Hard Work Pays Off for Law Summa Cum Laude Graduates

For Law graduates Mr Suhail Ebrahim, Ms Zakiyya Reheman, Ms Sumaiyah Abdulah and Ms Amy Gooden, graduating summa cum laude is proof that hard work and dedication are synonymous with success.

Ebrahim’s outstanding academic record earned him the Juta Prize for the Best Third Year Student at last year’s School of Law Student Awards ceremony, while he was also awarded the prestigious James Scott Wylie Bursary in 2017.

He also obtained Dean’s Commendations in all of the eight semesters, and achieved 15 Certificates of Merit and a total of 38 distinctions in the 41 LLB modules.

‘The experience of studying Law has been enriching,’ said Ebrahim. ‘With the large number of modules and academic tasks that have to be completed in an LLB, I feel it compels one to be a disciplined individual. I consider my academic achievements to be life-changing experiences given that they enhanced my CV, thereby creating enhanced opportunities for me in the working world,’ said Ebrahim.

Ebrahim plans to do a Master’s degree after completing his articles of clerkship at Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys in Durban.

‘I also plan to complete my Board exams in the course of my articles and thereafter pursue an LLM degree. I would also like to become a conveyancer and subsequently specialise in the law of property. I believe the successful completion of my LLB has made these goals possible,’ he added.

Still on the pursuit of knowledge, Reheman who received 34 Certificates of Merit and seven Dean’s Commendations, the Best Second Year Student Award as well as the Best Third Year Student Award at the UKZN Prize-giving ceremony and was also the recipient of the James Scott Wylie Trust Bursary awarded to the 2017 Top Third Year Student, is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Human Rights Law before exploring the wide range of career opportunities her achievements qualify her for.

‘Studying for an LLB degree involves a lot of hard work, however, four years of dedication have definitely paid off. In 2017, I had the opportunity to meet a constitutional law judge and a commissioner from the SA Human Rights Commission at an event hosted by NADEL. Speaking to these two influential people sparked my interest in helping protect those deprived of their rights and made me realise that by changing the life of even one person makes a world of difference. This qualification is a building block towards assisting me leave my mark on the world,’ said Reheman.

Abdulah is currently doing an LLM in Business Law at UKZN. She won the Adams and Adams Best First Year Student prize and achieved 12 Certificates of Merit in various modules.

‘I view Law as a vehicle for change,’ she said. ‘Obtaining my degree was the first step towards achieving my goal of becoming an aspirant attorney. Once I achieve my goal, I will hopefully be able to use my legal knowledge to make a positive impact on the lives of others. I am in the process of applying for articles of clerkship for next year.’

For Gooden, her LLB experience was bittersweet as she was selected as a Research Clerk for Judge Malcolm Wallis at the beginning of 2018 and her grandmother passed away during her final-year of study.

‘Having to deal with my grandmother’s death while trying to maintain my standard of work was a challenge. She was always an inspiration to me and constantly supported me throughout my studies and I hope I have made her proud. Clerking for Justice Wallis required commitment and was time consuming but very beneficial as he is so knowledgeable and I learnt vast amounts. This experience provided me with invaluable information and skills that I will take forward with me into my career,’ said Gooden.

With aspirations of pursuing a career in the medical or health law field, Gooden is currently reading for her Master’s in Medical Law and Bioethics.

‘I am very interested in Medical Law and my Master’s focuses on the legality of human genome modification. This area of law is new, especially in South Africa. Many factors and risks are unknown and very little legislation exists on the topic. Therefore, by working in this field, I will have an opportunity to do something worthwhile and hopefully ensure that the law is formed to operate and shape the future of medicine in a positive way,’ she said.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan