A story by top student #Morara Omoke: LL.B -First Class Honours
I take this opportunity to thank God Almighty for guiding me and for pouring into me strength and energy to undertake my studies from the first day I went to school as a little boy up to the time I completed my LL. B programme at the University of Nairobi, School of Law on 2 May 2014 April 2014. Attainment of a First Class Honours which was also accompanied by finishing at the top of my class in the Class of 2014 is all the doing of God who wields the power to turn ashes to beauty; the ultimate grantor of all good things; and the giver of all blessings. I acknowledge God for always blessing me immeasurably and giving me a deep and patient faith to face the storms of this life.
The undergraduate journey commenced on 12 October 2010 but preparation for this journey began four years earlier in my days at Mang’u High School. Precisely, it began in December 2006, just before the start of my third year in high school. This is when I decided that I would dedicate my life to the practice of law. I had spent my first two years in high school to think carefully on what career I would pursue. I literally took a mental flight to acquire a kind of a general and panoramic view of what I really wanted my life to be like and the kind of utility I would like my country Kenya and the rest of the world to derive from me in my lifetime. I cannot forget one of my language teachers, Mrs Esther Kuria at Mang’u High School who had spoken to me and my fellow form one students soon after joining the school in 2005 on career choices. This was a topic that was of utmost value to me and so I sought further information by reading an insightful article she had authored on this subject. Upon deciding that I wanted to pursue law, my last two years in high school and the period that preceded the commencement of my law degree was marked by astronomical thirst for legal knowledge. I would spend a substantial amount of time during my third and fourth year in high school reading about the law career and learning the law even as my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations were approaching. After high school, I pursued the Certified Public Secretary (CPS) course which was another opportunity to learn law and to gain multi-disciplinary knowledge in accounting, finance, management and economics. By the time I was beginning my degree about two years later under the former Joint Admissions Board system, I had completed the course and learnt key legal concepts in contract law, tort law, constitutional law, company law and securities law.
The University of Nairobi, School of Law offered me all the resources I needed in my studies. The School is well equipped with thousands of law books, law journals and other study material both in the physical library and in the e-library resources that the university has subscribed to. The e-libraries are easily accessible through the school LAN and wireless internet resources which are on a round-the-clock supply. Students have sufficient number of absolutely brilliant lecturers to look up to and a kind hearted group of non-teaching staff always willing to facilitate their studies and help the students resolve any study related problems. I greatly benefitted from the resources mentioned here and from the wonderful members of staff at the school.
At this point I wish to speak briefly on how I maintained an excellent performance in my class work. I have already spoken about my passion for the law which I maintained right from my first semester at Parklands Campus and it never waned. It only got more intense semester by semester. I took my research assignments very seriously. Interaction with established lawyers on various questions of law ranging from how to draft various legal documents and the procedures to be followed in legal transactions or court processes widened my understanding and exposed me to the practical aspects of law. I also learnt the art of reading bulky study material in a speedy manner which is a critical tool given the sheer volume of material law students have to deal with in the course of their studies. This is a skill that one will need even in the practice of law because handling complex legal transactions and convoluted legal disputes entails reading through a repertoire of legal documents. The same skill is invaluable to the lawyers in academia who interact with bulky legal material on a more regular basis. To conclude this point, I wish to shift the gear to sitting examinations. My approach to answering exam questions was analytical which meant going beyond reporting the law I had read. Roscoe Pound spoke of the role of law in social engineering. If lawyers are to aid the process of social engineering we ought to analyze the law and demonstrate its strong points and unearth the defects for purposes of reform. Time management during the exam is crucial. Before beginning to write answers, the student ought to carefully select questions to be answered and to allocate time to each question to be answered. Owning a watch is thus important so that one can time herself. The answers should be of reasonable length well organized under various headings or if one uses prose then let each paragraph carry a specific theme that is easily identifiable by the examiner. I think maintaining a modest, neat and smart approach to dressing also has a bearing on what kind of a lawyer one becomes. A student should begin with personal neatness and carry the same virtue into her assignments and examination answers.
I wish to send a word of encouragement to fellow young lawyers that every day is an opportunity to improve our performance. Most importantly, I believe that good performance in class is not the only thing that we should pursue. Our future clientele will expect us to do a great job whenever they will bring their matters to us. We must rise to the occasion - a good job is a non-negotiable.
As I come to my conclusion, I wish to state that my good performance came to fruition due to the contribution of various persons who were a total blessing to me. I shall attempt to mention as many of these people but the list is inexhaustible. I appreciate the generous, invaluable, and steadfast guidance, encouragement and assistance the Dean of Law, Professor Patricia Kameri-Mbote, has always given me not just in my undergraduate period but also in my career journey so far. The fact that she has been an amazing Dean of Law in her tenure cannot go unmentioned as this has ensured that the School of Law offers a conducive environment for studying law.
My parents, Grace Mokeira and Samuel Mirieri, did not bore me into money and possession but they gave me something more valuable: education, hope and undying love. I am grateful to God for giving me the best mother and father in world.
I thank Vincent Mulondo, my mentor, my friend and truly a brother, for standing with me in rainy days, for being a loyal friend and for always believing in me.
I cannot forget to express my gratitude to my best friend, Esabel Gathigia, for being truly loyal and caring to me as I undertook my LL. B studies.
I express my gratitude to my siblings—Gilbert Nyamweya, Irene Kwamboka, Lilian Manyange, Damaris Nyamokami and Japheth Omae for their contribution.
I also appreciate my LL.B lecturers particularly Mr. Paul Tirimba Machogu, Mr. Richard Kariuki, Mr. Muthomi Thiankolu, Mr L. Obura Aloo, Ms. Joy Asiema, Mr. Yash Vyas, Dr. Agnes Meroka, Dr. Jacob Gakeri, Dr. David Gachuki, Professor Ben Sihanya, Professor F.D.P. Situma and Professor O.K. Mutungi who taught me law excellently. I also acknowledge my pastor at Mamlaka Hill Chapel, Pastor Charles Ng’ang’a, my friends Dr. Robert Miano and Fred Gekonde, my primary school head teacher at St. Andrew Kaggwa Boys Boarding, Mr. Stanley Ayiera, and other teachers there who fired me up to dream big which helped my dream to join Mang’u High School come to fruition, and Mr. Jophece Yogo who has mentored and taught me in the Certified Public Secretary profession. I cannot forget my LL. B classmates, Mumbi Gathoni, Christopher Kibaki and Sally Maling’a, and my LL. B schoolmates, Annette Bochaberi and Yohana Gaddafi, for being great friends of mine.
As I move to another stage of my career, I acknowledge the law firm of Mboya, Wangong’u and Waiyaki where I am learning the practical facet of law. I also wish to mention and appreciate Janet Mwawasi who brings immeasurable value to my life and career.
I thank God for all for you and for those not mentioned here.
By Morara Omoke