Lauren Kohn Goldschmidt is an admitted attorney, a business owner, a creative thinker and mother of two. She founded a legal advice website and is an expert legal consultant, a PhD candidate at Leiden University and a senior lecturer in public law at UCT.
Her enthusiasm for law and compassion for those on the margins of society inspired her to start her own company, SA Legal Advice which seeks to make legal services more affordable, accessible and expedient for the public through an online platform with well-qualified attorneys. “The idea for the business had its inception in 2013 when my husband and I (both lawyers) felt frustrated at the fact that much of what we do does not help the people who need it most given the structural constraints of how the legal fraternity operates,” she says. They established the company after much frustration with the legal fraternity selling time at exorbitant rates to the relatively small portion of the population who can afford it. “I love knowing that my legal know-how is reaching the so-called ‘man on the street’ at the click of a button,” she says.
Being the first in her immediate family to enjoy the benefit of tertiary education, she completed all three of her degrees on scholarships and strongly values education. An article flowing from her thesis was published in the 2013 edition of the South African Law Journal which she considers a career highlight.
After completing her LLM, she took up a teaching position at the UCT law faculty in constitutional and administrative law, where she enjoys generous student support, demonstrated by her nomination for a UCT Distinguished Teacher Award. “I truly come alive when I teach. I don’t take for granted what it means to inspire future lawyers, politicians, judges, thought leaders and activists of our country. I wake up excited every day to do what I do,” she says.
Although she loves what she does and is constantly in high spirits, she has also endured difficult challenges such as seeing her mother through cancer and losing her father in 2017 on the day of her baby shower. She says it’s these challenges that inspire her to keep pushing. As a woman in an industry that is still dominated by men, she is also a strong believer in the importance of women’s solidarity in striving to shatter glass ceilings. — Welcome Lishivha