Meet the faces behind the scenes

dedicated to doing law differently,
drinking decent coffee and bringing you more ‘aha’ moments every day.

Hello from
the other side

Elizabeth de Stadler

Want to find out more about Elizabeth? Check her out on LinkedIn. Better yet, contact her on or + 27 (0)83 342 6011.

Elizabeth is the quirky one in the company. She specialises in all things Consumer Law, plain language drafting and designing and delivering training. She prides herself on being slightly out there and bringing a fresh perspective to compliance issues. She has a Masters (cum laude – the nerd) in Consumer Law. Elizabeth met Paul in 2011 and joined Esselaar Attorneys (she is still a senior associate at the firm). In 2013 they founded Novation Consulting together.

Elizabeth is a bit of a nerd. She is the editor of the Consumer Law Review (you can get it here for free!) and wrote A Guide to the Protection of Personal Information Act with Paul. She is also the author of Consumer Law Unlocked, a co-author of the hefty Commentary to the Consumer Protection Act and wrote chapters on the Consumer Protection Act in The Law of Contract in South Africa and The Law of Commerce in South Africa. She is currently working with Liezl van Zyl on Plain language legal drafting, which will be published in 2020.

Elizabeth loves Lego, sneakers, zombies and white wine.

She hates comic sans font, sweet potato and most other attorneys. She is allergic to suits and ‘office shoes’ because of the years she worked at Webber Wentzel. She is very scared of moths. It is a thing – read about it.

Ilze Luttig Hattingh

Want to find out more about Ilze? Take a look at her LinkedIn profile, better yet contact her on or +27 (0)82 924 3898.

Ilze is what can only be described as a common sense attorney (the Force is strong with her). She specialises in regulatory compliance, risk management and commercial contract law. She joined us in the beginning of 2016 when she got a bit tired of being an in-house legal advisor. Now she is an out-house legal advisor (she gets stuff sorted out). She finds simple, innovative and business-oriented solutions to compliance management problems. Ilze doesn’t write books, she reads them.

Ilze likes the wind in her face when she is riding her bike or travelling the world. She’d love to learn how to make bread, Limoncello and a beautiful Bordeaux blend, and how to paint with oils.

She also caught Elizabeth’s Lego bug (come to our offices and you will see). She dislikes people who use jargon like ‘big rocks’, ‘on-boarding’ and ‘this speaks to’. Paul often ‘puts things to her’ just for the reaction. She HATES tomatoes.

Thalia Philippou

Thalia is the social flamingo* of the company. She’s an admitted attorney specialising in privacy law, media law and all things social media. She’s proven invaluable when it comes to training development and research. Thalia has a knack for understanding clients’ needs and translating legal advice into human.

When she’s not doing handstands in the office, she’s skipping on the promenade or doing a bit of Greek dancing in her spare time. She also gets excited about all the things. All the time. There is nothing she doesn’t like. But she is young, so give it time.

*A creepy guy at the airport asked her whether she’s a dancer, ‘because she has a very long neck’. Her reply: No. I’m a flamingo’.

Paul Esselaar

Want to find out more about Paul? Find him on LinkedIn or contact him on +27 (0)82 412 0024.

Paul is the wise old man in the company and a wizard at coming up with innovative solutions to legal problems. He has been an attorney since 2001 and has a Masters in Electronic Law and Commercial Law. In 2011 Paul set up his own firm, Esselaar Attorneys (it is still going strong). It was around this time that he met Elizabeth at an over-crowded session on the Consumer Protection Act. They both noticed that the other was quite vocal on the subject – the rest, as they say, is history.

Paul specialises in Consumer Law, Electronic Law and the Protection of Personal Information Act. He wrote A Guide to the Protection of Personal Information Act with Elizabeth.

Paul likes climbing mountains, turning phrases into songs and pushing Elizabeth’s buttons. He often (intentionally) pushes clients’ buttons too, but sometimes that needs to be done before real change can happen.