Megan Harrington-Johnson chose to enter law because she was better at languages, creative writing and debating than she was at maths, and although her choice of fiction reads at the time may have had an influence on her career choice, she quickly developed a passion for all that the legal profession entails. Her passion and commitment to the profession saw her become the youngest partner at Schindlers Attorneys in 2015.
“Law is all around us, and is applicable in so many areas of people’s everyday lives, from buying a car to renting a house, to living with a partner, getting married, having children, signing up for credit agreements, and even dying,” she says. “It made me feel empowered to have this knowledge at my disposal, and I also really liked the idea of using that knowledge to help people. This may seem like an idealised notion, but it’s something I weave into my practice every day.”
Harrington-Johnson’s main focus is on matrimonial, family and child law, which enables her to fight for people’s basic human rights. “I find that people are generally uneducated about their legal position, and I am hoping to bring much-needed knowledge to people in difficult situations.” She is especially passionate about women’s rights and has set up a women’s networking and support group which meets once every six weeks to share knowledge and insights.
There are more than 600 women in this group. “I also find that young adults don’t know the first thing about the law, and over the past four years I have been doing talks at high schools on the basic elements of the law that everyone should know: the ramifications of drunk driving; what it means (commercially and legally) to get married; how intoxication can negate someone’s consent to intercourse; the rights of unmarried fathers, and the rights of young mothers, for example,” she explains. She also volunteers at Families South Africa, where she helps divorcing couples mediate a negotiated settlement to try to prevent them having to pursue costly and time-consuming divorce proceedings in court.
“I find that to be successful in business you need to have a well-balanced life,” she says. “I do a lot of sport and try to combine this with charity work, in association with an NGO called Madswimmer. Not only has this given me a broader view of the world but it has also introduced me to people I would never have met, which is always good when trying to build your own practice.”
— Kerry Haggard
Twitter: @ @megshj