Back in 1998 I was a new attorney working at Ismail Ayob & Inc which turned out to be a very famous human rights law firm. Mr Ayob represented Mr Mandela for decades and I can tell you, is as clever as a tree full of owls. For a man with my background it was an eye opening experience and it must be said, I was treated well.
One day though we had to do something legal about the fellows who copied Mr Mandela's face everywhere - you will no doubt remember we had coins, t-shirts and whatever else with his face on for sale everywhere. And whatever your political beliefs are - the man turned out to be quite popular and remains one of my heroes. His face however was (maybe still is - I don't know) trademarked and the royalties on his face went to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. I soon realised it was impossible to get everyone to cease and desist from using his face to their own advantage (money). And the law proved to be quite useless in practice - I approached one of the largest intellectual property firms for assistance and they wanted to throw the book at the belligerents (the usual nonsense of cease & desist letters, interdicts and a claim for damages with destruction of the goods). Of course ONLY lawyers make money in such an action and hence we refused to go that route, besides the negative publicity attached to such things. It was however the start of what I called "forensic law" where civil remedies are used to protect a VICTIM of crime or civil injustice. I asked the forensic legal question "What can the practising lawyer do to help the VICTIM of crime or other civil injustice?" As silly as this sounds it turned the legal system on its head for up to that time the practising attorney / advocate only acted for the perpetrator which left the poor victim in the cold. Turned out we could do a substantial amount for the victim and hence "forensic law" was
Note that it has very little (less than one percent) to do with forensic investigations but that is how it was copied. Suddenly every second law firm had a "forensic section" meaning investigations. They still don't get it that forensic law is primarily civil law but whatever, carry on and be happy. I have yet to meet a private detective (no matter what degrees he has) who gets civil law. *If interested in this subject you can read my book "Tricks of Trade - Memories of a Rogue Lawyer."
Now at JKLS we are unconventional though there is a place for conventional law also - it is called "compliance" and the only way you can protect yourself and your company from abuse. Simply, if your taxes are paid as they should be - the tax office cannot touch you - if not (not compliant) you are subjected to severe pressures. The same with security -we spoke last week of "insurance driven security" where you obtain some security to protect yourself against harm - but in fact it will not protect you and is a scam from that viewpoint.
If you happen to have read my last book "Better Men", you would know I feel that the man is the head of his household. As such he has a duty to protect his wife and kids against harm and he better not fail. Hence it is very strange to me that you can put your trust in systems which on their own will not protect you. And it is not rocket science to know you need to be prepared and that is what we do at JKLS, when law gets too boring (law is boring for sane people). We think out of the box to find solutions which are cost effective. Hence our briefings, where we advise clients on what to do before they are attacked, and what to do to survive the attack. It is in fact legal stuff and not security as such - for instance if your employee is kidnapped the law plays a very large role in how to deal with it.
I have no doubt that all the major security firms will soon copy me as did all the lawyers since 1998 with the forensic law concept. Do I care? No, it will save lives and life is precious. Do not take it lightly - it is a gift from God to be enjoyed every single day.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.