How to become a lawyer in Kenya

How to become a lawyer in Kenya


Who is a lawyer?

A lawyer is a professional with qualifications in legal education either at the undergraduate or graduate level. Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals (lawyers) and related areas. Lawyers offer legal advice to clients or represent individuals and businesses in legal matters.

What is a lawyer's work environment?

Lawyers generally work in offices. These professionals may also work within courtrooms representing their clients.

What are some lawyer’s career opportunities?

Lawyers are employed by Government, academia, the private sector, and Non-Governmental Organizations among other areas.

Typical areas of employment include; law firms, advocacy organizations, banking institutions, government departments, commercial firms, among other wide range of businesses. With industry experience, graduates lawyers can also opt to start their own law consultancy practice and related services.

How to become a lawyer in Kenya

High school subject selection

To pursue a career as a lawyer, you will require good performance in the following cluster subjects.

  1. Subject 1 ENG/ KIS,
  2. Subject 2 MAT A / MAT B or any GROUP II,
  3. Subject 3 any Group III,
  4. Subject 4 Any GROUP II or 2nd GROUP III or any GROUP IV or any GROUP V, (source; JAB/ Kuccps).

Candidates should have at least a B (plain) in ENG/ KIS.

Education and Training Routes

If you work hard and score good grades in the above subject’s combination with an overall, KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above, you can pursue this career directly in the university (academic route).

However, if you do not qualify for direct university admission for this career option, you can still pursue it through a different route (technical route). Under the technical route, you will pursue a diploma course that can help or enable you further your education and become a lawyer.

So what course(s) can you pursue in either route and eventually become a lawyer?

Academic route

  1. Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or similar course(s)

Technical route

  1. An approved diploma in a relevant discipline

Some important skills to have

  1. Analytical skills
  2. Self-confidence
  3. Interpersonal skills
  4. Communication skills
  5. Problem-solving skills
  6. Technical skills
  7. Listening skills among others

Best Universities In Kenya To Study Law

Consider these institutions if you want to study law in Kenyan universities:

1. Strathmore University School of Law

Strathmore ranks among the top law universities in Kenya. In 2017’s edition of the annual bar examinations, this school registered the most exemplary performance. As other universities in Kenya earned a pass rate going as low as 10 percent, scholars here recorded the highest pass rate of 66 percent.

What’s more, the school was among the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Law contest participants. Catherine Penda, Mishael Wambua, and Maleehah Khandwalla won the John H Jackson Moot Court, beating colleagues from Harvard University. They were the first group from Africa to achieve this feat. Furthermore, they were also the youngest winners.

As the best private university in the country, This should be one of your most preferred choices to study law in a Kenyan institution.

2. The University of Nairobi School of Law

The University of Nairobi School of Law was instituted in 1970 for Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) training programs. Throughout this period, the institution has achieved numerous accolades and has produced some of Kenya’s most brilliant lawyers.

The school also teaches Ph.D. programs and Masters, producing some of the best graduates in the profession. What’s more, it is the best university in the East and Central African region, followed by Makerere University in Uganda.

Include this university as a key option when seeking a school of law admissions.

3. Kenyatta University School of Law

The KU branch is in Parklands, along Chemilil road, in the capital city’s idyllic suburbs. Its location offers students a secure and serene environment ideal for living and learning. Furthermore, it can be easily accessed by both private and public means considering the close proximity to the CBD.

The institution first opened its doors on 12 May 2008 for its first 124 students, but it was until the 27th of November 2009 that it was officially launched in a colourful ceremony. Up to date, it has produced numerous successful lawyers, placing it among the best universities to study law in Kenya.

4. Mount Kenya University School of Law

MKU School of Law was established in 2009 but had to wait for an extra two years before it was granted provisional accreditation. The institution aims to produce highly competent graduates across different fields in the legal profession, and their efforts have been fruitful.

Last year, Former Attorney General Githu Muigai instituted a task force for assessing how students at the Kenya School of Law did. Interestingly, MKU was the best performing private university producing professionals with peak qualifications.

With this in mind, it will not be hard for you to seek their admission form.

5. JKUAT School of Law

JKUAT School of Law cannot miss among the best Law schools in Kenya. It is at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Karen Campus. Located off Bogani Road in one of the city’s major leafy suburbs and it's ACE Building is in a serene environment ideal for effective study.

The institution has a moot court, internet-supplied well-furnished classrooms, a computer room, and other outstanding features that characterize the country’s finest.

Other Universities For Law Degree In Kenya

For an institution to be licensed, it has to follow the accreditation procedure as outlined in Part 2 of Legal Education (Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations, 2016. Here are all the institutions in the country that have gone through the subsequent licensing steps or have already applied, as per the CLEpublication on 18th June 2019:

1. Institutions Offering Bachelor of Laws

  • Kisii University
  • Daystar University
  • University of Embu
  • Mt. Kenya University
  • Strathmore University
  • Kenyatta University
  • Catholic University Easter Africa
  • Riara University
  • Jomo Kenyatta University
  • University of Nairobi
  • Egerton University
  • University of Nairobi
  • Kabarak University

2. Diploma in Law

  • Mt. Kenya University – Parklands Campus
  • Kisii University

3. Application for Renewal of License

  • University of Nairobi – Parklands Campus
  • Africa Nazarene University

4. Application for Licensing

  • Kenya School of Law – Paralegal Studies
  • Kenya Institute of Management – Law and Management

Licensing for Bachelor of Laws LL.B.

  • Moi Unversity
  • Chuka University
  • UMMA University (Law and Sharia)

Licensing for Masters of Law LL.M.

  • Strathmore University

What About The Kenya School Of Law?

This is the country’s only bar school. Once you are done with your undergraduate degree in law from any of the recognized institutions above, you will have to come here to prepare for your admission to the Kenyan Bar.

KSL was established in 1963, and it was the country’s first and only law vocational training institution. But with time, more universities in East Africa established their faculties of law, hence there was a need to change the training is offered. As a result, KSL was re-established in 1995 with a new aim of offering the Advocates Training Program.

Whether you wish to acquire an online law degree in Kenya or to attend classes full-time, you have a variety of schools to choose from. Most of these institutions also offer part-time law degrees in Kenya, hence you have different options to further your studies in law.

Which ones do you find to be the best universities to study law in Kenya? Kindly share your views in the comments section below.

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