A law firm in Johannesburg is looking for someone to work a full day, Monday to Friday, for only R1000 stipend. PHOTO: Twitter

Exploitation or experience? Law firm job ad sparks dispute over low stipend

It seems studying law costs more than getting paid as a legal assistant as a job advert offers a very low stipend for intern.


A law firm in Johannesburg is looking for someone to work a full day, Monday to Friday, for only R1000 stipend. PHOTO: Twitter

Imagine going through years of studying law, cramming the Latin terms and owing student debt – only to be offered a R1 000 for a legal job.

Law is listed as one of the highest paying jobs in the country, but not according to a law firm in Johannesburg.

The law firm, Tocchae, is looking for an intern or volunteer. PHOTO:


A law firm in Johannesburg is looking for a volunteer legal assistant or intern. The law firm, Tocchae, advertised the position. But this caused some sort of backlash due to the offered stipend.

According to the job ad, the intern is required for three to six months. The advert states that the intern/volunteer should be living in the Northgate or Northriding area.

“This is an office-based position and you will be required to be in the office daily from Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM.”


The company will in turn pay their volunteer or intern a “stipend of R1 000”.

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While one wonders how a stipend of R1 000 could help get to and from the office, perhaps it’s what the firm considered as they required an intern living in the same area.

But some social media users are outraged by the below minimum-wage stipend.

“At least there’s money for snacks while you slave away trying to prove that you’re worthy of a permanent position,” tweeted @marcia_breezy.

Others were reminded that it’s a “volunteer” position, questioning Tweeps if they understand what the word means.

Some are siding with the law firm, stating that the position will help law graduates in gaining experience.

Another suggests something outrageous – that those who apply should rather pay the firm for training.

“You will gain work experience which will make you more attractive to future employers. You should actually be paying this firm to train you. You pay university even though what they teach doesn’t add much value to you as a future employee,” tweeted @IamLungile.

But another tweep made a valid point – volunteering should not come with requirements.

“It’s a different story when you put an ad out with requirements. 1. A legal degree. 2. You are required to work Mon – Fri, 08h00 – 17h00.”

Clearly, it costs more to study for a law degree than it does to get paid as a legal assistant.

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