I am so excited about this weeks Werk Crush Wednesday because we met at vacation work in 2009 and went on to do articles together and get admitted in the same year. Its always wonderful to grow with your colleagues. Thethe specialises in Construction and Engineering as well as General Commercial Litigation and was recognised by Who’s Who Legal for her work in Litigation.
If Suits was still filming another season, I would recommend Thethe to fill in for Duchess Megan Markle, because she is as stylish as her!
Bachelor of Laws (LLB) University of the Witwatersrand;
Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa (5 years);
Federation Internationale des Iingenieurs Conselis standard form construction contracts (University of Pretoria Continuing Education);
NEC Engineering & Construction Contract 3 Black Book (Binnington Copeland & Associates (Pty) Ltd now HKA Global); and
Engineering & Construction Contracts (Law Society of Society of South Africa)
Accreditations – Who’s Who Legal, South Africa (Litigation)
Your practice areas:
International and local arbitrations
Construction and Engineering
General commercial litigation
The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer:
People are generally shocked because I apparently look so young that they can’t imagine me in a “confrontational” role. Most of them go on tell me they will call me if they ever get arrested which is bizarre. I find that there is a lot of misconception about what lawyers do and most people assume that all we do is defend criminals or the fictional depiction of lawyers they see on television shows.
A major move in the last 5 years:
Being seconded to our London Office’s Disputes Team for 3 months. The amount of personal growth that I went through in those 3 months changed my life. I came back a different person.
Why you chose to study law:
Law was actually my second or third choice because becoming an accountant was the “in thing” at the time. There is so much about what being a lawyer is that resonates with who I am though, that I now know I could never have gone into any other profession. I am a natural problem solver (those closest to me will attest to this) and as a child I read everything under the sun which prepared me from an early age to read large volumes of documents. I love analysing everything, I’m the person who pauses Game of Thrones every 5 minutes to analyse what is happening and debating where the storyline is going and giving advice on what the best move would be.
Something you wish you could change about legal practice:
How do you network:
Very informally. I try to attend as many sector specific seminars and functions as possible. I am active on LinkedIn and I am working on my social networking skills.
Whats your “Go-To” beauty staple and closet item?:
Mascara (Clinique High Impact Mascara) and eyeliner (MAC). I started wearing foundation in my final year of university and I used foundation and bronzer full time during articles, which I don’t do anymore. I prefer to let my skin to breathe now and I just don’t have the time to apply makeup every morning.
Closet item(s) is a good pair of black pointy heels and black high waist trousers.
When stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to refocus:
Lately I find that going for a run or walk helps a lot with releasing pent up stress. If I am working from home and I can take a power nap, I always find that to be the most effective.
A time you made a mistake at work and how you bounced back:
I had a correspondent who sent a notice of bar late a day late and I calculated the date of filing of the plea from the date I received the notice by mistake. Our plea was filed a day later, very early in the morning though, but we had effectively been barred at that stage.
The opposing attorney would not grant me an indulgence even though I called immediately and alerted him to the situation. I had to make my supervising director and client aware of the situation, which I did. We had to file for condonation, which was granted but the moral of the story is always to double check when notices were actually served on correspondents!
A physical or spiritual practice you have adopted:
I pray a LOT! People aren’t always aware of how religious I am. My mother is a praying woman and she has taught me to pray for and over everything. I pray at the start of every arbitration, for every trial, I pray for my presentations and meetings if I am feeling nervous. I pray in the car to work, sometimes silently and sometimes I verbalize my prayers.
My faith is at the centre of everything I am and do. I am able to get over a lot of negative things at work and in my personal life because of my faith.
If not law, what would you be doing:
As a child I wanted to be a journalist because I loved reading and writing, nothing excited me more than writing essays! I would probably be a fashion journalist though, I love love love clothes and fashion.
Bad recommendations or assumptions about law that you often hear?
People assume that lawyers do everything and they don’t understand how specialized the legal profession has become. Yes we have general practitioners but not all of us can represent you at your divorce mediation or attend to your cousin’s bail application. People also assume that we are argumentative and confrontational.
Can you share something you are struggling with right now?
Balance. I have other roles outside of my career, I am a wife/daughter/friend, amongst many things and I struggle with giving all the other roles as much attention because my career tends to be the main focus. I am working very hard on this though.
The best or most worthwhile investment you have ever made?
Spiritually it’s my relationship with God, emotionally my marriage and best friendship with my husband and financially it’s our home.
Major goal for the next 5 years:
To have positioned myself as an expert in my practice area and to pursue that LLM that I have been delaying. My gran reminded me of that the other day J.
Quote you live your life by:
I’m not one for quotes but I do believe that we can achieve anything we put our minds to, if we are brave enough to take the first step, walk the hard road and persevere. God will take care of the rest.
How can people get in touch with you:
LinkedIn: Thethe Mokele