a1 An overview of South African legal information resources was published in LIM Vol 1 Issue 4 (Mark Stiebel, The dynamics of a South African legal library). In this article Olwyn Garratt introduces the provision of information services to South Africa's legal practitioners. Olwyn Garratt is Information Officer at Fairbridge Arderne & Lawton in Cape Town.
There are currently 18,456 attorneys and Candidate attorneys registered with the Law Society of South Afric and 5,941 registered law firms (CLE 2002). Data is not yet available regarding the size distribution of these law firms but a glance at any of the national legal directories will reveal that the majority of attorneys operate as solo practitioners or in association with a few colleagues. A large city practice will generally be well supplied with information resources and with assistance from a librarian or information professional. In a small practice, the information resources that the attorney has at his or her disposal may be limited to a few textbooks, supplemented in some cases with access to electronic databases and Internet resources. Small practices seldom employ information professionals, although they may make use of the services of information agencies and independent contractors to assist with research and/or information management.