A few days ago my left eye started to sting in the middle of the night, it felt as though something was in my eye. I woke up, looked at my reddening eye and rinsed it with warm water. The rinsing soothed it, but I as I blinked I kept feeling the foreign object. The thought of going to the emergency room at 1am crossed my mind, but like a reasonable person,  I decided to start by consulting a well trusted medical expert:

Dr Google, told me to tape my eye shut and check on it in a few hours and I took the doctors orders. As I was struggling to fall asleep I opened my Spotify gospel playlist and heard a popular Hillsong tune being sang by a voice I was unfamiliar with. It got me thinking about the Hillsong Music model, that looks free but ultimately is not.


The Hillsong Hustle

Hillsong Church was founded in Australia with over 80 church affiliates world wide and at least 100 000 people attending services weekly. Apart from the charismatic messages, hipster fashion and concert like production, the musical arm of the church which has been ubiquitous in the Christian scene for over 20 years.

Hillsong allows all churches worldwide to play or sing their songs, with lyrics included for free, without paying the church any royalty. According to a report by Fader , all Hillsong songs have 2 copyrights, which is the “mechanical” royalty for the music and lyrics (sheet music) and a “performance” royalty for the music you hear. Every time a song is played on Spotify, or Apple music, the song writers get paid the mechanical royalty and the performance royalty is paid to the church. It may raise an eyebrow that the money for the performance royalty is paid to the church and not the musicians singing the songs, however there may be background arrangements that aren’t public.

Therefore it is in Hillsong’s interest to distribute their music freely to all churches because, people hear it while having a spiritual experience and will want to buy the music to recreate that environment at home- which in turn will increase their profitability. Hillsong artists and other Christian musicians will also visit a YouTube show called New Songs Cafe to debut their new music, inspiration behind it and breakdown the musical chords. Hillsong features predominantly on this channel as they produce new albums every year.

The Terror of Templates 

Every lawyer has been asked to share a template or precedent document by another colleague, a client or even a family member. If you refuse to share the document out of intellectual property concerns and the need for customisation of each document, the response is usually annoyance followed by “so you want to charge me for a template?! As if you are going to draft it from scratch!” or some variation of this response. The question of form versus substance is what drives either side. A person without a legal degree may just want a piece of paper with the title “Contract” or “Summons” at the top so that they can proceed with their transaction or action at the lowest price possible.

So should we give the people what they want?

Legal tech start ups like Legal Zoom in the USA and Lenoma Legal in Bloemfontein provide templates to legal documents at fixed, affordable cost, but if the client wants the document to be customised or reviewed then the client will have to pay for a consultation and further drafting.

Providing templates for free or at a fixed cost would be a way to replicate the Hillsong model, because the clients will come back to pay more for the additional, personalised services. I also think a number of law firms would find that their colleagues are the ones downloading the templates and not lay people or clients. Lawyers are usually loathe to share templates, but it may be time to rethink this attitude and do something counterintuitive like giving away templates for free.

We’re curious on your views on the topic and ask that you take the poll the below.

Hello 2019!

Rather than kicking off the year with a list of resolutions, I would rather begin with reflections on things I learned in 2018. I want to learn from the L’s (losses) and turn them into Wins and eventually Millions.

 

1. Reference Letters

When we went to University, the only instructions many of us were told were “get good grades, so you can get a good job.” Thats exactly what I did, I got my good grades and thought after walking across the graduation stage, I wouldn’t ever need to see those lecturers again.

Until… I decided I wanted to go to Graduate School and apply for Academic Fellowships. Most of the applications required a reference letter from someone who knows your academic work. My mouth went dry, and stomach was twisting as I racked my mind thinking of who I could approach.

 

5 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT ADULTING IN 2018

Hello 2019!

Rather than kicking off the year with a list of resolutions, I would rather begin with reflections on things I learned in 2018. I want to learn from the L’s (losses) and turn them into Wins and eventually Millions.

1. Reference Letters

When we went to University, the only instructions many of us were told were “get good grades, so you can get a good job.” Thats exactly what I did, I got my good grades and thought after walking across the graduation stage, I wouldn’t ever need to see those lecturers again.

Until… I decided I wanted to go to Graduate School and apply for Academic Fellowships. Most of the applications required a reference letter from someone who knows your academic work. My mouth went dry, and stomach was twisting as I racked my mind thinking of who I could approach.

If you, similarly to me, experienced this rude awakening and didn’t get the cheat code to make friends with your lecturers- don’t panic. Make sure you build relationships with your seniors and clients where you are right now to ensure you can get a solid reference letter in future.

2. LSAC!

If you are applying to a law school in the USA, get ready for the torture of LSAC. This is the Law School Admissions Council and they collate applications to 95% of the law schools in the USA. You need to give at least 3 months and at least $400 for your law school application to make it to its intended destination.

LSAC has centralized applications to law schools so, unless you apply to Harvard Law School or Cornell Tech, you will have to go through LSAC. The whole system is horrible and confusing- read the fine print or you will miss your application deadlines like I have.

3. Have A Plan B Country

As I have been speaking to my friends in South Africa and Zimbabwe,  I have learned that a number of them are working on a plan to leave their respective countries to seek better economic opportunities. Perhaps I am too ideological and I have sipped too much of the the “Africa is Rising” juice that I am too drunk to read the signs with my sepia coloured lenses.

Apparently to have access to the best resources and opportunities, you need to get rid of or supplement your green passport. I have started to browse through some countries, but to be honest I love living in South Africa. As a professional you get to live a first world lifestyle at third world prices. I am not really thinking of leaving South Africa for any time beyond 5 years to gain international exposure.

As a legal professional it may not be so easy to just pack up and go to another legal system. I think you would have to move to a country that is prominent in your practice area. Eg if you practiced mining law or construction, then a move to Australia or Canada may be more feasible.

4. Gym Is A Scam

Your favourite gyms don’t want you to show up. They just want you to sign on the dotted line and permit the debit order. They know in January you are all kinds of hype, but by March they know your commitment to after work drinks and Netflix will take over, leaving them with your cash in their hands.

According to The Hustle newsletter, “the nation’s largest gym chains often sign up20x the number of people who can actually fit in a given location. They are well aware that most won’t show up. AsPlanet Moneyreported, one Planet Fitness branch in NYC had a max capacity of about 300, but boasted more than6k members.”

Rather than falling into the vicious cycle, avoid it completely and explore new ways of working out. Set up a mini gym in your home with a yoga mat, a set of weights, resistance bands, a pull up bar and medicine ball. If you want to socialise, you can join a running club or take part in the weekend Parkruns. I have set up my small home gym and watch Popsugar on Youtube for workout routines.

5. Travel

Don’t just travel to take bikini pics, but rather to incorporate your work with play. When you are going to new destination, try to connect with local entrepreneurs or lawyers in that area so that you can exchange ideas and grow the network because you never know when you will need to refer a matter in Bolivia!

Meet people through co working spaces like WeWork, which has offices in every major city on each continent (except Africa). Send the desired office an email and explain you are visiting that city so you want to work there for a day and they could let you do so for free 🙂

Ps: Find out beforehand if you need a yellow fever shot for travel to some countries out there. I almost missed a trip to Lagos because of this!

There is still so much I am learning about being an adult like money management, growing a property portfolio, food combining, choosing a life partner and so much more. I am sure you know something I don’t, so please share it below.