JM Rankeng Attorneys aims to serve people

Jennifer Rankeng Attorneys aims to serve people. Picture: Supplied

Jennifer Rankeng Attorneys aims to serve people. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 18, 2024


FOUNDED by a mother of three, grandmother of three, and a life partner, Jennifer Mercy Rankeng aims to impact people’s lives by providing legal assistance through her law firm JM Rankeng Attorneys.

Born and bred in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, like many other young girls in the township, Rankeng’s dream was to become a medical doctor, so she studied hard to get good grades in matric. But her dream to become a doctor faded as her family couldn’t afford to take her to medical school.

Sharing her life journey in an interview with the Sunday Independent, Rankeng, a calm, soft-spoken but sharp-minded woman, resembling the personality of Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who is undoubtedly one of the most iconic women in Africa, the founder of JM Rankeng Attorneys spoke of her humble beginnings that led to her establishing her law firm.

“Having grown up during the difficult times of life. My family had no form of funding to help me realise my dream of becoming a doctor. Therefore, I went to study at the Sekhukhune college in Limpopo where I obtained a Teacher’s Diploma… Although I had no passion for teaching, I taught for eight years.

“When Vista University opened its campus in Daveyton, I took the opportunity to register and obtained my BA Honours degree in teaching.

“But because I didn’t want to continue working as a teacher, I was employed as a College Manager at Stanford College of college. Part of my job description included resolving labour disputes.

“During this period I decided to register for labour courses. After having realised that I had developed an ambition for law I went to register for LLB at the University of South Africa where I studied part-time but completed it in record time.”

Rankeng was not shy in explaining how she struggled to find a law firm where she could do articles before being admitted as a legal practitioner.

“After eventually finding a law firm where I did my articles and passed. I was admitted as an attorney in the High Court of South Africa in 2011... Now this is when I became a legal practitioner and soon I got employed by a law firm in Boksburg before I moved to another firm in Benoni. This was all happening whilst I worked at Unisa as a part-time tutor from 2013 to 2015.

“I must also share that I was also employed by the Department of Economic Development as a compliance officer. As a determined professional, I wrote my speciality exam of becoming a conveyancer because I wanted to start my practice. In 2022 I was admitted as a conveyancer and the following year I finally opened my practice in Benoni.”

Sharing some of the challenges she encountered as a woman in the legal fraternity, Rankeng stated that finding clients was always difficult and she relied on acquaintances for referrals.

“I experience challenges every day, among them is the culture of lack of support from our fellow Africans who would rather support other cultures than support their own. We seem not to have confidence in each other, but that will not kill my determination to practice as a lawyer. The other challenge I face is the lack of legal fees from clients who desperately need our services.”

Among the services rendered by her firm, Rankeng mentioned that her focus was not much on criminal law but when called upon, she does represent clients who seek bail applications.

“As conveyancer, my passion is on private law which includes family law, things like divorce cases, maintenance, Road Accident Fund, conveyancing, and just about everything except criminal law.”

In her determination to uplift her community, Rankeng expressed that her ultimate vision was to open a law clinic in the township where she was born so that community members could access the courts.

“Family disputes have become worse and those without information have no access to legal assistance and this is causing a lot of trouble for many families in the rural and township areas.”

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