Riaan completed his B.Soc.Sci. LLB with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1994. He then spent three years in the United States of America where he completed his MBA (cum laude) at Oregon State University during 1996.
Upon his return to South Africa, he commenced his articles of clerkship with Hofmeyr Herbstein Gihwala Inc in 1998 and was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa in 2000. Riaan became a director of Hofmeyr Herbstein Gihwala Inc during 2006 and remained a director after the firm merged with Cliffe Dekker Inc to become Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc.
Riaan joined as a director of both Hayes Incorporated and Themis Commercial Legal Advisors (Pty) Ltd in 2011 where he specialises in commercial and property-related litigation. He has specialised knowledge of town and land use planning matters and lease disputes.
During his career, Riaan has furnished legal advice to financial service providers, parastatals, insurance companies, government institutions and numerous corporations, including national public companies.