Land & Property Law News South Africa

#WomensMonth: Your unique perspective has a positive value - Eulenda Lebese-Cussons, LC Attorneys

As part of Bizcommunity's Women's Month feature, we chat Eulenda Lebese-Cussons, founding director of Cape Town-based boutique law firm, Lebese-Cussons (LC) Attorneys.
Eulenda Lebese-Cussons, founding director of LC Attorneys
Eulenda Lebese-Cussons, founding director of LC Attorneys

The practice, under the guidance of Lebese-Cussons, recently assisted a client conclude the purchase of a property in Spain worth over R38m. She was recently featured on Gauteng's Power FM as well as Times Live.

Here Lebese-Cussons discusses women's strengths in the courtroom and closing the gender gap in the legal industry, while reminding us that our individual perspectives have a positive value.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you got into law...

As the director of a law firm specialising in conveyancing, my journey into law was not a childhood dream but rather a gradual discovery of my passion. My fascination with legal texts and documents began during my first job as a legislative linguist. Over time, I developed a deep appreciation for the law's intricacies and its potential to make a meaningful impact. As I pursued my studies and advanced in my career, I recognised the importance of helping individuals with their property transactions, which led me to specialise in conveyancing.

What are some of the challenges facing women in the legal industry today?

Women in the legal industry continue to face challenges such as, but not limited to, gender bias and limited representation in leadership roles. Additionally, work-life balance remains a concern, as the demanding nature of legal practice can sometimes impact personal life and family responsibilities. Despite progress, there is still a need for greater gender equality and inclusivity within law firms and legal institutions.

What special skills or qualities do you believe women bring to the courtroom or negotiating table that a male counterpart may not?

Women often bring unique strengths to the courtroom and negotiation settings, including strong empathy, effective communication, and the ability to build rapport with clients and opposing parties. These qualities can foster better understanding and lead to more creative and collaborative solutions in legal proceedings.

What do you think is the most important piece of legislation affecting women that has been passed – either locally or internationally - within the last 45 years?

One of the most important pieces of legislation affecting women within the last 45 years is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations in 1979 and has been ratified by numerous countries worldwide. It aims to end discrimination against women and ensure their equal rights in various spheres of life, including legal, political, economic, and social aspects.

Over the course of your career, how have you seen the gender divide change within the industry?

Throughout my career, I have witnessed some positive changes in the legal industry concerning the gender divide, with more women pursuing legal education and entering the workforce. However, the progress has been slow, and there are still significant disparities in leadership positions and persistent challenges related to pay equity and unconscious biases. More needs to be done to address these issues and create a truly inclusive and diverse legal profession.

Who are your female legal icons and why?

My female legal icons include trailblazing figures like Michelle Obama, who has made a significant impact through her legal career and beyond. As an attorney, Michelle Obama worked on issues related to civil rights, public service, and community development, showing her dedication to social justice and equality. Michelle Obama's ability to inspire and uplift others makes her a true icon in the legal and public service arena.

What is your message to young women this Women's Month?

To young women this Women's Month, I would say: embrace your passions, be confident in your abilities, and fearlessly pursue your dreams. Know that you have the potential to excel in any field you choose, including law. Take advantage of opportunities to learn, network, and seek mentorship from experienced professionals. Be resilient in the face of challenges, and remember that your unique perspective and strengths can make a positive impact in the legal industry and beyond. Always believe in yourself and support other women, as together, we can break barriers and create a more equitable and inclusive future for all. Happy Women's Month!

Let's do Biz