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Law meets Entrepreneurship with Aurelia Nxumalo

Aurelia Hlobsile Nxumalo is an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, with distinctions of a legal practitioner, entrepreneur, speaker, and influencer to her name.

A budding Social Entrepreneur as the Founder and Director of Hershima - a social enterprise that aims at working to restore the lives of young girls to enable them not to miss a day of school through our sanitary pad initiative. Further, she is the co-founder of the Learned Friend - a platform where they take a snapshot of the top news and stories of the week, which may have legal implications and consequences. A platform in which they extend an invitation to everyone beyond the parameters of the legal fraternity via the interactions and conversations shared on the platform. The Learned Friend platform also offers an “Anti-Bullying” programme and the “How to be a Responsible Digital Citizen” programme which is offered to schools as well as private and public organisations.

1.  Aurelia, your journey from being an admitted Advocate to co-founding Learned Friend and Meraki Legal is fascinating. Can you walk us through how you navigated these diverse paths in your career?

It's been an exciting transition indeed. My interests have always gravitated towards being an in-house counsel rather than practicing law. This inclination played a significant role in my decision to co-found Learned Friend and Meraki Legal Consultancy. We envisioned a platform that not only offers legal services but also fosters a collaborative environment akin to an in-house legal department. This move allowed me to merge my passion for law with innovative solutions.

2.  Learned Friend has been instrumental in providing accessible legal information to the wider public. Could you share some memorable moments or success stories where your platform made a tangible difference in people's lives?

Our anti-bullying workshops in the corporate space and targeted interventions in schools have yielded tangible results. One memorable instance involved a school grappling with a bullying challenge. Through our legal education and solutions, we empowered the school to address the issue effectively, fostering a safer environment for students. Additionally, our workshops in corporate settings have sparked meaningful conversations and proactive measures against workplace bullying. These successes underscore our commitment to making a positive difference in people's lives through legal empowerment.

3.  Bullying is a significant issue globally. How did your advocacy against bullying start, and what strategies have you implemented to address this societal challenge through Learned Friend?

Our advocacy against bullying began with a recognition of its pervasive impact globally. At Learned Friend, we've implemented multifaceted strategies to address this societal challenge. Our approach includes conducting anti-bullying workshops in schools and corporate settings, providing legal education, and offering targeted solutions to empower individuals and institutions to combat bullying effectively. Through collaborative efforts and proactive measures, we strive to create safer and more inclusive environments for all.

4. As a director at Meraki Legal, what inspired you to establish this corporate law firm, and what sets it apart from others in the industry?

The inspiration behind establishing our corporate law firm stemmed from a desire to redefine traditional legal services. We envisioned a firm that prioritizes innovation, collaboration, and client-centricity. What sets Meraki Legal apart is our commitment to proactive and strategic legal solutions tailored to the unique needs of start-ups and entrepreneurs. We blend legal expertise with a deep understanding of business dynamics, enabling us to deliver tangible value to our clients. Our dedication to excellence and a personalized approach distinguishes us in the industry.

5. Learned Friend's involvement in government programs and public engagements indicates its growing influence. Can you elaborate on the national program you're building for a particular government department and its objectives? 

We are indeed excited about the national program. The program aims to enhance legal literacy and access to justice for citizens across various demographics. Our objectives include developing educational resources, conducting outreach initiatives, and fostering partnerships to promote legal empowerment at the grassroots level. We are committed to making a meaningful impact and look forward to sharing more details as the program unfolds. 

6. With your experience in public speaking and influencing, how do you leverage these skills to drive positive change and awareness about legal issues and entrepreneurship?

I leverage these skills to raise awareness about legal issues and entrepreneurship by engaging diverse audiences through insightful discussions, seminars, and workshops. By sharing practical knowledge, fostering dialogue, and inspiring action, I aim to empower individuals to navigate legal complexities confidently and embrace entrepreneurial opportunities. Through collaborative efforts and advocacy, I strive to contribute to a more informed and dynamic society.

7. In your opinion, what are some key opportunities and challenges facing the legal profession in the digital age, and how does Learned Friend adapt to these changes?

In the digital age, the legal profession faces both opportunities and challenges. Key opportunities include enhanced accessibility, efficiency, and innovation in service delivery. However, challenges such as cybersecurity threats and adapting to rapidly evolving technology also exist. At Learned Friend, we embrace these changes by leveraging technology to provide accessible legal information and innovative solutions. Through digital platforms, we ensure transparency, efficiency, and client-centricity while addressing emerging challenges proactively. Our adaptability and commitment to staying abreast of technological advancements enable us to navigate the evolving landscape of the legal profession effectively.

8. Lastly, as a multifaceted professional, what legacy do you hope to leave in both the legal and entrepreneurial spheres, and what future projects or initiatives are you excited about pursuing?

As a multifaceted professional, I aspire to leave a legacy of empowerment and innovation in both the legal and entrepreneurial spheres. In the legal realm, I aim to foster greater access to justice and legal education, empowering individuals to navigate complexities confidently. In entrepreneurship, I strive to inspire a culture of innovation, collaboration, and ethical leadership.

Looking ahead, I'm excited about pursuing projects and initiatives that leverage technology and collaboration to drive positive change. Specifically, I'm passionate about expanding access to legal resources and fostering entrepreneurship among underserved communities. By embracing new opportunities and fostering meaningful connections, I aim to leave a lasting impact on individuals and communities alike.

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