinations. In February, I received the news that I obtained 70% subject to minor corrections. I was admitted as an attorney in March and am so proud to graduate with my LLM after working on it for three years,’ he said. ‘I have also founded my own practice, Nareshnan Pillay & Associates.’

Pillay’s research, entitled, Exemption Clauses and Consumer Vulnerability in Standard Form Contracts Employed under South African Law of Contract: An Examination of the Legislative and the Common Law Protection in a Comparative Context, was supervised by Professor Darren Subramanien. It interrogates the common law and legislative protection of consumers against unfair or unjust contractual provisions contained in exemption clauses and provides a comparative analysis of the interpretation and enforcement of exemption clauses in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

‘The knowledge I acquired will give me an edge in respect of contract interpretation and drafting. Almost everything we do in our daily lives involves agreements and most consumers are unaware of the fine print and thus fall victim to unfair terms and conditions. I am now better able to interpret agreements and look out for my client’s welfare. I’m dedicating this achievement to my late mum Radha and Kumaran Pillay who encouraged and supported me. Not forgetting Dr Deshini Pillay who is an academic herself and my son Trimeshin for understanding when I could not be a present father at times.’

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini

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