Delia McArthur is the chief legal executive at Law for All in South Africa which offers legal insurance cover for ordinary people. She was also a speaker at the recent Legal Innovation and Tech Fest in Sandon. Bernadette Wicks reports.
Despite being a military child, raised in a Catholic home, Delia McArthur developed a distinct dislike for authority at an early age.
“My father has always said that most legal students enjoy rules and structure, but that I studied law to learn how to break the rules - and get away with it,” she quips.
“I studied law because I was intrigued by how the rules were made, who made them and why. I was also sure there were better ways of running the world.”
It was perhaps this intrigue - and that, while studying, she worked as an assistant and a claims administrator at different insurance houses - that drew McArthur to the legal insurance field.
After having completed her articles with Gijsbers Attorneys, and registering as an insolvency practitioner, she joined Law For All nine years ago.
“We are similar to a medical aid, but we offer legal assistance instead of medical assistance,” McArthur explains, “You pay a monthly premium for different degrees of legal cover to protect you and your family in your time of need.”
Law For All is one of a growing number of innovative new approaches to the provision of affordable – and moreover, accessible – legal assistance and reflective of something McArthur is fiercely passionate about.
“For too long, the legal industry has been reserved for the rich and privileged due to the ever-rising cost of legal fees and processes, that makes accessing justice impossible, for the average man on the street.”
McArthur explains that while Legal Aid “does an amazing job” in assisting the very poor, there remains a significant gap between those who earn more than the minimum required to qualify for Legal Aid and those who can afford private legal services.
“Providing affordable legal service to this part of the market is what I am most passionate about and where I feel we, as an organization, make the biggest impact on South Africa,” she says.
In her current role, McArthur is the chief legal executive for a team of more than 350 legal professionals. Her teams finalise more than 100 000 legal cases a year and they boast an 85 percent in-house mediation success rate.
“I love people,” says McArthur, “I love watching people develop and find their passion and I love watching them learn and become self-aware, realizing the influence they can have on the world and their environments.”
She is inspired to build departments from scratch and create “something out of nothing”. “I love to give people opportunities to be the best version of themselves. I never get over the high of giving someone an opportunity to do something that they didn’t think they would ever get the opportunity to do - and watching them excel and outdo their own wildest expectations. Anytime I can use my sphere of influence to give somebody an opportunity to create something that they are passionate about – I’ll do it.”
Law for All have been shortlisted for the African Legal Awards 2019 in the following categories: Best Use of Technology and CSR, Diversity, Transformation and Economic Empowerment. The result will be announced on 6 September 2019 in Johannesburg. To attend the event contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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