Hard Work Pays Off for Law Summa Cum Laude Graduates

Maintaining a constant pace and striving for excellence enabled Law students Ms Layla Shah and Ms Shanice Naicker to graduate summa cum laude.

They also received UKZN scholarships.

‘The night I received my final results I could not stop crying. It was one of the greatest moments in my life,’ said Shah. During the course of her studies, she received 13 Certificates of Merit and six Dean’s Commendations. She was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship in 2019 and the James Scott Wylie Trust Bursary and the Juta Prize for being the top third-year Law student.

‘I faced numerous personal challenges while completing my degree, but the most life-changing moment was when my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. There were many moments when I was so mentally and emotionally drained that my brain just rejected the thought of studying,’ said Shah. ‘However, I am not the type of person to give up in the face of adversity. I persevered no matter what as I wanted to make my mom proud and I am sure I accomplished that.’ She is currently completing her articles at Bowmans in Sandton, Johannesburg with aspirations of becoming an attorney.

Naicker, who is pursuing a Master’s in Medical Law, said that her motivation is the end goal of making a meaningful difference in society.

‘I have dreamt of being a lawyer since childhood. I have a very strong moral compass and a desire to help people,’ she said. She received a Dean’s Commendation for every semester and five Merit Certificates and was awarded the Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship for achieving an 80% aggregate in her first year. She received the James Scott Wylie Trust Bursary and the PG Summa Cum Laude Scholarship to pursue her LLM.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed my LLB studies. While there were many challenges over the years, each built my character and resilience as a person and a Law student,’ said Naicker.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Abhi Indarajan

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