Suave, Young Lawyer who Turned Down Offer to Become a Catholic Priest

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He would probably be immersed in scriptures, showering his flock with Biblical knowledge while encouraging them to look at the cross and confess their sins if they wanted to see the kingdom.

It would be nice only that Mike Ronoh didn’t obey that faint calling.

He made a last-minute decision switching careers when the path was clear for him to join the seminary.

He instead picked law, a choice mostly informed by his love for the lawyers’ attire.

So, he dropped the cassock for the wig and gown.

And so far, he has no regret to report.

Ronoh is a young, accomplished lawyer who focuses his trade on both corporate and commercial law.

From Sang’alo in Nandi County, the Kenyatta-University-trained advocate, who acquired the requisite skills at the Kenya School of Law, is now deriving great joy in ensuring his clients undertake due diligence and regulatory compliance in various fields such as banking, insurance, telecommunications, procurement, mining, power and energy sector, environmental law and capital markets among others.

He is also an advocate. He has handled major litigation matters on various key legal issues all the way to the Court of Appeal.

He has also been involved in various election petitions.

“I never thought I would be a lawyer actually. As a young boy, I enjoyed childhood, herding my father’s cattle and chasing grasshoppers just like every other kid who grew up in the village,” he says.

While in primary school at All Saints Kebulonik Academy in Nandi, he remembers reading a dictionary that had a picture of a lawyer, which he developed keen interest in it.

“I loved looking at the picture and promised myself that one day I’d love to wear similar attire,” Mike recalls.

He loved writing. He says his composition in Class Four would be read to class eight pupils. If he was not a lawyer, he would have been a great print journalist.

After Class 8, Mike joined Sacho High in Baringo after rejecting an opportunity to join Kapsabet Boys in Nandi. He turned down the prestigious offer because he felt he would have no tales for his parents about the school as his brothers were already in Kapsabet Boys and seemed to have exhausted all the stories about the school. He has never regretted joining Sacho.

“Later I was called to join the seminary to serve as a priest, but I turned down the offer. I felt I was not fit to serve as a priest. I joined campus to study law. I had come to develop so much interest in law by the time I cleared high school. I had no mentors then as I was one of the first people to study law in the area. I met my mentor and current boss, Dr Korir Singoei, the Senior Legal Advisor, Executive Office of the Deputy President while on pupilage in Kapsabet. And I began to fall in love with the profession with proper mentorship.”

Mike Ronoh’s Candid Takes:

Why Law

As soon as I set foot in law school, I fell in love with the profession. It is very satisfying securing a victory for your clients in a just manner. More about seeing justice done, playing your small role in ensuring justice is served.

There’s a popular saying among lawyers these days that goes: going to law school is like putting your 20s through Vietnam.

There are so many lawyers nowadays with almost all universities training lawyers.

However, I believe there’s something for everyone. But before you embark on the journey, you must be prepared for disappointments. It is not a walk in the park. It is tough, and if you don’t have the thick skin required and patience it’s better doing other things. And there’s no easy money. You must really dedicate lots of effort and hard work.

He advises young lawyers to work harder and appreciate mentorship/

 

Women in Law

I think as per the Law Society of Kenya database, there are more female lawyers than male. The current LSK Council has more women than men.

Women are doing very well in the profession, and that is a very positive thing.

Family Support

My family has always been supportive from the word go. Being the lastborn, I had to fight to be heard. Many are the times your opinion on many matters didn’t count and you had to really struggle to get your views appreciated. This made me become argumentative from a young age and when I joined law school my parents felt that’s where I belonged. They were always supportive all through especially my mum, who always want to attend court sessions I am involved in.

Successes

My successes are several. I have had the privilege of being entrusted to handle major briefs for high end clients. Some I would only have dreamt of. I occasionally interact with senior lawyers who tell me that when they were my age such briefs were a preserve of a select category of lawyers. Tells you how liberal the profession has now become.

Failures

Law is a learning profession. You continuously learn. There are those cases that go against you and you later learn you would have handled them differently or from a different angle. I also regret letting go some exciting offers from a multinational company. At times I think I’d have done a lot more had I chosen purely corporate. But you make amends and do your best with what you have.

I urge those around me that with the right attitude, everything is possible.

I never imagined I’d be a lawyer. And I thank God for the far he’s brought me. For professional colleagues, especially young lawyers I always encourage them to be the best version of themselves. They should never be intimidated and whatever they aspire to do is possible.

Challenges

There are so many challenges lawyers face, people think lawyers have lots of money, and many think the money is illegally acquired. Some people still think we are evil and liars. It’s never like that. Professionally, the Covid-19 situation has really affected the legal sector. No physical court attendance, the government recently directed state agencies and corporations not to give legal briefs to private firms. This eats into the client base and lawyers need to devise new frontiers and venture into emerging sectors soonest.

The main challenge would be the ever increasing numbers of lawyers and the decreasing job opportunities. Cut-throat competition, poor pay for young lawyers too.

Also, the digital revolution, which has immensely disrupted professional services. Law firms need to embrace change.

Mike looks forward to owning a law firm in the future/courtesy

Future Ambitions

I am at the point in my career where I am deciding whether to venture into solo practice by opening my own firm, or remaining in employment. Long term would definitely be managing my own firm in the near future. I have ambitions too of joining the bench later in my life.

Parting Shot

There’s a judge who said that a judge is a judge whether newly admitted or an old fogy. While the former has the benefit of latest learning, the latter has the benefit of experience. They’re both 24-carat gold.

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