Liesel juggles legal career and home life

AS DIRECTOR and shareholder in one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s most prominent and prestigious law firms, Liesel Greyvenstein has come a long way since her days as an articled clerk.

Now one of Port Elizabeth’s most high profile attorneys at Greyvensteins Attorneys, she and her husband Abel Esterhuysen are known as one of the city’s power couples.

But despite her tremendous ambition, the bubbly mother of two is family orientated and crazy about her property developer husband and two toddlers, Jemma, two, and Dax, one.

“It is difficult tackling motherhood and work but I try not to let the guilt affect me. I just try to do the best I can,” the beautiful blonde said.

She says Jemma attends a play school until noon while Dax is at home with a nanny. She also commended her husband, who often competes in Ironman triathlons internationally, for being an adoring and hands-on father.

“Times have changed and today it is not strange for a father to be hands on. My husband is also a really great cook while I hardly spend any time in the kitchen.”

It is this love for cooking that encouraged Esterhuysen to buy popular Walmer eatery Bocadillos, a favourite hang-out of the couple.

Greyvenstein said she had always had aspirations of becoming an attorney, as it had been her father’s passion.

“I attended primary school in Storms River where I was head girl and then attended Nico Malan High School in Humansdorp where I was also made head girl. But you know how a girl is about her dad. I knew that I wanted to fulfil his wish.”

She obtained her law (BComm LLB HDip Tax) degree from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (then University of Port Elizabeth) in the early 1990s.

“I applied to many places for my articles and back then this firm was not really keen to hire female articled clerks as they said we did not make good barmen.”

But Greyvenstein started her two years of articles at the firm in 1997.Two years later she was appointed permanently and a year later she was made junior partner.

“Many people think that if you are blonde you cannot be brainy and if you are a woman you cannot be strong.”

Focusing on the property industry, Greyvenstein made a name for herself not only as an attorney but also a conveyancer, notary and tax specialist. During this time she married the firm’s managing director Emile Greyvenstein. The couple divorced in 2008. She says they make sure they keep their private lives separate.

Apart from her ex-husband, Greyvenstein also works with her brothers, Cor van Deventer, who is based in the Port Elizabeth office, and Arno van Deventer, who is based in the firm’s Cape Town office. She also has a younger sister, Ilze.

“I have a very close relationship with them and I visit the Cape Town office twice a month so I spend some time with Arno there.”

When not at work Greyvenstein and her family escape to their holiday home in St Francis Bay.

Regarding the future, she said she was looking forward to ensuring the firm remains the formidable institution it has been since the 1960s.

“We already adopt nine charities every year but it is important that we do more to uplift the community.”

is a version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend
Post on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

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