City lawyer sets up accessible practice

2008-01-30 00:00

At first glance, Debi Place, the popular shopping market in Northdale, may not be the most attractive venue to set up an emerging law firm.

But for one dynamic young lawyer, Harshna Munglee, the location offers a chance to reach out to marginalised communities that need legal services.

The business she has established, H. Munglee & Associates, is believed to be the first law firm to set up shop in this bustling location.

Munglee told The Witness that she chose to locate her offices at 10 Debi Place so as to make this professional service more accessible to the lower LSM (Living Standard Measure) groupings.

"I could have set up in the CBD, where the majority of the law firms operate. However, half my client base is from the greater Northdale area. It is a risk to set up in this location as there are a lot of negative connotations associated with operating a professional services business from this area in terms of corporate image. But the image of a firm is not dictated by the area you are in, but by the way you offer professional services to clients."

Munglee has worked in Durban and Pietermaritzburg and has turned down lucrative offers to work for corporate law firms in order to pursue her dream of having her own legal practice.

She is an active member of a number of professional associations, including the practice support committee of KZN Law Society and the South African Women Lawyers’ Association.

"I come from a business-orientated family and I wanted to start my own business. I am passionate about going to court and operating at the coalface of the profession. I do not like to sit at a desk all day."

Munglee hopes that other professionals will be encouraged to operate from the area.

kavith@witness.co.za

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