Fairbridges Wertheim Becker attorney, Greer Penzhorn, is a passionate commercial litigation lawyer, committed to serving justice and fighting for what is right in the business and property sector.
“There are certain things you think you are passionate about and dream that one day you will use that passion for good, changing the world one case at a time,” she says.
At Fairbridges Wertheim Becker Attorneys, Greer practices commercial litigation interwoven with a mixture of insolvency, property, and construction law, to manage disputes that arise in the business division. With her wide range of expertise, she is able to offer Fairbridges clients high-quality service in contractual disputes, reviews, advice on corporate governance and insolvency law.
“I love the fast pace of the industry and the variety in the cases I manage. You’re not dealing with the same stuff day in and day out. There is a high measure of conflict present in what I do, however, I do not shy away from it, I believe that there are always two sides to a story,” she says.
Greer was born in Kimberley but spent the major part of her life in Cape Town after her father relocated the family to the Mother City for work. As one of four siblings and a twin, she was determined to be successful and differentiate herself from the rest. While in Grade 10 she made the life-changing decision to study law.
Throughout her school career, Greer was recognised for both her academic performance and tenacious debating skills, which, later in life, fostered a love for litigation. “I am a person who thrives on rules and structure, so the idea of being in an industry that had these in place, felt like a calling.” After graduating with a B.Com LLB and LLB postgraduate degree in 2007 from Stellenbosch University, Greer had her heart set on practicing law in the business and commercial sector.
Greer began her law career at Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes, where she completed her articles in the insolvency law and dispute resolution department and discovered her passion for litigation.
In 2009, Greer was offered a job by Andrew McPherson a well-known attorney at Smith Tabata Buchana Boyes (STBB), and was admitted to the Bar in 2010. In 2012 she felt that it was time to spread her wings and planned to start a practice with her colleague. While things did not go as planned, a better opportunity crossed Greer’s path and she was offered a position at Fairbridges Wertheim Becker in 2013.
Greer’s law career hasn’t been without its challenges. Since working at Fairbridges Wertheim Becker Attorneys, Greer has had to adjust to a predominantly female firm, where the dynamic was different to what she was used to, and she had to learn how to manage people in a different way.
Once her professional relationships within the firm and with clients was established, Greer began to enjoy the flexible working lifestyle that Fairbridges offers. “Fairbridges appreciates that people have their own life and it isn’t all about the job. It is so relaxed and chilled,” she says. Greer believes that it is the flexible and supportive work environment at her firm that has enabled her to become an even better lawyer because it reminds her how important the human element is in law.
“Being a litigation attorney means your schedule is always full. You are either in court or meeting with clients and there is always something that needs to be done. Litigation is not as glamorous as it looks on TV,” explains Greer. Outside of court, she is drafts court papers, letters and consults with clients.
Fairbridges is a client-centric practice focused on providing the client with great service and understanding. The aspect of her job which is enjoyed most is being able to provide her clients with advice that is in their best interest and can be used to resolve a dispute quickly and efficiently thereby
building trust and fostering the professional relationship. “The ideal outcome in these situations is when both parties leave feeling satisfied and the dispute to rest,” she says.
Managing expectations and ensuring that clients are kept up to date is of the utmost importance to Greer. Her clients must understand the legal process and be made aware of each step that is followed in a case; she says. As with every industry, there are inevitable delays and red tape that cannot be avoided, which is why Greer sets realistic time frames with her clients as part of managing their expectations. “There needs to be a mutual understanding between the attorney and client in the process of law,” she says.
Judges change from day to day and the reality is that they all have contrasting interpretations on legal points. “You can have the best case and lose and the worst case and win. There are no guarantees,” she explains.
Greer takes time to build relationships with her clients. It is those relationships that assist with the case and help the attorney to communicate on a different level with understanding, while still keeping an objective view of the case.
Greer Penzhorn is a well-respected commercial litigation attorney and continuously displays her passion for fighting for what is right and just in South Africa in her work.