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The Good Guys

05th June 2019

Let's acknowledge the professionals who dedicate their lives to law and also to altruism.

“My daddy is a movie actor. Sometimes he plays the good guy and sometimes he plays the lawyer”

Malcolm Ford tells his preschool classmates what his father, actor Harrison Ford, does for a living.


Lawyers can be forgiven for feeling unappreciated. It’s easy to overlook the altruism behind pro-bono work that gives free legal representation to people who would otherwise struggle to find justice. It’s easy to overlook the mentoring programmes law firms offer to teenaged students from underprivileged backgrounds, helping them build a bridge to a worthwhile and lucrative career.

And it’s easy to overlook acts of kindness that give people in the developing world a gateway to knowledge that most of us take for granted.

Earlier this year leading national law firm Freeths donated 736 laptops and PCs to a Digital Pipeline, a charity that specialises in connecting schools and hospitals with technology across Africa, and also parts of Asia, Latin America and the West Indies. Freeths recognise that it’s impossible to deliver equality of opportunity without ensuring access to communication tools.

Whether that means laptops or language services, we couldn’t agree more. The ability to communicate online and across borders is transforming developing economies. Africa’s success stories include the expansion of Jumia, Nigeria’s answer to Amazon, into eleven countries up and down the continent and the growth of M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service that’s brought a branchless banking network to Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Ghana and Egypt.

How can you ensure clear, legally compliant communication in a continent where an estimated 2,000 languages are spoken? South Africa, one of the countries that stands to benefit from Freeths’ generosity, has eleven official languages plus another two dozen indigenous tongues in regular use among the country’s 57 million people. And this linguistic diversity is echoed in the country’s mix-and-match legal system. South African law is derived from the very different systems of the Dutch and the British, its former colonial governors, along with the terms of its own constitution.

It’s a sharp reminder that legal translators need to demonstrate a mastery of at least two languages and a working knowledge of at least two legal systems. When legal concepts that are central to a case in one language may not even exist in another, it takes a true specialist to convey meaning with precision.

That’s where Conversis come in. Our linguists and project managers preserve the sense of a text in a way that can make the difference between a winning argument and a losing one. The Conversis team that completed projects in (167) languages in the opening quarter of 2019 is ready to add value for legal clients working with partners across Africa, Asia, the Americas and of course Europe.  

The legal professionals we work with are the good guys. They serve their client interests with dedication and ingenuity, whether resolving a regional dispute or leading a cross-border merger. They demonstrate every day that good practice means good business. That’s a powerful message. Conversis make sure it’s communicated clearly in any language.


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