Mr. Henry Wycliffe Busobozi is a young lawyer, just fresh from LDC. He works at leading law firm Ortus Advocates and runs an all Men fashion store called Alpha Code in Kampala City. We caught up with him to speak about his Career and inspire young lawyers.
Good morning Sir, thank you for agreeing to speak to us. Could you please tell our readers about yourself – who is Henry Wycliffe Busobozi?
Well, I am a free spirit, shop keeper and a lawyer, in no particular order. I am currently employed at Ortus Advocates and I am the proprietor of Alpha Code Haberdashery.
Like most people my age, between the tight schedules and demands of the legal career, I like to make time to hangout with my friends which is one of the few things keeping me sane.
I am a lover of music… in all genres depending on the mood … oh and a big big fan of The OFFICE and Friends.
Many people out there take law to be a lucrative career and thus self sufficient. What then inspired you to start your store Alpha Code?
Let me first say this, Law is lucrative and self sufficient yes, but not for junior lawyers. So, just law as a source of income in this economy as a junior lawyer, is not very sustainable.
But that wasn’t my main motivation for starting Alpha Code. I love fashion, I like to dress up sharp and to see people dressed sharp. On many instances i got asked by people who my plugs were for my outfits and accessories and i had some really great connections when it came to stuff like that.
So this one time i was having this conversation with a friend and as a joke she suggested I could actually pull off something like this, so that’s when the idea was born, i gave it some thought, did some market research and yeah, i decided to venture into it.
I am not saying the decision wasn’t money driven, but i have always believed in doing only things that you’re really in love with.
As a young lawyer you must be running a hectic schedule back at Office. How do you manage time for your law firm and Alpha Code?
I work with some of the best lawyers in the business, and anyone who knows this profession knows that for them to get to that point in their careers it took alot of sacrifice and an insane amount of hours of work and as such they expect nothing less, and when they give you work, they expect nothing but perfection.
The job alone is enough to drive you crazy and you really have to put in the work. I remember this one time in the thick of election petition season where we’d sleep a total of about 10hrs the entire week, with research, reviewing affidavits evidence, court appearances, traveling and in all that when work is due it’s due there are no excuses and no margin for error.
So to add a business to all this, is just crazy. So yeah, how do I balance, you have to make sacrifices, pick what’s important to you, and make sure to always remember that, then apportion your time accordingly. We all have 24hrs in a day what makes the difference is how you utilize them.
Law Versus Entrepreneurship; What differences and/or similarities between the two have you learned so far on your career path
Both are very demanding with regard to time, attention and dedication. Both are potentially very lucrative, just not at the start. Both are very depressing. There aren’t many differences because even law itself as is is a business though now entrepreneurship is the more practical feel to everything and when you are talking about risk and risk management, it’s your risk and not your client’s risk. All the things we advise our law clients to do and not to do, this time its you doing or not doing them so the consequences are entirely to you.
How have you leveraged social and digital media to connect, build meaningful relationships with your clients?
Alpha Code started as a virtual store so most of our business… actually about 80% of it is sourced off digital media. Most of us are on our phones most of the time, be it for work or leisure, so with digital media it is very easy to get to show people what you are offering without them having to go so much out of their way to see it.
So every so often I have to make sure i have content to put out there to maintain business visibility which is what brings you customers because the biggest percentage of our market is made of impulse shoppers especially when it comes to fashion and clothes.
Recently, a photo of human rights lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde at the Supreme Court in what he described as a “supreme coat” and army boots attracted mixed feelings on Social media. How can lawyers be fashion forward like Isaac and inject their unique personality into their wardrobes while still making appropriate choices in this conservative legal profession?
My advice would be don’t take very drastic changes at ago, it has got to be a gradual process. Introduce the trend in bits and pieces. Isaac dressing like that to the supreme court wasn’t shocking because he is someone who has never been afraid to push the boundaries so it wasn’t something so shocking but for any other person it could have been disastrous.
A law graduate commented on one of your photos to say maybe he wasn’t getting invited for job interviews because he doesn’t dress up elegantly like the guys at Alpha Code. What do you recommend law graduates to wear to professional interviews? Do you have any No Nos?
How you appear on the outside says alot about the content you’re going to present which is I think one of the reasons the legal profession emphasizes the dress code that it does.
So if you are going to an interview, I strongly recommend that you dress as sharp as possible though business sharp, don’t over do it because then that too could work against you.
I actually wouldn’t advise someone to go for an interview in a double breast suit for example, with unkempt hair (unless you are Ssemakadde!). I actually advise a hair cut the day before it. Try to avoid too much colour as well.
Actually I remember during my interview at Ortus, at the end one of the panelists said, ” Make sure you dress like that on your first day in office”, so did my dress code have an impact on my performance in the interview? I’ll leave that to your interpretation!
What 5 items of clothing should every style savvy lawyer have in their wardrobe?
A Double breast suit or two, suspenders, Paisley ties, Cufflink shirts and cufflinks, Contrast shirts and office boots.