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Modern legal studies at tertiary institutions in South Africa exclude the study of nonverbal communication as a key component in the communicative process. Therefore, within the domain of the legal profession, there has been a degree of ignorance about the effectiveness of nonverbal cues and signs as a means of improving the legal and communicative skills of attorneys. Some investigations have been undertaken on the role and importance of nonverbal behaviour as a communicative tool, yet limited research had been undertaken on its impact and benefits to the legal profession. The participants in the study were all practicing attorneys with legal experience ranging from one to twenty years. From the study, it emerged that the current one-dimensional communicative legal system constituted a challenge to most young attorneys. The study found that an understanding of the different components of nonverbal communication and its sign structures was crucial for attorneys to gain insight into the subjective meanings that emerged during the consultation process. The findings suggest that the study of nonverbal communication amalgamated with traditional legal skills would help remove the deep-seated dichotomy that still exists between theory and practice in the LLB curricula.
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