In a networking event I had the honor of attending last week, I was asked, who the best lawyer in Kenya. This is a question I often get asked by the way. From my relatives, to my laymen friends. Now, understand that I am a trained lawyer myself. So having this background, most laymen naturally are curious to get my view- and rightly and I infact hazard curiously so-, who I think the best lawyer in Kenya is.
Being a lawyer myself, I cannot claim to be the absolute judge of the profession in Kenya. Far from it. What I can claim-vigorously- is my right to have an opinion on the personalities in the legal profession, precisely lawyers. And in the end, I hope to have answered one of my FAQ.
Lawyers come in all shapes and sizes. The outstanding ones do so for
different reasons. For one who will amaze you with the thoroughness of
his submissions, there will be the other lawyer who is a serious charmer
complete with the necessary regalia.
There will be the lawyer who is completely demure. In speech and in action. This lawyer has those choice of words that cajole and pull you to their point of view without drama. Philip Murgor comes to mind here. Then there is that lawyer who is a fantastic word master.
The charmer. The story-teller. His choice of words never cease to amaze. Fred Ojiambo comes to mind here-yes, he of the Queen’s English. You will remember him as Tom Chlomondely’s lawyer in that famous case. So does the late Mutula Kilonzo. The man’s mastery of choice words was legendary.
Then there is that lawyer who is sharp, bespoke and almost bright-eyed, with a nerdish charm. Some ladies cannot have enough of this kind of lawyer-naturally. Cecil Miller comes to mind here, complete with that ‘cool’ name.
Of course there’s the intellectual and analytical type of lawyer. These are the lawyers that you will find expounding topical issues ever so amicably-and soberly, on TV shows. Charles Kanjama naturally falls here.
Then there will be the more ebullient ones. Confrontational and controversial. Always spoiling for a brawl. Whether it is in court, on a TV debate or on social media. Yes, twitter and facebook are not too trivial for them. On the contrary, they often resort to those streets to engage whoever is willing to get ‘dirty’. Donald Kipkorir comes to mind-him who defended Gladys Boss Shollei. One name, however, is synonymous with this class of lawyers.. Ahmednassir Abdullahi. Otherwise known as the Grand Mullah-thanks to Jeff Koinange. Proud and confident, Ahmednassir is not afraid to pull punches, often with a sharp wit and a quick, lashing, tongue.
Then you will have the ‘showbiz’ lawyers. This class of lawyers just
love the cameras- frankly, most lawyers do- But the difference is this.
You will catch them dead handling ‘low profile, run-of-the-mill-cases’.
Instead, the high profile cocaine related suspects, the high profile
murders, the headline grabbing terrorism cases, is where you will find
this lawyer. Without fail. Which lawyer comes to mind here..? You tell
The one common thing you do realize then is, their mastery of communication. Verbal and body language.
The use of voice intonation. How they project their voice. Their use of
tone variation. Diction. To observe them, is to observe mastery of the
art of persuasion. The mastery of communication. I will be giving you
the steps you can take to master the nuances of communication, just like
your favorite lawyer.-Yes, it can be taught. And the good news is, you
don’t have to be a lawyer to be a communication master. How brilliant.
So, who is the best lawyer in Kenya after all? The jury is still out- at least in my opinion..
Next, I will be giving you, very succinctly, the secrets of persuasion. The power of seduction.. It will do you a world of good, believe me. And that is whether you are a pastor, a salesman, looking for a spouse, pitching your idea as an entrepreneur..
John-Lewis Onkendi- Lawyer, Communications Consultant with @BesttConsulting