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Your pathway to becoming a lawyer

There are many benefits to being a lawyer. You get to help people, earn a respectable living and make a difference in society. For many generations, a career in law has been considered the hallmark of prestige. Lawyers are therefore able to exact their influence on many issues affecting the world, its laws and its leadership. The legal sector is also wide and flexible and being a lawyer with strong and diverse experience will open doors for you across many other professions.

  1. Score a minimum of a C+ in your Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education and a C+ and above in English and one other humanities subject.
  2. Join a university that offers a Degree Course in Law

Option 1: If you scored an A- and above you can join a government sponsored LLB course meaning that the government pays your tuition through the years

  • Option 2: If you score below A- but above C+ you will join the institution as privately sponsored (parallel) student meaning that you pay the full cost of your tuition at the start of the semester

Option 3: If you scored less than a C+ join a college offering a Diploma in Law to give you the right qualifications to study a Degree in Law.

  • Graduate with a Bachelor of Laws Degree after 4 years of studying; Legal research and writing, Critical Thinking, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Property Law and Customary law amongst others
  • Join the Kenya School of Law (Advocates Training programme): Spend 18 months in-house/class

6 months pupillage: working under an experienced lawyer in a law firm

  • Get admitted to the roll of advocates: After graduation with a Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Lawyer

Soft Skills: A degree and diploma can only take you so far as a lawyer. There are other soft skills that you must learn if you are to work well with others and manage yourself and your career

1) Good communication skills: You must be a good listener and be able to express yourself clearly in speech and writing

2) Research skills: Information is power. Know where and how to get information to support your views and opinions

3) Judgement: You should be able to assess situations and make quick decisions

3) Analytical skills: You must always see things from different perspectives and draw from varied experiences before you come to conclusions. You may not make it if you are inflexible in the way you think

5) People skills: friends, clients and colleagues are the backbone of your legal career. Be kind and considerate. Network and be eager to learn. That stranger you meet on the streets could be your next client or refer you to where you can find your next client.

7) Creativity: Normal is boring! Always think outside the box to find the best solutions for your clients           

6) Perseverance: Noting comes easy. Not even for Lawyers! Be prepared for the 5 years and 6 months of study, a lot of reading and writing, formal working attire, long working hours, arrogant clients, too many (and sometimes unnecessary arguments), public speaking, a competitive job market, Poor public image (Lawyers are deeply disliked in some quarters).

And No. You will not get rich overnight. Like every other genuine career path, succeeding as a lawyer takes time and dedication. With the shrinking job market, a degree in law is no longer considered an express ticket to financial security. Further, technology and artificial intelligence (in the near future) could substitute some of the work done by real life lawyers. Stay patient and determined!

Some careers opportunities in the legal field

  • Judge
  • Law professor
  • Medical Lawyer
  • Construction and Engineering lawyer
  • Family lawyer
  • Magistrate
  • Technology lawyer
  • Human Rights lawyer
  • Children’s lawyer
  • Mediator
  • Legal Secretary
  • Compliance Specialist
  • Legal Recruiter
  • Constitutional lawyer
  • Mediator
  • State lawyer
  • Dean of a law school
  • Legal career counsellor
  • Intellectual Property lawyer

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