Success As A Lawyer: AG Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s Tips for Young Lawyers
Winston Churchill, one of the most significant figures in the 20th Century once said that in order to achieve success, ‘’it’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.’’ Success in the legal profession is a goal many seek. The question is; what is required to achieve it? How can one rise above mediocrity in the legal profession?
To answer these questions, the Uganda Law Society Young Lawyers’ Committee in an inaugural session of its mentorship series hosted Mr. Kiryowa Kiwanuka, the recently appointed Attorney General to speak to Young Lawyers about ‘Pathways to success in the legal profession.’’
The virtual session hosted by Award winning lawyer Mercy Odu was graced by Uganda Law Society President Nabasa Pheona Wall, Mr. Kenneth Kipalu (the committee chairperson) and Mr. Alex Matovu- (founding partner of Signum Advocates), among others.
It saw Mr. Kiryowa who has been in practice for the last 23 years share nuggets of wisdom necessary for one to rise above average in the profession.
According to him, passion for the job, compassion and empathy for the clients, good communication and writing skills are some of the hallmarks of success coupled with a willingness to listen and attention to detail. ‘’The devil is in the detail’’ he said. Creativity was another key ingredient he emphasized.
” There is no such thing as; ‘I have dealt with this case before’. Law is not a science. You have to be creative, offering new solutions. Every case is different!’’ Mr. Kiryowa Kiwanuka said.
The distinguished lawyer who represented President Yoweri Museveni in both the 2016 and 2021 presidential election petitions also emphasized the need for good judgement and a healthy dose of skeptism in order to succeed.
Describing the profession as ‘a tough field’ he implored lawyers to understand legal practice is a business with profits and losses and called for perseverance through the good and bad days.
According to him, gaining proper understanding of both the client and the client’s business coupled with availability to the client is necessary in order to set one’s law firm apart from the next.
Kiryowa who is one of the founding partners of K&K Advocates, a reknown Ugandan law firm also urged lawyers to desist from delayed responses especially bad news as well as lack of brevity and clarity when dealing with clients.
He noted the importance of shared values when choosing a partner for a law firm for it to be a success.
The board member of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda also mentioned the need to maintain a good reputation and avoid dishonour. ‘’Your reputation is the only thing you have in the profession at the end of the day’’ he said.
Bombarded with questions about the high failure rate of lawyers at the Law Development Centre and whether attending the Bar School is necessary, Kiryowa Kiwanuka encouraged listeners where possible to enrol at the Law Development Centre. In his opinion, it prepares one for life ahead.
Cognizant of the fact that some senior lawyers underpay young lawyers under them, the new Attorney General cautioned against such unfairness which reduces employees’ motivation to work without which they fail to perform to their best.
The session initiated by both young and senior lawyers according to President Wall was only the first of a series of deliberate mentorship aimed at seeing ‘real quality’ passed down from senior lawyers to the younger lawyers.