The CEO of the Law Society of SA, Nic Swart, died unexpectedly on Thursday. He was 63 years old.

Confirming his death‚ the organisation said Swart died in Gaborone‚ Botswana‚ in the early hours of Thursday morning‚ while attending the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Lawyers Association conference.

Swart‚ CEO since 2011, who also served as a director of legal education and development at the law society‚ had been scheduled to speak at the event.

Paying tribute to him‚ the society said they were deeply shocked and saddened. Co-chairpersons David Bekker and Walid Brown said they had "lost a colleague‚ a dear friend‚ a mentor‚ a leader and an innovator passionate about the legal profession in general, and legal education in particular".

"A consummate educationist‚ he strove to ensure that practical, vocational training and continuing legal education‚ which he has spearheaded and nurtured since 1989‚ continue to be accessible and affordable for aspirant legal practitioners and those already in practice. Nic was especially passionate about the empowerment of young lawyers and of the Law Society of SA staff‚" they added.

"Our profession owes an incalculable debt of gratitude to Nic Swart‚ as do the thousands of attorneys who have received training‚ guidance and support from his beloved school for legal practice and the lead department over nearly three decades." Swart joined the Law Society of SA’s predecessor‚ the Association of Law Societies‚ in 1989 to start a pilot school for legal practice. "That small pilot project with only 51 candidate attorneys has grown immensely since 1990 to one of the premier legal education institutions in the country through Nic’s vision‚ unstinting dedication and hard work," the society said.

He leaves his wife and two daughters.

The society said: "May they find solace in the knowledge that Nic was loved‚ appreciated and admired in the profession and beyond."

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