For a long time, Kenyan laws did not allow advocates to advertise their services or give them room to unfairly market themselves. After mounting pressure to reform the Advocates (Practice) Rules 1966, some of the laws were relaxed and gave lawyers certain allowances to attract professional business. A judgement in the case Okenyo Omwansa George & another vs Attorney General & 2 others of 2012 gave room for the Law Society of Kenya to switch up the rules. Advocates pictured at the Supreme Court BuildingFile However, the law banning advocates from undertaking TV, radio or billboard adverts was still maintained, which explains why you don’t observe them marketing themselves in the media. Gitonga, a lawyer who spoke to Kenyans.co.ke explained the rationale behind the restrictions imposed on advocates in regards to advertisements. “Kenyan law borrows a lot from the UK which considers law as a noble profession or a calling such as medicine. The laws were made to protect the nobility of the practice and discourage people from viewing it as a business,” the advocate spoke. He added that if allowed to advertise like other industries, the profession would be flooded with people whose only goal was to make money. Kenneth, another advocate with ambitions of becoming Kenya’s Chief Justice explained that law was a complex undertaking and its intricacies would be defiled if subjected to simplistic concepts of advertising. “You know adverts are about touting a product’s strengths and guaranteeing certain outcomes which cannot be guaranteed in court. A soap can claim to kill 99% of germs but with cases, you cannot promise what the judge will rule,” he stated. The law also protects Kenyans from false advertising by unscrupulous advocates who would wish to promise more than they can deliver. Left to right: Supreme Court Judge Philomena Mwilu, CJ David Maraga during a past rulingTwitter The goal of the professional ethics in law is to ensure that advocates get business on the basis of competence and expertise and not cost or (false) advertisement.Despite the restrictions, lawyers are still allowed to advertising on limited forms such as print media including in a newspaper, magazine, booklet, periodical or journal.However, an advocate can only advertise in a print medium up to four times in any given year and the advertisement shall measure not more than 0.210m x 0.297m. They can also put up a plate or a plaque at the entrance to the advocate’s or firm’s ordinary place of business and is not supposed to be more than 0.5m x 0.35m. With the emerging trends in digital media, there exists a loophole on how to regulate the use of internet advertising. Many law firms have opened websites which help increase theor visibility in today’s online world. Below are more rules governing lawyers’ advertisements according to the Advocates (Marketing And Advertising) Rules, 2014. An advocate may only provide the following information in an advertisement (a) the identity of the advocate; (b) the identity of the advocate’s firm; (c) the date on which the advocate was admitted to the Roll of Advocates; (d) the address and other contact information of the advocate or tle advocate’s firm; (e) the hours of business of the advocate or the advocate’s firm; (f) the language of business used by the advocate or the advocate’s firmAn advocate shall not provide the following information in an advertisement (a) the name or the identity of a client of the advocate or the advocate’s firm; (b) a picture of the advocate, the advocate’s partner or partners, or another advocate employed in the advocate’s firm; (c) academic or professional positions held by the advocate before that advocate’s admission to the Roll of Advocates; or (d) a promise by the advocate or the advocate’s firm to achieve a particular outcome for clients or prospective clients of the advocate or the advocate’s firm or that failure to obtain that outcome shall constitute a waiver of the advocate’s or the advocate’s firm’s legal fees.
A reconciliation meeting for the NRM winners and losers in the just concluded NRM primaries in Kabale town flopped on Saturday after all parliamentary losers failed to turn up. The NRM Secretariat on Thursday kicked...Read more