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Established law firms, start-ups put Kenya on Africa map


Top law firms are efficient, responsive, stable, results-oriented, transparent and trustworthy. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Kenyan law firms have been winning prestigious continental awards or finishing among the top nominees yearly. Interestingly, both well-established and start-ups have won these accolades, giving the country a prominent position.

This has been happening in the Africa Law Awards, a competition by Law.Com to “celebrate the achievements of law firms, leading individuals, chambers and in-house teams.”

That Kenyan firms do well in these competitions among peers from other African nations confirms that, indeed, businesses and organisations have access to some top-notch lawyers.

At one time or another, people and organisations face situations that require legal representation or advice. They want to buy property, settle a tax dispute, start a business, sign a contract, or defend selves in criminal cases. They need the right legal advice that suits their situations.

With this profile of winning, they are assured of a strong representation within the Kenyan borders, benefiting from, among other things, easy access and a considerably reduced cost, taking into account the search for the right law firm.

Choosing and hiring the right lawyer gives the client a chance to get fair results.

Law is a broad field with specialisations, including corporate law, criminal law, real estate, personal injury, insurance, financial services, government contracting, tax, and intellectual property (IP).

Thus, clients must ensure they are dealing with lawyers well versed in a specialisation they are interested in for sound and adequate representation, not trial and error.

A prospective client needs to know the lawyer’s experience handling the matter, even if the firm is a start-up. Experience comes from handling many cases, thereby refining skills.

However, it is important to note that a lawyer who is saddled with a heavy caseload might not have enough time to handle a new client. It is up to the law firm to ensure that it has adequate capacity to serve as many clients as possible. It makes no sense to take in new clients when the law firm doesn’t have enough personnel to handle the job at hand. Taking up many cases beyond capacity and delaying or losing them is poor customer service that denies a company repeat clients and eventually kills the business.

Client expectations should be anticipated since customers who feel cheated will look for other options. In a highly competitive environment like Kenya’s, not all law firms can survive and thrive. Only those that have put their house in order do.

Leading law firms seek new solutions and are not afraid to invest in advanced technologies. In a nutshell, top law firms are efficient, responsive, stable, results-oriented, transparent and trustworthy.

In the legal industry, competition and client expectations rise together in a steady cycle of inflation. Clients expect more for less and have an increasing number of options for where to take their business. The stark truth is that not all law firms are able to thrive, or even survive.

READ MORE: Top notch law firms: Insights into depth and breadth of Kenya's legal environment