Sandipa Ramkissoon is a wife and mum with a full-time schedule and still finds the time (and energy) to run a law firm and sit on various panels and boards. She spoke to IOL’s Se-Anne Rall about her passion for law and how she’s overcome various challenges in her career.
Name and job description?
Sandipa Ramkissoon, director at SSR Attorneys (Durban).
What ignited your passion for your work?
My passion for law was ignited by my dedication to assist people. I believe everyone needs a helping hand, especially through legal challenges. My motivation extends to assisting people and providing the highest standard of services even in pro bono legal matters.
What/where did you study?
I obtained a Master’s degree in labour law (LLM) at Unisa and a law degree (LLB) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I am certified and experienced in alternative dispute resolution.
Take us through a ‘typical day’ in your line of work.
A typical day for me begins with meeting a client and having a consultation with them. I travel to the client in instances where they are unable to come to my office. The client advises me as to whether they would like to proceed with their matter either legally or via alternative dispute resolution. Thereafter, I proceed with the instructions received by my client. This entails drafting documents, attending to court, or assisting the client through mediation or arbitration. I provide the client with an update and assist further.
What are some of the projects you've worked on?
I assist clients with full legal assistance and alternative dispute resolution services, in addition to self-help legal services. This includes, but is not limited to: labour law matters, civil legal matters, commercial matters, drafting of contracts and wills.
I am involved with a number organisations as a committee member, collaborative partner or panellist. This includes the South African Society for Labour Law Pro Bono Project, Gender-Based Violence and Femicide National Strategic Plan, the KZN Law Society of South Africa (Mediation and Arbitration Law Panel) as well as the Manor Gardens Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association and assisting on two school governing boards.
What will always be your proudest moment in your career?
The proudest moments of my career include embarking on the journey to open my own law firm as well as seeing the gratitude and joy on clients’ faces when you offer them the help they require. Even just a “Thank You” means so much.
What will always be one of your lowest moments in your career?
The lowest moment in my career has been the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic has created such strain on my business and family.
What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am still overcoming the impact of Covid-19 on my new business and financial strain that comes with being a sole proprietor. The recent flooding has also impacted access to clients.
How do you find the inspiration to continue despite the challenges?
Every morning when I wake up, I look at my children and husband and think about all the sacrifices they have made, including all the love and support they give me, and this inspires me to continue despite the challenges faced.
Tips of someone reading this who would like to be where you are one day?
Hard work and dedication truly pays off, despite the adversities one may face. If you are passionate and love what you do, the journey to get to your goal is worth every sacrifice made.