From 9 June to 10 June 2021, Strathmore Law School (SLS) in conjunction with Bowmans Kenya organised the Corporate Law Summit — the first of its kind in Kenya. The virtual summit sought to audit Kenya’s corporate legal practice over the past decade and discuss how the various stakeholders can best improve the quality and delivery of corporate law services. The timing of the summit was perfect because the discussions were expected to offer solutions on how businesses and corporations can bounce back after the pandemic. The Masters of Ceremony for the summit were Allan Mukuki, lecturer at SLS and Alex Ndegwa, an Associate at Bowmans Kenya.
In the opening session, Justice Daniel Musinga, President of the Court of Appeal, said he was confident that the summit would provide useful insights into corporate law practice and the Kenyan business environment. He underscored the role of the judiciary in corporate legal practice; the pace in determining commercial disputes can encourage or hinder the growth of corporate practice. Additionally, he illustrated the recent developments in the judiciary to promote expediency, namely Court-Annexed Mediation and the launch of Small Claims Court at Millimani.
The summit brought together leading corporate law practitioners, experts and academics and managed to attract over 1,000 views on You Tube and a substantially large number of attendees on Zoom. The goal of the summit was achieved through eight panel discussions comprising of the best legal minds in the various fields. The topics of discussion included: Review of Competition Law; Evaluation of the Kenya Insolvency Act; Corporate Dispute Resolution; M/A and Private Equity legal practice; Corporate Taxation and Corporate Governance.
One of the overarching lessons is the need to be innovative and flexible to adjust to the emerging trends. The speakers throughout all panels emphasized that there is more to be done in promoting corporate legal practice in Kenya. Everyone has a role to play to ensure that there is a conducive business environment in the country.
As noted by Dr. Elizabeth Gachenga, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Strathmore, in the closing session of the summit, there is a need for more collaboration between academia and practitioners. Kenyans need to align their goals to global trends to ensure that they remain relevant.
Lastly, she stressed that Strathmore is committed to prepare graduates that are flexible and able to adapt and offer solutions to emerging legal problems as and when they arise.
This article was written by Vianney Sebayiga and Mariam Hiba Malik, Final Year Law Students at Strathmore Law School.
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