Not all superheroes wear capes… Some speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves!
Olof Joubert (46) is a medical malpractice attorney in South Africa with specific interest in babies and young children who suffer impairment as a result of negligence during the birthing process.
Most parents are not aware of their rights to recover damages in this regard and in addition to this they cannot afford litigation in order to prove negligence. Olof’s practice takes care of these individuals. He refers to his work as “trench fighting” and acting on behalf of vulnerable and indigent mothers and children against big corporate hospital groups as well as the Department of Health.
We sat down with Olof, who is not only a proud businessman, but also a father and a doting husband to his wife, Chandre Goosen-Joubert, who is one of the 2020 Top 25 Mrs South Africa contestants.
How did OJ Law come about?
It was quite an impulsive decision as I resigned as a PA the one day and the following day I started my own practice in my parent’s house.
When was ‘OJ Law’ officially established?
We were established in 2001. Now almost 20 years later I am proud to say we keep on going.
What makes the ‘medical malpractice industry’ one you enjoy?
It is a very fulfilling feeling when one is successful in these cases. Most of the time victims of medical malpractice cases are emotionally exhausted and financially depleted. The moment we obtain fair compensation for that individual via court process, it is priceless to share in their emotions. That there, makes it worth it.
Who would you describe as your perfect consumer?
Our perfect client is one who is willing to let go of their concerns and fully trust us with their matter.
Furthermore, a client who has their paperwork in order and someone who works with us by attending for example expert evaluations on dates and times we obtain. In short, a co-operating client.
You have a specific interest in babies and young children who suffer impairment as a result of negligence during the birthing process – why did you choose to focus on this in particular?
My main reason is the fact that these are individuals who fell victim to negligence of an alleged competent person. Someone else who could and should have prevented the injuries, did not. My clients are very basic and poor people. They cannot speak out for themselves. I do.
Also, my second name is Abraham which is the core of my conviction as his name means “Father of many”. In some sorts I act as a legal father on behalf of these children.
You have referred to your work as “trench fighting” – explain this?
It’s dirty, it’s hard. We are fighting big institutions on behalf of one individual. So it is us against these giants. They sit in their high buildings and look through glass windows. We get down to business, go fetch our clients in the shacks to assist them attending experts in order to obtain reports so that we can prove our case. Sometimes with a mother carrying a severely disabled child of twelve years old. It’s hard on the one hand but oh when we win, it changes these children’s lives forever. And right there is the greatest motivator for us to persevere.
I was quoted in the Rapport as a lawyer accusing the state of getting rid of files. These things happen. It’s dirty. They try their best to make it as hard as possible for us to obtain proof that they were indeed negligent. And by proof I mean us having to obtain hospital records (which are either destroyed or hid away) from these institutions and then proof that the client was injured as a result of their conduct. It’s dirty.
Describe a typical day in the life of OJ Law’s CEO?
Our growth has been good therefore I am macro managing the whole practice daily with very competent personnel. We have a national client base which renders us diverse. Our main hub is in Pretoria for strategic reasons but we are not static. COVID 19 has made the technology side much easier which means we are not bound to an office space.
How do you deal with negative criticism/customers?
I do take negative criticism personally as I know the amount of effort we put into our clients and cases. It hurts when they do not appreciate our efforts. However, I always sit them down and discuss with them their issues whereafter, we move on. Hey and apologising when we’re wrong, goes a long way.
What motto or words do you live by in the workspace?
“Never forget where you come from” and “Because we care”.
What are some of the challenges faced within your industry?
Government is attempting to put limitations on the amounts of damages Plaintiff’s are allowed to claim in terms of our law. That infringes more on the rights of people who have already been suffering damages caused by the same institution which now wants to limit their damages.
At OJ Law, they are committed to representing South African individuals and the families of individuals who have suffered serious injury or loss of life due to the carelessness or negligent conduct of others.
Read more about their firm here: https://ojlaw.co.za/