ADAMS & ADAMS is an internationally recognised and leading African law firm that specialises in providing intellectual property and commercial services.
With primary office locations in South Africa and branches and associate offices in a number of African countries, the firm’s leadership position is reflected in the groundbreaking work they do, the valuable client relationships they have and the quality of professionals.
SAprofessionals.com spoke to Partner at Adams&Adams Lita Miti-Qamata about her personal and professional journey thus far.
Lita’s areas of practice include brand enforcement, brand protection, brand management and intellectual property commercialisation throughout Africa. She also has experience in anti-counterfeiting.
You have had several academic and professional achievements, which one stands out for you and why?
Definitely my LL.B degree. As one of five children raised by a single parent it was financially challenging to complete the course. I remember the bank and NSFAS refusing to fund my studies. Despite all of that I completed in record time and maintained my position in the top 5 on the Dean’s Merit List throughout my university career.
What advice do you have for students who are looking forward to joining the profession?
Do a vacation work programme in the area of expertise you wish to pursue and get a taste of a typical day for an attorney. This will help determine if you wish to join the profession and if so, it will encourage you to remain focused and complete your studies with good results. It also creates employment prospects as some firms tend to employ vacation work programme participants.
What has been the highlight of your brief career with your company?
Being promoted to Partner. It has been a long road with challenges along the way and moments where I considered opting out of private practice. I am glad I held on and built the aptitude and ability to thrive in the corporate environment.
What principles and values do you think are important for a young professional?
Hard work and staying true to yourself. There will be temptation to take shortcuts and be something you are not to achieve goals and popularity. At the end of the day you want to be an expert at your craft, be confident of your ability and be at peace with decisions you have made to get you where you are.
Explain what contribution you have made to the company since joining it?
I have brought in established companies as clients; facilitated panel discussions and was the master of ceremonies for the firm’s annual client event, Crammer. I also playa mentorship role to young attorneys joining the firm.
Who stands out for you as a role model and why?
My mother. She started working from a very young age and did not stop until she put us all through school and university. I remember at some point in high school I considered getting a job as a cashier or sales assistant just to help out at home. When I brought this up with my mother she told me I would do no such thing, my responsibility was to stay in school and complete my matric – she wouldsee to the rest. And she did.
Where do you want your career to be in 10 years time?
I foresee myself having time to publish papers and participating in legal forums that influence intellectual property law practice.
What community upliftment activities do you engage in?
My team and I give educational talks to entrepreneurs in townships to enable them to identify, capture and commercialise their intellectual property.
What changes do you think would make your profession better and how do you intend to be part of that change?
Seeing more young women who are moms thriving and fulfilling different roles in the profession. I am a young mom in private practice, with two kids (4 and 18 months) and another on the way. I believe that when young women see other young women with multiple responsibilities running a legal practice; they will be encouraged to pursue their dreams and succeed.
Do you believe your company is a great company to work for? Please list recent achievements that make it stand out from others in the same industry.
Adams & Adams is a great brand that has been around for over 100 years and has a good reputation the world over, as the leading intellectual property firm in Africa. It has won numerous awards over the years and has and continues to represent some of the world’s most powerful brands.
How does your company contribute to the development of the profession and to the betterment of the community?
The firm trains attorneys to qualify as fellows in the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL). Candidates sit a total of eight examinations which are challenging. The firm pays of these exams and provides classes to equip candidates so that they are successful. Adams & Adams runs a pro bono initiative with NSBS where attorneys at the firm participate in presentations and consultations with entrepreneurs to help them identify, protect and enforce their intellectual property.