Student advisors in the Strathmore Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (SELC) recently graduated from a legal training that will ensure that they ready for the tasks ahead. SELC, through a partnership with Queen Mary University of London and advocates of the High Court of Kenya offers legal aid services to entrepreneurs in Kenya.
The graduating team for the current SELC programme cohort was led by Dickson Muriuki Muthee. The other student advisors in the team were Katherine Nyamwaro, Ivy Aruasa, Nduta Muhindi, Michelle Timanto, Joan Karambu, Ruth Wanjiru, Mungai Kiarie, Nawal Gedi, Georgina Mugure, Sharon Muoki, Anne Mburu, Stacey Adongo and Blessing Wanjau.
Additionally, the advocates involved, who were instrumental throughout the process of the programme were Allan M. Mukuki, Patrick Nzomo, Jane Muriithi, Eva Maina, Cynthia Amutete, George Kimotho and Agoi Polycarp.
Wanjiru Gikungu, a second year law student, summed up the experience of the graduates in the following speech.
“I am glad to be a part of the Strathmore Entrepreneurship Law Clinic up until now. My experience has been nothing but exhilarating and transformative.
Being the youngest member of the team, I must say this has been more than a learning opportunity for me. Through and through, I have been exposed to a chunk of new things and needless to say, great minds as well. It is always a joy to get an opportunity of expanding your capacity and sharpening your knowledge. The teamwork was also predominantly present from both the colleagues and the supervisor. I have learnt to work with people and consequently been able to build up beautiful synergy in the quest to complete various tasks.
We essentially had three rounds of offering pro-bono legal aid to three different clients. Prior to this, we were taken through a thorough and rigorous capacity building program that equipped us with relevant information pertaining entrepreneurship. This did not go unnoticed as an amazing virtual graduation ceremony was organized and consequently, certificates handed to us.
The first round set off which was genuinely a smooth ride from my end. Timelines were met, communication was clear, and the support was overwhelming from the supervisors. The second round was equally amazing and thrilling as it fell around the festive season. It was quite a great opportunity striving to strike a balance between work and family affairs. Approaching the third round, we had wrapped our heads quite well around the procedures and accordingly, acquired the perks of it. It felt as though we were actual lawyers. We were able to conduct the subsequent interviews in a propitious fashion. The process got easier as we found ourselves handling issues that we had tackled in the first round. Safe to say this was a perfectioning journey. Our supervisors worked tirelessly to ensure we offered the best pieces of advice. It was quite immaculate how they would set time aside their busy schedules just to meet with us and take us through each and every step. At the end of each round, Jasper was kind enough to hold a debrief session so as to know our experience and make resolutions on the way forward.
However, with every good story there is a challenge behind it. Once, we did encounter communication issues with a client and this tested our professionalism. I recall my partner and I would frequently make calls to each other, and the client as well, to ensure we keep tabs. We also experienced a moment of panic at one point when we received an email from our client asking us to advise her on quite a number of issues, just when we were about to conclude the 21-day period. Would that then mean that we should go ahead and advise, so as to meet the deadline, which in return would compromise on the quality or would the additional issues necessitate another 21-day period? Those are the questions we asked ourselves and gladly through the wisdom of our supervisors, we managed to manouvre through the situation.
Perhaps more than anything else, the greatest lesson we have learnt is the art of service. It has been an honor to serve in such a capacity and I am definitely looking forward to what the future bestows upon all of us. I would love to extend our sincere gratitude to the organizing team for creating this opportunity for us and end with a quote from Nina Hagen, a force to reckon with who encourages us to consider the whole picture, not just our little selves, and serve.”