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John Ohaga SC Scoops Kenya and Africa Top Arbitrator Accolades

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John M. Ohaga SC, Arbitrator of the Year Award Winner 2022 and Africa 20 Arbitration Powerlist 2022 Finalist

In the year 2022, Senior Counsel John M. Ohaga scooped the highest National and Continental Awards in Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and confirmed his peerless place among the top arbitrators in Kenya as well as Africa.  On one hand, the Managing Partner of TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP was feted by his peers as the Top Arbitrator in Kenya in the Year 2022 and awarded the most prestigious arbitration award by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch). On the other hand, the celebrated leading arbitrator was ranked among the Top 3 Arbitrators in Kenya by Chambers and Partners, among the Top 4 Arbitrators in Kenya by The Lawyer Africa and was one of the two Kenyan Arbitrators to make it to the list of the 20 most elite Arbitrators in Africa by the Africa Arbitration Academy.

First, Senior Counsel Ohaga was the winner of the Kenya’s Arbitrator of the Year 2022, the most prestigious and highest awards given to an Arbitrator at the CIArb (Kenya) Excellence in Arbitration Awards. The award was in recognition of Ohaga’s consistent contribution to ADR Practice as a leading arbitrator and arbitration counsel in the country and around the world. It is proof of the high regard the Senior Counsel is held by his colleagues and peers in the ADR fraternity for being one of the most experienced and sought after Arbitrators amongst the less than three dozen Chartered Arbitrators in Kenya (C.Arb) and as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). The Arbitrator of the Award 2022 came hot in heels of the Runner-Up ADR Practitioner of the Year Award at the Nairobi Legal Awards in 2021.

Second, Ohaga SC made it to the Second Edition of the Africa 20 Arbitration Powerlist 2022, the most exclusive and matchless listing of Arbitrators in the Africa continent. The list which is curated by the Africa Arbitration Academy in collaboration with Association of Young Arbitrators (AYA) and Africa Arbitration, Africa’s leading continent-wide arbitration institutions, recognizes the most elite arbitrators and leaders in ADR from across the continent. Senior Counsel Ohaga was one of the only two Kenyans to make it to the list confirming his place as the top arbitrator in Kenya. Ohaga is among the top crop of arbitrators from across Africa who maintained their place in the Powerlist even as it was trimmed from Top 30 Arbitrators (in 2020) to Top 20 Arbitrators (in 2022).

At the same time, Senior Counsel Ohaga as the TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP Co-Head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department led the team to scoop the top award in the category at the African Legal Awards 2022. The Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team Award is a testament of Ohaga and the firm’s expertise, commitment and excellence to providing quality representation in numerous complex litigation matters and high-value domestic and international arbitration proceedings. John Ohaga SC was also a finalist in the Partner of the Year Award 2022 at the same awards. He is also ranked in Band 1 in both Dispute Resolution Category and Arbitrators Category as one of the top 3 arbitrators in Kenya by world-renown Chambers and Partners.

At the global stage, John Ohaga SC was in October 2022 enrolled to the Panel of Arbitrators of International Centre of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), one of the most coveted arbitration panels in the world. He was also nominated as one of the Kenya Delegate to the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR at ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR. In effect, Ohaga joined the exclusive club of a handful of top-drawer arbitrators who are called upon to determine international arbitration matters between nations, or nations and international investors or among multinationals themselves. As a result, The Lawyer Africa put John Ohaga in the list of the Top 4 Arbitrators in Kenya in its list of Top 200 Kenyan Arbitrators in the Year 2022.

These accolades confirm John Ohaga SC as one of Kenya’s most accomplished and awarded dispute resolution expert in Kenya. In the last 32 years, John has handled numerous complex and precedent setting litigation matters, presided over high value domestic and international arbitration cases. He leads an outstanding elite team of some of Kenya’s most venerated and all-round dispute resolution practitioners as co-head of the dispute resolution practice at TripleOKLaw. He also stands out as the leader of one of Kenya’s most enduring and leading law firms for the last 25 years, steering it to Africa’s Top 50 law firms in 2022 at No. 39 with 44 lawyers.

John was conferred the rank and dignity of Senior Counsel, the highest level of professional recognition for lawyers, by the President of the Republic of Kenya in July 2020. He was named Kenya’s Lawyer of the Year in 2020 in the 3rd Edition of Nairobi Legal Awards in December 2020 and the Pupil Master of the Year in 2019 and 2021 as recognition of his commitment to mentoring young lawyers. He was one of the Top 50 Arbitrators in Africa by The Legal 500 in Arbitration Powerlist 2021: Africa. In 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2021, John was the winner of the International Law Office (ILO) Client Choice Awards (Litigation) in Kenya.

John is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Global 2022 as one of the Top 10 Outstanding lawyers in dispute resolution in Kenya and one who “displays an astute understanding of dispute resolution processes.” As a Chartered Arbitrator, John is considered one Kenya’s elite Arbitrators and sits on the CIArb Presidential Panel of Arbitrators. He is described by The Legal 500 as “a genuine leader in arbitration.” He has represented parties as counsel in several arbitration proceedings and acted in numerous disputes as either Party Appointed Arbitrator, Sole Arbitrator or Presiding Arbitrator.

Due to his passion for arbitration, John was appointed Chairperson of the National Steering Committee for formulation of the ADR Policy by the Attorney General of Kenya. He is also member of the Judiciary’s Mediation Accreditation Committee and Chair of its Accreditation Committee as well as a member of the Judiciary Taskforce on the Implementation of the Court-Annexed Mediation Programme. He has also been  the Convener of the Law Society of Kenya’s Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution and previously served as a board member of the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA).  He is Chairman of the Sports Disputes Tribunal, Chair of the Appeals Committee of the Advertising Standards Board and Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Kenya Branch).

John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Member of Law Society of Kenya, East African Law Society (which recently appointed him to lead its Arbitration Committee), International Bar Association, Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, International Council for Commercial Arbitration and International Association of Managing Partners.  He qualified as Member of the CIArb (MCIArb) in 2007, was admitted as Fellow of CIArb (FCIArb) in 2012, installed as a Chartered Arbitrator (C.Arb) in 2018 and Accredited as a CIArb Mediator same year. He holds a Certificate in Sports Arbitration from Kuala Lumpur Centre for International Arbitration (2017), a Certificate in Negotiation and Leadership from Harvard Law School (2019) and is pursuing an LLM in International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary, University of London.

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Njoki Mboce: I am Members Project for LSK President

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By Njoki Mboce for LSK President 2024-2026 Team

Today, LSK faces an existential threat from those who seek to compromise its mandate by aligning with the regime in ongoing attempts to undermine the place of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and erode the Rule of Law. This has the potential to regress the country to a state of impunity and dictatorship reminiscent of the past.

In such turbulent times, the LSK requires a leader who is resolute, decisive, and impartial. Harriet Njoki Mboce is this suitable leader, with a firm reputation, who will speak Truth to power in the face of encroaching dictatorship.

The actions of a candidate are a mirror of who they are, and what they will be in office. If a candidate wants the office at all costs, and abuses members’ trust to get there, they will have no integrity while in office. Harriet Njoki Mboce is unequivocally the LSK Members’ project. Boldly and firmly acting to defend Independence of the BAR, institutions, and the Rule of Law, she has maintained this commitment throughout her campaigns for President of LSK. This offers a strong basis to fearlessly champion members’ interests and protect the BAR from capture by the State and unscrupulous cartels.

Growing up, I dreamt of being a Navy Officer. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would one day be seeking the Presidency of an organisation previously led by impeccable names such as SC Gibson Kamau Kuria, SC Pheroze Nowrojee, SC Paul Muite, SC Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga (CJ Emeritus) and SC Raychelle Omamo, among others. It has taken resilience and a high dose of firm, and bold commitment to get here.

LSK requires a leader to withstand the pressure within and without, and to take the heat on behalf of the membership, whenever the Country and the Society’s living tenets come under threat. This resilience as a quality in the President of LSK enables me in a big way to see the wider horizon of the environment we operate in, to prepare for the storms and to boldly and firmly focus and act on our bigger mandate.

Come elections day, 29th February, 2024, I invite members to ask themselves: Which candidate shows real signs that they will not be corrupted, will run an accountable organisation and will sustain the moral and probity to place the LSK on a path of Independence? I humbly seek your vote to bring this desire home. Please vote for the Member’s project, Harriet Njoki Mboce, HSC for President of The Law Society of Kenya (2024-2026)

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Way Forward in Ensuring Just Transition in Climate Justice

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By Hon. Prof. Kariuki Muigua, OGW, PhD, C.Arb, FCIArb is a Professor of Environmental Law and Dispute Resolution at the University of Nairobi, Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration, Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Respected Sustainable Development Policy Advisor, Top Natural Resources Lawyer, Highly-Regarded Dispute Resolution Expert and Awardee of the Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) of Kenya by H.E. the President of Republic of Kenya. He is The African ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022, The African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, ADR Practitioner of the Year in Kenya 2021, CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and Author of the Kenya’s First ESG Book: Embracing Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) tenets for Sustainable Development” (Glenwood, Nairobi, July 2023) and Kenya’s First Two Climate Change Law Book: Combating Climate Change for Sustainability (Glenwood, Nairobi, October 2023), Achieving Climate Justice for Development (Glenwood, Nairobi, October 2023) and Promoting Rule of Law for Sustainable Development (Glenwood, Nairobi, January 2024)*

In order to embrace just transition, it is imperative to build a climate resilient and integrated sustainable energy sector in Africa and other regions which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It has been observed that Africa has rich energy and mineral resources including lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, copper, and rare earth minerals all of which provide new market opportunities for the green transition. This coupled with the Continent’s renewable energy potential means that Africa has the capacity to achieve just transition to an equitable and inclusive low-carbon future.

It has correctly been observed that Africa has immense potential for renewable energy including wind, solar, hydro, bioenergy, ocean tidal waves, geothermal among other renewables. It has been pointed out that in order to ensure delivery of global climate change mitigation goals, developing countries will need to drive investment towards building a renewable energy infrastructure that can serve their populations into the future and not drive further climate breakdown.

A just transition promotes the shift towards renewable sources of energy and sustainable practices, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating the impacts of climate change. It is therefore important for developing countries to embrace just transition by promoting renewable sources of energy in order to achieve climate justice and energy justice. It is also essential to integrate just transition initiatives in national climate action plans and adaptation plans.

It has been observed that the importance of just transition is increasingly being recognized by governments worldwide as they cite just transition principles in their short- and long-term climate plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Long-Term Strategies (LTSs). Embedding just transition strategies within short and long term climate plans like NDCs and LTS, can help governments stay focused on the urgent task at hand of rapid decarbonization, while also striving for fair and inclusive outcomes.

In Kenya, the National Climate Change Action Plan enshrines the principles of just transition and seeks to foster an equitable and inclusive climate response which ensures an electricity supply mix based mainly on renewable energy that is resilient to climate change and promotes energy efficiency; encourage the transition to clean cooking that reduces the demand for biomass; and reduced exposure and vulnerability of the country, and especially of the poor and vulnerable groups, to climate disasters and shocks. It is therefore necessary for countries to incorporate just transition initiatives in their NDCs and LTSs in order to achieve efficient climate outcomes. This will demonstrate commitment towards achieving climate justice while securing public support for ambitious and stronger climate action.

Further, there is need to unlock and align climate finance with the idea of just transition. It has been argued that governments have an obligation to mobilize sustainable, affordable, predictable and long-term finance from public and private, domestic and international sources, and aligning public and private financial flows and public procurement to the objectives of a just transition. According to the UNFCCC, increased climate finance is needed to effectively address the challenges and seize the opportunities of just transitions in country-specific and sector-specific pathways considering the local circumstances.

Climate finance has been identified as a key tool towards fostering climate justice since it recognizes the inequalities between countries with developing countries being the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and thus requiring financial resources to aid their mitigation and adaptation programmes86. It is therefore imperative for all countries and especially developing countries to unlock climate finance from multiple sources including public, private and multilateral sources in order to achieve just transition by addressing the socio-economic impacts of climate change and addressing climate inequalities more broadly through efficient mitigation and adaptation strategies.

In addition, it is necessary to embrace and enhance technology transfer between developed and developing countries in order to enhance the capacity of the former to later to embrace just transition. It has been pointed out that developing countries have vast renewable potential, but are unable to realize it as long as they are constrained by lack of access to green technologies. Without access to environmentally sound technologies, developing countries in particular least developed countries, will not be able to meet mitigation targets and will be forced to continue using carbon-intensive technologies resulting in climate and sustainability concerns.

Transferring low-carbon and green technologies to those most at risk of climate crisis is critical, among a range of other measures, to ensure that people can respond and adapt to the threat of climate change. Technology transfer can support the climate agenda in developing countries for energy and other sectoral transitions.

The Paris Agreement acknowledges the importance of technology for the implementation of mitigation and adaptation actions and urges countries to promote and facilitate enhanced action on technology development and transfer in order to support the implementation of the Agreement. It is thus pertinent for developed countries to promote transfer of low-carbon technologies including green technologies in developing countries in order to support climate action in such countries.

Developing countries should on the other hand remove barriers to green technology transfer including Intellectual Property barriers and revise bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that present a barrier to transfer initiatives. Finally, there is need to foster capacity building in order to effectively realize just transition. One of the key challenges in achieving climate justice through just transition has been identified to be inadequate national capacity on just transition initiatives.

Capacity building can strengthen individual and institutional capacities on just transition in key areas such as policymaking, cross-sectoral coordination, and stakeholder participation. It can further enhance the ability of the public to be involved in key decisions in the journey towards just transition. It has been pointed out that participation and engagement are crucial for achieving just sustainability transitions.

Capacity building is therefore integral in achieving just transition. It is thus necessary for all countries and especially developing states to strengthen their legal, institutional, technical, human, social and financial capacity in order to embrace just transition. The above among other measures are necessary in order to achieve equitable and inclusive just transition towards climate justice.

*This is an extract from the Book: Promoting Rule of Law for Sustainable Development (Glenwood, Nairobi, January 2024) by Hon. Prof.  Kariuki Muigua, OGW, PhD, Professor of Environmental Law and Dispute Resolution, Senior Advocate of Kenya, Chartered Arbitrator, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya), African Arbitrator of the Year 2022, Africa ADR Practitioner of the Year 2022, Member of National Environment Tribunal (NET) Emeritus (2017 to 2023) and Member of Permanent Court of Arbitration nominated by Republic of Kenya. Prof. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Prof. Kariuki Muigua teaches Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law, The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) and Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies. He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Prof. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates and Africa Trustee Emeritus of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 2019-2022. Prof. Muigua is a 2023 recipient of President of the Republic of Kenya Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) Award for his service to the Nation as a Distinguished Expert, Academic and Scholar in Dispute Resolution and recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Band 1 in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2024 and was listed in the Inaugural THE LAWYER AFRICA Litigation Hall of Fame 2023 as one of the Top 50 Most Distinguished Litigation Lawyers in Kenya and the Top Arbitrator in Kenya in 2023.

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Africa Union., ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa we Want.’ Available at https://au.int/sites/default/files/documents/33126- docframework_document_book.pdf (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

African Development Bank Group., ‘Just Transition Initiative to Address Climate Change in the African Context.’ Available at https://www.afdb.org/en/topics-andsectors/initiatives-partnerships/climate-investment-funds-cif/just-transitioninitiative (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

Climate Policy., ‘Just Transition and Climate Justice.’ Available at https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/tcpo20/collections/Just-Transition-andClimate-Justice (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

Colenbrander. S et al., ‘Using Climate Finance to Advance Climate Justice: The Politics and Practice of Channeling Resources to the Local Level.’ Climate Policy, 2017.

European Commission., ‘The Just Transition Mechanism: Making Sure no One is Left Behind.’ Available at https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities2019-2024/european-green-deal/finance-and-green-deal/just-transition-mechanism_en (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

European Environment Agency., ‘The Case for Public Participation in Sustainability Transitions.’ Available at https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/the-case-forpublic-participation (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

Giles, M., ‘The Principles of Climate Justice at CoP27.’ Available at https://earth.org/principlesofclimatejustice/#:~:text=That%20response%20should %20be%20based,the %20consequences%20of%20clim ate%20change (Accessed on 28/11/2023).

Government of Kenya., ‘National Climate Change Action Plan (Kenya): 2018-2022.’ Nairobi: Ministry of Environment and Forestry (2018)., Available at https://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/8737.pdf (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

International Institute for Sustainable Development., ‘Rethinking Technology Transfer to Support the Climate Agenda.’ Available at https://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/guest-articles/rethinking-technology-transfer-to-supportthe-climate-agenda/ (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

International Labour Organization., ‘Frequently Asked Questions on Just Transition.’ Available at https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/greenjobs/WCMS_824102/lang–en/index.htm (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

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Kemei. N., ‘Navigating the Path of Just Transition: Kenya’s Sustainable Future.’ Available at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/navigating-path-just-transitionkenyas-sustainable-future-naomikemei/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_android&utm_campaign=share _via (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

Lee. S., ‘Unpacking Just Transition: What is it and How Can We Achieve it in Africa?.’ Available at https://climatepromise.undp.org/news-and-stories/unpacking-justtransition-what-it-and-how-can-we-achieve-itafrica?gad_source=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7ufGuYrpggMVboVoCR2gtAn3EAAYASAAE gL8VvD_BwE (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

McCauley. D., & Heffron. R., ‘Just Transition: Integrating Climate, Energy and Environmental Justice.’ Energy Policy., Volume 119, 2018, pp 1-7.

Monica. T & Bronwyn. L., ‘Community Lawyering and Climate Justice: A New Frontier.’ Alternative Law Journal (47) 3 pp 199-203.

Muigua. K., ‘Achieving Sustainable Development, Peace and Environmental Security.’ Glenwood Publishers Limited, 2021.

Muigua. K., ‘Fostering Climate Justice for Sustainable Development.’ Available at https://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Fostering-Climate-Justice-forSustainable- Development.pdf (Accessed on 28/11/2023).

Newell. P., ‘Toward Transformative Climate Justice: An Emerging Research Agenda.’ WIREs Climate Change., Volume 12, Issue 6 (2021).

Oxfam., ‘Climate Justice.’ Available at https://www.oxfam.org.au/what-wedo/climate-justice/ (Accessed on 28/11/2023).

Partnership for Action on Green Economy., ‘Argentina’s Capacity Building on Green Jobs and Just Transition.’ Available at https://www.un-page.org/news/argentinascapacity-building-on-green-jobs-and-just-transition/ (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

Ramsey County., ‘On climate justice: Climate Change and Environmental Justice.’ Available at https://www.ramseycounty.us/content/climate-justice-climate-changeand-environmentaljustice#:~:text= Climate%20Justice%20is%20a%20subset,the%20impacts%20of%20cli mate%20change (Accessed on 28/11/2023).

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Smith. J., ‘Global Climate Justice Activism: “The New Protagonists” and their Projects for a Just Transition.’ Available at https://web.archive.org/web/20190429063257id_/http://dscholarship.pitt.edu/ 35560/1/Smith%20and%20Patterson%20Unequal%20Exchange%20Volume%20New%20Protagonists%2 0DScholarship.pdf (Accessed on 29/11/2023).

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Dr. Paul Ogendi AI Agenda for LSK Upcountry Representative

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Top Law Scholar and Practitioner Dr. Paul Ogendi, in race for LSK Upcountry Representative 2024-2026

Dear Esteemed Members of the Law Society of Kenya,

As your candidate for Up-Country Representative for the term 2024-2026, I am committed to advancing our legal profession and embracing the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI). Here are actionable steps to implement my agenda concerning AI in the legal sector:

1. Education and Awareness:

  • Organize workshops, webinars, and seminars to educate legal practitioners about AI technologies, their applications, and ethical considerations.
  • Collaborate with universities and legal institutions to integrate AI courses into legal education curricula.

2. Research and Development:

  • Establish a task force or committee focused on AI research within the Law Society.
  • Encourage legal professionals to explore AI tools for legal research, document review, and case prediction.
  • Foster partnerships with tech companies and research institutions to develop AI solutions tailored to legal needs.

3. Ethical Guidelines:

  • Develop clear guidelines for the responsible use of AI in legal practice.
  • Address concerns related to bias, transparency, and accountability in AI algorithms.
  • Promote adherence to professional ethics while leveraging AI tools.

4. Automating Routine Tasks:

  • Identify repetitive tasks (such as contract review, due diligence, and legal research) that can be automated using AI.
  • Invest in AI-powered tools to streamline administrative processes, allowing lawyers to focus on complex legal issues.

5. Legal Analytics and Predictive Modeling:

  • Encourage law firms and practitioners to adopt AI-driven analytics platforms.
  • Leverage predictive models to assess case outcomes, identify trends, and make informed decisions.

6. Client Services and Communication:

  • Implement AI chatbots for client inquiries, appointment scheduling, and basic legal advice.
  • Enhance communication channels through AI-driven tools to improve client satisfaction.

7. Data Security and Privacy:

  • Address data protection concerns by ensuring compliance with privacy laws.
  • Collaborate with cybersecurity experts to safeguard sensitive legal information processed by AI systems.

8. Collaboration and Networking:

  • Engage with other legal associations, tech communities, and government bodies to share best practices.
  • Attend AI conferences and forums to stay updated on advancements and network with industry experts.

Remember, our goal is not to replace lawyers but to empower them with AI tools that enhance efficiency, accuracy, and access to justice. Let us embrace this technological evolution while upholding the highest standards of legal practice.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Paul Ogendi,
Up-Country Representative 2024-2026
Law Society of Kenya.

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