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The Business of Law: Traversing the Industry to Establish Herself

Youlander Jele

Despite her mother not having the privilege of getting much formal education, entrepreneur and attorney Youlander Jele-Chaz credits her for being a big influence in the woman she has become. She describes her mother as a strong, resilient woman whose buoyant spirit inspired her to face challenges that come as part of being an entrepreneur.

Youlander grew up in a small town called Lower Gwelo in the district of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. She is the director of Youlander Jele Attorneys and an is attorney with extensive experience in providing specialised advice to complex legal problems in the field of commercial law, Labour law, immigration law, insurance law and family law.

On building a legacy

Her law firm in Kempton Park, Gauteng is known for its professionalism and reliability. They provide affordable legal advice and prioritize ensuring that their clients are well-informed about their rights and how the law applies to them.

By following relevant legislation, they strive to achieve successful outcomes for their clients in legal matters. Her company’s mission is to empower and uplift girls and underprivileged women by advocating for their rights and providing them with access to justice.

Additionally, the company aims to support female SME owners in understanding and utilizing their legal rights to help them succeed in their businesses. “We offer free legal advice to community members who are financially disadvantaged, and we ensure that justice is not just a concept but a reality for everyone we serve.” She acknowledges her family as her ultimate support.

“My husband who believed in me when I first told him I wanted to start a Law firm, my steadfast belief in God and my two boys collectively inspired me to claim my spot under the sun.”

Navigating a tough industry

Although the male dominance is still a big part of the legal fraternity, Youlander is determined to break through the barriers and prove her worth, constantly pushing herself to excel and overcome any gender bias that she encounters.

She admits the harsh reality that gender bias still rears its ugly head in her space and women still have to work twice as hard as men to prove that they can lead and take on complex matters. She says what is important is for her at the moment is to navigate the competitive legal market and establish a robust client base.

“Adapting to evolving legal landscapes are some of the hurdles I faced as an entrepreneur. However, each challenge served as a learning opportunity, strengthening our resolve and refining our strategies.”

Being a young woman in leadership comes with a significant burden. Youlander understands that she is not only representing herself but also standing up for the rights and needs of other women. This responsibility requires her to be a force for change, advocating for those who cannot speak up for themselves and striving for justice for all.

What has been the highlight since you started your law firm?

“Advocating for widows who had been in unregistered customary marriages and could not afford legal advice. Mentoring young female attorneys and law students at Sivuyile Mentorship Academy, speaking at the South African Women Lawyer’s Association and nomination for SheAwards Africa under the category of Founder of the Year over 30.”

Sound advice

To quote Ntozake Shange - Where there is a woman there is magic. I believe women are capable of creating extraordinary opportunities. Release yourself from fear and see what you are capable of, dare to challenge the set norms and standards and refuse to follow a script of how it is done.”



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Editor's note

American novelist Louisa May Alcott said it best when she said “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

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