Why law is big business in Kenya

Why law is big business in Kenya

The ongoing presidential petition at the Supreme Court of Kenya has brought into sharp focus the persons appearing for NASA as petitioner and other respondents including Jubilee, Uhuru Kenyatta, Wafula Chebukati and IEBC, named as respondents in the case. Many have argued that the current assembly at Kenya’s highest court is the finest of legal minds available in the country. Well that is true for as far as the faces on your TV have been in the last few days. What many are asking however is just how much these intellectuals in robes take home.

In 2015 for example in case that Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) reported under a hash tag #LearnedThieves, a report revealed that Lawyers serving the Nairobi County Government was experiencing challenges paying a total sum of 5 billion shillings for the simple reason that lawyers representing the county decided their own fees. The Nairobi County Government was therefore obliged to pay these dues since no formal regime exists spelling out how advocates should be paid for their services. COFEK cited this an open case of outright exploitation.

But some have argued that the gravity of matters for which these learned friends take time to study and argue out in courts warrant any amount. Even out of Court settlements have been known to attract as much as 30 million shillings in expenses paid to lawyer because the moment you contract them to argue your case whichever the direction it takes the business contract stays alive. The business of law has become one of the fastest avenues of status in society. In fact an immense majority of national and county level leaders made a name through law before venturing into politics.

Some of the household names straddling the local law scene is Senator James Orengo, Ahmednasir Abdulahi the self-styled grand mulla, Paul Muite , Fred Ngatia, the eloquent Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, Senators Kipchumba Murkomen  and Kithure Kindiki among others. The Attorney General Githu Muigai and former AG Amos Wako as well as Katwa Kigen from the famous ICC cases also fall in this list to mention but a few.

It takes four years to graduate with a Bachelors of Laws (BLL) Degree from many of the local universities and a further2 years at the Kenya School of Law in order to qualify for admission to the bar of advocates. The returns are however as good as you get with your mouth thereafter, cutting business deals and winning court cases. Now you know why some of the fastest rising rich sons and daughters of Kenya are lawyers.


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