Contrary to what many people believe, there is no such thing as the best law firm in Nairobi, Kenya, or any other part of the world. Being the best law firm would mean one excels in all fields of practice beyond any other. As you goggled, however, you have most certainly encountered titles like “top 10 law firms in Kenya” or “top law firms in Nairobi,” which seem to indicate ranks. These, in most cases, are not factual, and when they are, it is for particular merits, not the entire practice of law.
We, however, understand that with the presence of so many law firms in Kenya, it can be a challenge to find one that is best for your case. This article is for you. You will learn the most important things you need to consider when finding a law firm.
FIVE CRUCIAL THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A LAW FIRM
1. Areas of specialization – Always find a law firm or lawyer with specialty and experience in the case you have. They are best suited to locate the direction of your legal issue and handle it accordingly.
2. Track record – Always seek to know their successes in previous cases, especially those similar to yours. You have a right to ask for their success graph.
NB: Find a lawyer who is capable both in the courtroom and behind the desk, as your case may depend on it!
3. Staying power –Given a chance to choose between two law firms in Nairobi offering the same services you need. One with two years of practice, and the other ten years, which would you choose? Naturally, you feel more confident with the one that has existed for longer. This is not to say that you should choose a start-up firm. It’s just a question of where your heart feels at peace.
For example, we have been in practice for 69 years. How does it make you feel having your case in our hands?
4. Mode of communication – You and your lawyer should decide how to communicate. This ensures that you don’t miss important developments in your case. You should decide on the mode and the frequency of meetings so they can factor you into their unpredictable schedule.
5. Billing system – The terms of payment MUST be clear. This may differ for different firms or depending on the nature of your case. Determine whether you’ll be charged hourly, per appearance in court, in fixed amounts, or on retainer.
GETTING A LAW FIRM THAT SUITS YOUR BUDGET
Speaking of billing, let’s talk about budgets! Legal services are more often assumed to be very expensive, yet from an accounting perspective, the profit margins are similar to those of any other business. The billing system of lawyers is governed by the Advocates Remuneration Order, which discourages, with harsh penalties, the possibility of lawyers overcharging or undercharging.
Tips to get a lawyer that best suits your budget would be:
(a) Referrals – This goes without saying. If you know someone that has encountered a similar legal issue, you will want to contact the firm that helped them. This will save you a lot of time and increase your case’s possibility of hearing sooner.
(b) Compare Billing Costs – We know you thought this only applies to other services, but you can also compare prices for legal services. Of course, choosing firms based on cost is not a good idea, as you may compromise the quality of work. But on the other hand, you can only work with what you have. Just remember, cheap is equally expensive!
NB: Enquire about the possibility of any additional costs.
(c) Research on Local organizations that offer free legal services; sometimes, you may be pressed for legal services that you cannot afford at the moment. There are non-profit and start bar organizations whose sole purpose is pro-bono legal services (free lawyer service). Thanks to technology, you might not even need to step out of your home. Try searching “free lawyer advice online” or “where can I get free lawyer advice,” and the local results will show.
THINGS NO ONE WILL TELL YOU ABOUT LAW FIRMS AND LAWYERS
Yet here we are telling you. We consider this part of consultation, so you know. Under normal circumstances, you be billed considerably for this, but we appreciate your patience this far into the article, and we want to let you in on this insider information, so you can make an informed choice when choosing a law firm in Kenya.
You should be able to trust the law firm or advocate who you intend to entrust your fate. Do this by conducting due diligence before you make your choice. First and most importantly, the advocate MUST be in good standing with the Law Society of Kenya. This institution is mandated by Kenyan law to issue practicing certificates to lawyers in Kenya.
It is possible to find a law firm or advocate who has extensive experience in a legal field but has on countless accounts been implicated in illegal practices such as fraud. On the other hand, you’ll find one, free of blemish, just as qualified but with less experience. What would your choice be?
It is also important to know which field of law the subject matter of your case falls under. This may save you a lot of time and money. Choose a law firm with extensive experience in the subject matter or field of law. The field of law informs the field of specialty for law firms and advocates. They include civil and criminal litigation, industries such as banking and insurance, creativity, technology & digital innovation, constitutions, and international laws, among other branches of law and other fields.
After reading this, you cannot go wrong with identifying the most suitable law firm for you. We cannot exhaust everything at a go; we will talk more about this in later articles, so keep in touch.