KSL logo

Front image



November 23 - 24, 2020
KSL Campus, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya

KSL Conference 2020

Call for papers. More details here...
Participants can register here...
Accommodation Options: More details here...


Lawyers, Constitutionalism & Globalization in East Africa

November 23 - 24, 2020
KSL Campus, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya

hosted by:

CPD Department

The terrain for legal education and practice in East Africa has remarkably evolved over the last six (6) decades, arguably in line with the region's political governance. From nascent training institutions and professional associations characterized mostly by 'expatriates' to now more 'localized' firms, the opportunities for growth have been just as immense as corresponding challenges.

For example, across East African Community (EAC) member countries, supply-side concerns have been severally raised regarding burgeoning of new Law Schools/Faculties in apparent response to high demands for legal education and training. Meanwhile, on the demand side, the debate has gravitated around two concerns. First, the perceived disconnect between skills acquired in Law Schools and market needs. Second, the apparent individualization and fragmentation of the legal market place thereby limiting competitiveness and economies of scale of 'local' firms.

Amidst these opportunities and challenges is the dual reality of regional integration of the labour market under the auspices of the EAC Common Market Protocol (2010) and rapid emergence of platform firms and technology in provision of legal solutions. In countries such as Kenya, the former has been reinforced by progressive judicial interventions in line with the East African Community Treaty. And at continental level, the potential of the recently adopted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) Treaty may further open up the legal market place in the region.

However, in the context of Kenya, the East African Community, and the Global South generally, the challenges and opportunities are slightly more nuanced than many are often willing to admit. First, competition in the legal market place resulting from globalization and technological intervention for the most part remains local and built around the mid to lower tier of the market. Second, the role of platform firms manifests more as an enabler for 'independent contractors', who constitute the 'neglected' majority bottom of the legal market place.

Inevitably, these opportunities and challenges associated with globalization bring into sharp focus the role of lawyers and their professional associations in society. Whilst the traditional model envisaged a 'conservative' professional guided by established ethical standards and guidelines, the 'disruptive' effect of globalization and politics would seem to challenge this.

In the EAC, in particular, the historical role of the lawyer as harbinger for constitutionalism and rule of law has arguably been eroded by fragmentation of standards and 'opportunities', which no longer dictate predictability in professional path. The impact of this has been more evident in increased disparate activism, generational rivalries, politicization of the professional and the loss of focus on the broader role of the lawyer to society including as a vanguard of constitutionalism.

In this rapidly evolving legal market place, scholars, judicial officers, practitioners and other stakeholders ought to start debating and thinking through the changes and adaptive mechanisms.

The 2nd Kenya School of Law Annual Conference will broadly explore this theme. Local, regional and international participants drawn from governments, judiciaries, the academy, practitioners, regional bodies and other sectoral stakeholders will converge to comparatively explore the meaning, causes, consequences and opportunities of these challenges to the legal market place, and for the rule of law.

Papers, panels, keynotes, breakout sessions and posters should seek to answer these and related questions.

For any enquiries, please send an email to Dr. Erick Komolo or contact members of the Local Organising Committee. kslconference@ksl.ac.ke

We look forward to hosting you at the Kenya School of Law!