The Attorneys Development Fund (ADF) was established in 2011. It is an independent non-profit organisation that focuses on the development of attorneys. It is governed by a board of directors who are senior attorneys from various provinces.
The main focus is to provide office resources to law firms (mainly sole practitioners) by purchasing these resources on behalf of the law firms. The law firms then repay the ADF for these resources over a prescribed period.
A key element in the ADF programme is that any attorney who receives support also receives strategic, business mentorship and technical support to assist the firm to grow into a sustainable practice.
> The first dedicated funder for the legal profession
The needs of each law firm are assessed by the ADF individually. The Attorneys Development Fund is in the forefront of legal practice development. Qualifying law firms are generally sole practitioners and examples of deserving law firms can include:
Newly established law firms.
An attorney who is with an existing law firm but wishes to establish his/her own law firm.
Law firms who specialise or who intend to specialise in a specific legal field.
Law firms in areas (usually rural) where there is a shortage of attorneys.
What are the application criteria? The application is made in the law firm’s name. The criteria relate to the attorney (sole practitioner).
The applicant must:
be an admitted attorney;
be without own funds / assets to finance the law firm’s operational needs;
provide a business plan, marketing plan and cash flow statement;
have the capacity to become an efficient and proficient attorney;
learn how to establish and run a successful business;
conduct a sustainable practice;
be willing to be mentored and trained further and monitored continuously;
recognise and accept his/her responsibility to repay the full amount;
be within acceptable margins as a business risk. If an applicant has a poor credit bureau record, this will negatively affect his/her chance of receiving the ADF support;
be in good standing with his/her statutory, provincial law society.
have registered for, or be exempted from, or have undertaken to enrol for the mandatory Practice Management Training.
The applicant must note that no direct cash requests will be considered.
The ADF reserves the right to request additional information and/or details about any information provided.
How does the application process work?
Before any assistance is provided, the ADF’s Applications Committee reviews and evaluates the law firm’s application. This assessment is performed as part of a due diligence exercise to ensure that the law firm has the potential to grow into a successful business and sustainable practice.