So, what impact does this have on us? What is not commonly known to many is that Mandela himself was a lawyer. He used his professional training and abilities to bring about radical change to a country, changing the circumstances of others. It is with this in mind, therefore, that I look at my role with Morton Fraser and, outside of the day-to-day tasks, the further reaching responsibilities this brings.
It was by no means a straightforward or easy path Mandela followed to earn this iconic status. For years his fame was largely confined to his own country, South Africa. He did not become widely known abroad until his convictions in the 1960s, which famously resulted in him being imprisoned for more than 17 years on Robben Island, a wind-scorched Alcatraz off the Cape coast. When he emerged from captivity in 1990, then aged 71 years old, few would have believed what he could go on to achieve. Mandela, however, overcame challenges and struggle, proving to be a remarkably inspirational leader.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn't have such noble things in mind when I pursued law at university. I wanted to be a successful lawyer and that was really it. Training with Morton Fraser has, however, expanded my view on the various levels of influence you can have and the impression that you can make. For one, you have a big part in promoting professional integrity and acting in a just and proper way.
Something to be learned from Mandela is standing up for what you believe. This to me highlights that anyone can be good at what they do. However, the way that they do it, and the positive impact they make, is the key to how influential that person is, and how they may be seen as a role model to others.
Mandela too made mistakes, but his success lies in his response to failure and his resilience when faced with adversity. Staying true to your goals and showing resilience and resolve when the road gets tough, with the confidence that your professional skills will equip you to influence the wider society. Mandela's passing refocused my belief in that seeing how someone inspired a nation, changed the course of history, through determination and following a course he believed in. I want to bring these qualities into my professional life as a solicitor and one day, hope to be in a position to inspire others and make a difference.