Top Lawyer warns colleagues against emulating Bob Kasango
A top city advocate has urged budding lawyers against idolising fallen lawyer Bob Kasango as a ‘ successful, renowned and respectable lawyer’ warning they risk losing their legal careers without impacting society if they emulate his style of lawyering.
Mr. Bob Kasango died of heart failure on Monday in Luzira Prison where he has been serving a 16 year sentence after a Court of law found he stole money amounting to 15.4 Bn that belonged to atleast 6000 pensioners.
Mr. Isaac Ssemakadde, who has been named the most outstanding public interest litigation lawyer in Uganda, was prompted by an emotional and one sided tribute to the fallen lawyer by the young and fast rising tech and corporate lawyer, Mr Silver Kayondo who said he was mentored by Kasango into the ‘ initial conditions to become a world class lawyer’
” Bob had the work ethic of a horse and loved perfection. [He] had a thing for pristine designer suits. [He] was always dapper and debonair. He loved good and expensive perfumes (unfortunately, I am allergic to many of them). He travelled first class and never compromised on luxury.” Mr Silver Kayondo, now a Partner at Ortus Advocates wrote on Twitter, adding:
” In his conversations, Bob always said he was giving me ‘initial conditions’ to become a world class lawyer. No deal was too far from him. Iraq, Khartoum, Congo, Kazakhstan, Alaska, etc Bob would be there, hence his nickname, the Ugandan ‘ Mr. Fix It.’ He carried his work on plane.”
2010. I was in second year of Law school. Bob Kasango drove to Mukono to see me. He wanted to take me on a fully paid American Bar Association event in New York! Had a list of law firms he wanted to meet. I had exams in 2 weeks. In fourth year, I met a team from White & Case LLP.
— Silver Kayondo (@SilverKayondo) February 28, 2021
However, despite all this praise-singing, Mr. Ssemakadde, who has been at the centre of some of the most groundbreaking cases in human rights and public interest law invited the legal profession to look at Kasango’s dark side characterised by fraud that caused pain to several individuals and their families and to reexamine the use and purpose of legal training.
” In a post colonial situation, what is the best use of law or what can a lawyer best do with it?” He asked.
Ssemakadde, who left leading boutique corporate law firm Bowmans to found Legal Brains Trust, a human rights and Public interest firm said Bob Kasango’s purported expertise was in “gaming the system and working the legal levers for the sake of primitive accumulation of wealth. ”
” Silver Kayondo’s [twitter] thread glorifies the Petit bourgeois mindset which constituted Bob’s blindspot and tragically led to his downfall. Many lawyers in the post colony [Uganda] share this mindset and therefore will have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing from Bob’s escapades” The lawyer said.
Mr Bob Kasango, was banned from practicing law in 2017 after a streak of fraud convictions. The Law Council found he had defrauded his client of $385,000. The Client had asked him to sell her house on her behalf but Bob sold the house to atleast two people at the same time and never remitted all the monies to his client.
While disbarring the Law Council said: ‘ The reputation of the profession is more than important than the fortunes of the individual. It is for this reason, that errant advocates should sternly and swiftly be punished for their misdeeds lest the legal profession ceases to be referred to as a learned and honourable profession”
If Bob was 'truly great' as claimed & his mentee & obituarist were truly honest as the public intellectual he pretends to be, Tweeps would have been offered a more accurate portrait of the deceased; not this cliché of an imperialist wannabe that CRASHED & BURNED in his own movie
— Isaac Ssemakadde (@IsaacSsemakadde) February 28, 2021
Likening him to Icarus in greek mythology who was imprisoned on an Island with his father Daedalus, Mr. Isaac Ssemakadde portrayed Bob Kasango as reckless, irresponsible and overly ambitious.
Daedalus created two sets of wings made of wax and feathers for his son Icarus to fly and escape prison but warned him not to fly too close to the sun as the wax would melt and not to fly too low as the feathers would get wet by the waters of the sea.
” Flying your PC ( practicing certificate) too close to the Sun has felled many lawyers who had planned grandly but failed miserably by overestimating their knowledge, foresight and ability ” He said.
This is not the first time Mr. Ssemakadde is expressing displeasure at legal practice in Uganda.
At the height of the Coronavirus lockdown, he supported government’s initial decision to designate lawyers among non essential service providers noting that even if they were most of them would not do ‘ essential lawyering.’
Benjamin is a Digital Legal News Journalist (trained by Reuters) and digital media enthusiast who founded The Legal Reports website in January, 2020 while a fourth year law student at Makerere University school of law.
Prior to that, Benjamin used to write amateur blogs and some of his legal commentaries were published by the Daily Monitor and Independent Magazine - both leading publications in Uganda. He covers lawyers, law students, judges, judiciary, courts, law schools, and law firms.