(Published - 29 August 2019)
“Working and studying was challenging at times - but although difficult, working and studying has shaped me to be a more productive individual. One quickly learns the importance of time management and being adaptable - the hard way.”
Marcel Gerber knows what he’s talking about. While studying towards his Master of Laws degree at the University of the Western Cape, he worked as a financial advisor, specialising in providing both short- and long-term insurance products to clients. The 28-year-old candidate attorney graduated in UWC’s Autumn 2019 graduation ceremony with a Master’s degree with specialisation in Comparative Labour Law.
In 2017 he completed elective modules in Dispute Resolution and Labour Law in the New Global Market - both with distinction. In 2018, under the supervision of Elsabe Huysamen, he completed a mini-thesis on Alternative Dispute Resolution in the BRICS Nations: A Comparative Labour Law Perspective.
“My research compared ADR methods in South Africa with similar methods used in the other BRICS nations,” he explains. “My research recommends ways in which ADR can be improved and best utilised in order to provide effective and efficient ADR mechanisms to South Africans, as a means to realise access to justice for all.”
The structure offered by the Department of Mercantile and Labour Law in UWC’s Faculty of Law made it possible for him to hold down a demanding job and manage his time in such a manner so as to be able to successfully complete a Master of Laws degree.
“The University of the Western Cape, and especially my supervisor, Mrs Huysamen, played an integral part in my success,” he says. “I am forever thankful to UWC.”
Learning and Earning - Marcel Gerber, Master of Laws
Marcel is currently employed by a law firm in the Cape Town CBD. Ten years after leaving Jan van Riebeeck High School, he is receiving his third degree (having previously completed a BCom Law and LLB degree - cum laude - through UNISA, while working as an English teacher for the South Korean government for one year).
“After completing my previous law qualifications, l had the urge to improve my research skills,” he says. “The Master of Laws coursework offered by UWC provided me with the opportunity to do just that - while learning from some of the best minds in the country, and growing and developing as an individual.”
While working as a financial advisor, Marcel worked with a variety of leading insurance product providers in South Africa, providing him with insights into the legal aspects of the insurance industry and teaching him the importance of caring for the needs of clients.
His goal, naturally, is to be the best lawyer he can be.
“In ten years I’d like to be a senior associate at a successful law firm in South Africa,” he says. “I’d also like to work towards obtaining a Doctorate degree.”
There’s more to life than law, though.
“When I’m not working or studying I enjoy health and fitness, and visiting all the amazing foodie hotspots in Cape Town,” Marcel says. “I also enjoy traveling. During the duration of my legal studies I visited 12 different countries - and I look forward to adding to this list soon.”
“My biggest inspiration in life is my grandmother,” he says. “She’s the most loyal and dynamic individual I’ve ever met - and even today I’m still learning a lot from her.”