ABOUT CCASA

About

WHO IS CCASA?

The Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa (CCASA), previously known as the Corporate Lawyers Association of South Africa (CLASA),was formed in 1982 to promote the common interests of corporate counsel in South Africa as the South African Government does not formally recognize or endorse CCASA or its members.

 

CCASA is currently the only Association in South Africa which represents Corporate Counsel in South Africa.  It operates under and in terms of the common law “universitas” concept.

 

Despite a valiant effort on the part of CCASA, the in-house profession in South Africa, for the past 33 years, has not:

  • fallen under the auspices of the South African Law Society;
  • been subject to the control of the Law Society or any of its associations or provincial bodies;
  • been regulated by any governmental body;
  • been recognised as forming part of the legal profession.

 

In response to this situation, CCASA was formed in order to give Corporate Counsel a voice.
CCASA is funded by members’ subscription fees and by revenue generated by educational courses and other activities.

 

THE IN-HOUSE PROFESSION

The terms ‘corporate counsel’ / ‘legal advisors’ / ‘corporate lawyers’ / ‘in-house counsel’ / legal counsel’ are used to describe practitioners who hold a legal degree/qualification and who are employed by companies and other organisations (public and private sector) for the purpose of providing in-house legal counsel, giving legal guidance and advice on a variety of legal and business related topics.

 

In other words such person generally acts as an in-house lawyer who provides advice of a legal and business nature, to his/her employer, the corporation, its employees, related companies and stakeholders, and who does not write fees in respect of this advice, but instead gets paid a salary by the employer. Corporate Counsel, as compared with practicing attorneys and advocates who provide their services to the public at large on an independent basis and in exchange for a fee, provide their service to a single employer.

 

Corporate Counsel are not regulated by a state body or by statute in South Africa, unlike International jurisdictions such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

 

When a practicing attorney elects to leave the practicing profession, he/she is required to remove him-/herself from the practicing roll held by the provincial Law Society and from this time he/she will no longer fall under the jurisdiction or control of the Law Society. Corporate Counsel, where employed by a public / private sector employer (corporate) will be subjected to, and must comply with any rules, policies and codes of practice as laid down by his/her respective employer.

 

In-house practice has showed tremendous growth in South Africa over the last several years.  Talented and ambitious practitioners now routinely leave private practice for in-house posts that provide compensation and sophistication of work that rivals the cream of the profession.

 

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF CCASA

CCASA’s main objectives are as follows:

  • to represent and promote the common interest of Corporate Counsel and the Corporate Counsel profession in South Africa;
  • to improve and promote the proficiency and competency of its members and the Corporate Counsel profession in general, and to encourage professional and ethical conduct;
  • to provide a forum for the exchange of views and mutual liaison on matters of common interest to Corporate Counsel in South Africa;
  • to effect liaison with such representative national and international organisations as may be desirable in the interest of its members;
  • to consider, and where necessary, deal with and make representations concerning the teaching and practice of law and the administration of justice in general;
  • to deal in general with all matters concerning the Association or any of its members.

 

CCASA provides its members with the following:

  • Tools which are universal and which are based on the role of a legal advisor across all jurisdictions;
  • Tools for a universal profession intent on subscribing to one set of universal standards;
  • Tools which unite and describe one universal profession and which allows for portability across the globe.

 

GOVERNANCE

Whilst CCASA operates as a non-profit entity, it is managed like a business under a sound business structure.

 

CCASA is governed by a Constitution and supporting governance documents, including:

  • Board Charter and level of authorities;
  • Code of Ethics;
  • Disciplinary Code and procedure;
  • CPD policy;
  • Transformation policy;
  • Recognition of prior learning policy;
  • Policy on foreign qualifications.

 

Furthermore, CCASA has embraced and applies strong corporate governance principles and practices in its day-to-day activities, and at all times places strong focus on the following factors:

  • Its mandate as set out under its Constitution;
  • Economic viability;
  • Transformation;
  • Promotion of Ethics and good Standards of Conduct amongst its members;
  • Professional development and recognition of prior learning;
  • Continuous Professional Development;
  • Growth and Effectiveness;
  • Flexibility;
  • Good Governance;
  • Political impact.

 

MANAGEMENT AND STAFF

CCASA is managed by a CEO under the direction of a properly constituted Board in accordance with CCASA’s Constitution. The Board is annually elected by CCASA’s members.

 

Management is responsible to:

  • Set goals / strategies;
  • Identify staffing responsibilities and needs (Full-time, part-time, contractors);
  • Manage the business.

 

The current CEO is Alison Lee who is consulted on a part-time basis to manage CCASA a position which she has held since 2004.

 

The CCASA Board is currently composed of a number of independent members, who have offered their services on a voluntary basis, who are in good standing with CCASA and who are employed by companies as Corporate Counsel in South Africa.

 

CCASA also employs the services of a Secretariat. Ronel Lindeque has been employed by CCASA on a full time basis since 2007. The Secretariat is responsible to manage the day-to-day administration and project management of the Association. She is assisted by Sarah Pleass.

 

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MEMBERSHIP

CCASA has three main types of membership categories:

  • Ordinary membership which applies to individual Corporate Counsel;
  • Corporate membership which applies to corporate entities with more than ten Corporate Counsel;
  • Associate membership which applies to law firms and legal service providers.

 

SERVICES / OFFERINGS TO MEMBERS

The services which CCASA offers its members include the following:

  • Articles on Best Practices and other relevant topics are sourced from various sources and housed in the Knowledge Box which can be found under the ‘members only’ section of the CCASA website;
  • Law firms contribute newsworthy items on a regular basis which are published in the Knowledge Box and/or sent to members;
  • Without Prejudice e-magazine – CCASA members have free access to online content;
  • Access to offerings by LexisNexis at a discounted rate;
  • Lexology – a tailored legal newsfeed service emailed to over 270,000 senior lawyers worldwide on a daily basis. By working in collaboration with over 470 global and US law firms, Lexology ensures comprehensive, up-to-date, high-quality content.
  • CCASAlerters, Value Alerters, Compliance Alerters and Court Briefs are sent out on a regular basis to members;
  • CCASA’s monthly online newsletter – “General Counsel”;
  • Association with Legal Week, a UK based company which hosts the Corporate Counsel Forum Africa and CCASA / Legal Week Awards ceremony annually;
  • CCASA’s membership rate to attend CCASA’s workshops;
  • Recruitment advertising – free of charge in CCASA’s newsletter and at a discounted rate on other offerings;
  • Access to quarterly networking forums;
  • Access to the “template/precedent of the month” service – this include templates on generic contracts, policies etc;
  • Each member receives a copy of the salary survey which was done at the end of 2015.

 

CCASA COURSES / WORKSHOPS

CCASA runs customised courses and workshops for Corporate Counsel on a regular basis. The courses and workshops are prepared and presented by Corporate Counsel and a selection of attorneys and other subject matter experts. On average some 25 courses are run over a year in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

 

CCASA staple courses, which are extremely popular, include the Contracts Skills Workshop, Implementation of the Companies Act workshop and the Compliance Course, to name a few.

 

CLASA FOUNDATION TRUST

CCASA has established an educational trust which is a separate standalone entity known as the “CLASA Foundation Trust”. Each year it sponsors a final year LLB student’s tuition and books up to the value of at least R25,000. The Trust has provided at least 6 students with funding over the past 7 years.

 

CCASA SPONSORSHIP

CCASA has over the years forged a relationship with certain law firms and legal service providers who provide CCASA with a sponsorship or partnership fee in exchange for certain rights such as the right to:

  • advertise on the CCASA website;
  • provide articles to CCASA for website and newsletter;
  • to be first approached when CCASA is sourcing and securing speakers for its various courses;
  • run specific standalone courses; and to
  • invite CCASA members to some of their functions/events.

 

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ASSOCIATIONS

CCASA is currently associated with the following entities:

  • In-house Counsel Worldwide (ICW) – Alison Lee, CCASA’s CEO, has been a board member since its inception during 2013;
  • LexisNexis;
  • Lexology;
  • Association for Corporate Counsel America (ACC)  – CCASA has forged an informal relationship at the end of 2012;
  • ProBono.Org – relationship and association forged during 2013

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

CCASA is run from offices based in Northcliff, Johannesburg and can be contacted at:
Telephone:  011 476 3217 (ext. 3)  |  e-mail:  info@ccasa.co.za   |  Website:  www.ccasa.co.za

 

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