Brief abstracts of conference sessions will be listed here once the final program has been confirmed.

Title: Training the Kenyan Lawyer for Ethical Legal Practice: A Proposal

Lead Presenter: Osiemo, Lynette


  1. Whalen-Bridge, Helena

Session Abstract: Five decades into the history of legal education in Kenya, the state of legal profession mirrors the larger society which is plagued by scams of poor ethics in virtually every sector and corruption of indescribable magnitude. At the heart of a society gone wrong is blatant disregard by members for the ethics, the values and ideals that ought to guide its members in their relations with each other. As everyone steps back to look at what role they could have played in enabling the mess – or failing to stop it – the lawyers too must take their place in the self-introspection. A major question for legal educators would be: could we have taught them better in law school? At the inception of legal education in Kenya, the British who passed on their heritage in their historic “civilizing mission” had a certain idea of legal education that they sought to introduce. Lord Denning, who played an important role in the early development of legal education in Africa, proposed imparting of knowledge through participation in the relevant activity, thus advocating for articled clerkship, which he saw as necessary for the lawyer to get “those hidden things that are learned by the contact of mind with mind and spirit with spirit.” Presently, clinical teaching in Kenyan law schools is reserved for the Kenya School of Law, the bar school that all lawyers must attend after their undergraduate studies to prepare for admission to the bar. In view of the challenges faced at the bar school that make clinical teaching less effective than it could be, and considering that the situation is not likely not change in the near future, this presentation makes the case for introduction of clinical teaching of legal ethics at the undergraduate level of LLB studies through practical methods akin to that which Lord Denning envisaged at the beginning of legal education in the country.

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