Allen Gichuhi is  the immediate former president of the Law Society of Kenya and a senior partner at Wamae & Allen Advocates.He has practised commercial litigation for the last 24 years.He has a bachelors degree in law from the University of Nairobi amongst many other educational qualifications. The father of two shares his story after college and reveals his life lessons.

Music or TV ? What is the last song you listened to or TV show you watched?

I’m a huge fan of both. I’ve been binging on a lot of Netflix shows lately the most recent one being ‘Breaking Bad.’ The last song I listened to has got to be’ Insecure’ by Sauti Sol.

Sauti sol

Is this career path one that you always dreamed of?

Absolutely! I am definitely leaving my dream. I made up my mind while in secondary school precisely in form 2.I knew I was going to become an advocate specializing in litigation.

What was your favorite class in University and why?

My favorite classes were centered on Business law. The complexities of contract and commercial law  always fascinated me. I would read cases that established precedents going back hundreds of years but at the same time, law is so dynamic and we as lawyers, are social legal engineers expected to provide solutions to modern day disputes.

What are some of the things you’ll miss from your University days?

My comrades in campus! I was never a party animal but I definitely loved interacting with my clique. Once you start working you get too busy to catch up with friends and life can get hectic. Campus allowed me to have fun and study at the same time.

What was your very first job and how did you get it?

It was an  internship at one of the oldest law firms in the country- Hamilton Harrison and Mathews- that was founded in 1902. One of the founding partners was called BG Allen. I was employed as soon as I completed my internship. I left in 2002 and loved to crack the joke that 100 years later WG Allen left the firm. Get it?

Is there anything that you regret not doing while in your early twenties?

Absolutely nothing!

Could you share what a typical day in your life as a senior advocate looks like?

Well…To be rated as a top lawyer really  requires hard work and great sacrifice. I usually get to the office at about 6.30 am and spend time clearing my desk until about 9 am when I typically attend virtual court for the rest of the morning. The afternoons are dedicated to meetings, research and drafting. A normal day requires about 10 to 12 hours of work. However there are those rare occasions when you end up working until 2 am in the morning on account of urgent matters and still report to work before 7 am!..sigh. At times you also end up working on weekends. There was one time I spent 5 straight days finalizing an arbitral award between Wednesday and Sunday. All in all, there is no greater satisfaction than the gratitude I receive from clients for the exemplary service I provide.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling down?

I usually face every problem as a challenge waiting to be resolved. I am also generally a problem solver with an inquisitive mind and always advise that one should never allow to get emotionally drained by either a client or family as that will adversely affect your physical and mental health. If I get those rare moments that typically drain me, I always make a point to take a step back, meditate and lift myself up. Talking to family and close friends combined with prayer helps alot.

So when do you get time for yourself and how do you use it?

I love travelling a lot especially with family. There is no greater satisfaction than the feeling of unwinding at the coast and having that blissful moment of relaxation.

What mistakes do you think a lot of young people make in line with their career paths?

Many young people make wrong career choices because of family pressure.They also don’t bother to reflect on their inner strengths and passions. They do not aspire to grow in their profession and end up hating their jobs which even spills over to their personal lives. One needs to be focused and have a vision. Prepare a life progression chart mapping out your future professional goals which you should then review annually.

Can you name some of your favourite role models and explain why they are your favourites?

President Obama for sure! From a humble background to becoming the president of the USA,I mean! His humility and oratory skills really inspired me. Another favorite is the late Humphrey Slade who was once the inaugural speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly in the late 1960s.He later joined Hamilton Harrison and Mathews as a partner. He left a rich legacy of well researched legal opinions that inspired me to become a writer. That led me to become a popular presence at the LSK Continuous Professional Development trainings and also at the Judiciary Training Institute. As a result I ended up publishing a legal book “The Art of Strategy and Practice” in addition to scores of articles over the years.

Image from Esquire

Could you tell us about one of your best career moments so far?

Becoming the president of the Law Society of Kenya! I am extremely proud and honored to have served my society and instituted tremendous reforms in areas of law practice and the welfare of advocates.

Image from The Star

What advice from a friend or family has stuck with you throughout your career this far?

Be true to yourself and have the courage and conviction to stand up for justice.

If a young man walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best financial management tips, what would they be?

Do  not let vanity guide your short term aspirations to purchase luxury items and waste money on partying. Invest in your career growth and build up a savings nest egg for future investment. Think twice before investing in Ponzi schemes.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself becoming an international commercial arbitrator in 5 years

Image from Multilaw

What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

Leaders forget the concept of servant leadership; service to the society. The biggest problem is them not listening to the concerns of their constituents and becoming inaccessible. A leader without reason lasts only for a season.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I am a reformer. I purpose to inspire my colleagues to bring about reform by improving the practice of law. I constantly read on the best practices internationally and exchange ideas with colleagues on how to improve the lives of Kenyans. For instance, in 2017 I petitioned parliament to draft a Fraud Act to go after corrupt directors. I also petitioned parliament to amend the Consumer Protection Act to protect citizens from shylocks who charge usurious interest rates. In 2020 I substantially contributed towards updating and coming up with the 2020 Chartered Arbitration Rules. Currently I am spearheading reforms in employment law.

Any relationship advice for the young men out there?

Never be a slave to peer pressure. Be confident and don’t rush blindly into relationships.