Legalese is defined as a noun referring to the legal jargon frequently used by legal professionals in their everyday conversations and business writings, that is not only renders legal documents incomprehensible for the layman on street but even for practicing attorneys who more often than not need to consult their legal dictionary to confirm the meaning and interpretation of a word. Legalese is a common characteristic of BigLaw practice and writings, referring to the traditional, billable hour model of a law firm and  uncharacteristic of the new,  innovative branch of law –  NewLaw – which refers to alternative  legal service providers,  who are interpreting, applying and practicing the law in new and innovative ways. 

Apart from being a noun referring to the formal and technical language of legal documents,  Legalese is also a creative legal agency,  which provides affordable and accessible legal services to creatives, entrepreneurs and start-ups with a unique service offering including but not limited to legal advice and assistance on cannabis business ventures or drones and aviation. Situated in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town and Sandton, Johannesburg, Legalese is not your typical law firm, having redesigned the provision of legal services through the utilisation of modern technology and innovative thinking to provide corporate commercial legal services to start-ups and creatives, with a wide range of fair and reasonable pricing packages that suit the financial means of all, from the musician to the freelancer.

Eitan Stern, the founder of Legalese, had always had a great passion for Social Justice and Public law, having founded E-Label, an integrated network of internet and mobile applications,  promoting economic sustainability and consumer protection and whose research on same has been academically published and acknowledged at local and international legal conferences. However, it was only once he had exhausted the project capital for his tech-start up and had commenced articles at a boutique commercial law firm, John Taylor and Associates, that he discovered he had a real passion for  commercial law. He soon realised that there was a share of the market that was not being catered for by  traditional law firms and legal practitioners and thus having an idea  to do things differently and to service the creatives and innovators that were not being serviced by traditional lawyers and firms, created Legalese to offer legal services to  creative, start-up and tech based business. 

Having incorporated Legalese from the ground up, Eitan acknowledges that growing an alternative legal services business is tough however, placing one foot in front of the other, taking it day by day, invoice by invoice, legal professionals are zoning in on new legal models and alternative ways of offering legal services – breaking away from the traditional BigLaw.

Whether NewLaw is the law firm of the future or not, legal innovation is opening the legal industry to different opportunities and challenges. Don’t be left behind, be open minded to the possibilities of tomorrow, learn to surf the flux. 

Join Futures Law Faculty  for an evening of personal stories from Eitan Stern and others who broke free of BigLaw and its traditions to discuss the reasons they broke away, the challenges they faced and how they feel  about the future of law on 15 August 2019, at 17:00 – 20:30 at Inner City Ideas Cartel, managed by Nina Van Deventer Property and Project Management. For more information and tickets please see – or 

Contributed by: 

Kristi Erasmus 
Head Futures Law Faculty 
(Futures Law Faculty in association with Law For All and ILPDR) 


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