Alphonce Odhiambo

The legal profession in Kenya practices conservatism. There are different groups within the profession which consciously or unconsciously practice this.

The first group is a rather small one. These are, not all but some senior advocates who have worked for quite a while and ammased wealth; alot of it. They feel the legal profession is for the rich in the society and some have boldly said so in their unguarded moments.

The second group is of Advocate’s who are already in the legal profession and believe that the pool of advocates is already saturated and that strict measures should be adopted to reduce further entry. They feel 15,000 advocates are more than sufficient for the more than 50 million Kenyans.

These are the ones who suggested and still support the pre-bar exams, bar exams, high cost of tution fees, high cost of exam fees and any other huddle that can be thought of to reduce those who end up in the profession.

The third group is of the newly admitted advocates who look at it from the angle that ‘i have worked so hard to be here and noone should have it easier than me’. They abandon everything they believe in just because they have crossed the line and must enjoy the rights that come with it.

These are the same ones who during their Pupillage will complain about how they are being mistreated by their bosses but then they are admitted, they become the ones who mistreat. They complain that Advocates want to be begged to hold their brief but once they are admitted, they will not hold your brief unless you beg. They become the exact version of what they hated and that is how the legal profession remains the same even when people change.

That is not to say that everyone is the same, there are very great newly admitted advocates just as there are senior ones. Some of the best advocates you will meet out here are those very senior ones who apart from holding your brief will care to hold small talk with you.

What’s your name? Where do you work? How comes I haven’t met you along these corridors? They will complement your dressing, want to know whether you have been to their firms even just to serve etc.

They will take a minute to address you because they are not threatened by you. They have seen people come and go and they can tell what kind of a person you are from a mile away. They have seen people in your shoes and can tell when you are scared or stranded.

There are also very good newly admitted advocates who are busy building their legal careers by learning not by fighting anyone who looks like he or she wants to come into the profession.

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