How to Become a Lawyer in Kenya – 2020


    This article contains information on how to become a lawyer in Kenya in 2020. Lawyers offer legal advice to clients or represent individuals and businesses in legal matters. A lawyer is a person who is licensed to practice law and whose main obligation is to uphold the law as well as protecting the rights of their clients.

    Lawyers are tasked with offering legal advice to clients as well as representing them in legal matters.

    How to Become a Lawyer in Kenya - 2020


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

    Typically, the areas of employment include;

    Law firms, advocacy organisations, banking institutions, government departments, commercial firms, among other wide range of businesses. With industry experience, a law graduate can also opt to start law consultancy practice and related services.

    Some important skills to have as a Lawyer includes;

    • Analytical skills
    • Self-confidence
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Communication skills
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Technical skills
    • Listening skills among others.

    Oftentimes, students rush in to study law without enough information and sometimes the consequences of this is usually a costly one. As a young man or woman who desires to study law, it is pertinent to make research to know what it takes to become a professional Lawyer.

    The aim of this article is to make such Information handy to such individuals. Hence, this article is centred on how to become a lawyer in Kenya. As one who desires to become a legal practitioner, it is important to bring to your understanding that being a legal practitioner in Kenya is beyond having a degree in law. In other words, having a law degree from a University is not all there is to legal practice.

    The first distinction that should be taken into consideration is the difference between a lawyer and an advocate. A lawyer is a person that has successfully completed an LLB degree, on the other hand, an advocate is a person who has attained admission to the bar.

    So there is a striking difference between a lawyer and an advocate. As a bonus Information, at the end of this article you will get to know why it is important to go beyond just becoming a lawyer but before then, how can you become a lawyer in Kenya?

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

    • Subject 1 ENG/ KIS,
    • Subject 2 MAT A / MAT B or any GROUP II,
    • Subject 3 any Group III,
    • Subject 4 Any GROUP II or 2nd GROUP III or any GROUP IV or any GROUP V

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

    Ensure you pass your KCSE exams. Score at least B plain in KCSE. The minimum grade required for a law degree in Kenya is normally B plain with at least C+ in English. This grade will ensure you proceed to pursue a Law degree.

    Training Routes

    Depending on your performance in KCSE there are basically two routes in which one can become a lawyer. The academic and technical route.

    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.

    Thus, completing your Secondary school education with good grades as mentioned above is the first step of becoming a lawyer


    The second step is to enrol for a Law degree. At this stage, there are two ways of pursuing law in Kenya, you can join any university as a regular or parallel student. To join as a regular student, especially in government universities, you have to obtain at least an A- in KCSE while parallel students are required to have scored at least a C+ generally. During course selection, it might be tough to be selected as a government-sponsored student because of the high competition for the course. If you miss this chance, you can opt for a parallel option. The course takes 5 years. Upon graduating at this stage you have become a law degree holder LLB which makes you a lawyer.

    In Kenya, stopping at having a University degree isn’t just enough. A law degree is useless without it being buttressed by a diploma from the Advocates Training program(ATP). This is because most legal jobs will need a person to be an advocate of the high court as a basic requirement, which cannot be attained without passing through the Kenya School of Law.

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    Attending a law accredited university is not the only requirement needed for admission to the bar program. Prospective students wishing to join Kenya School of Law (KSL) will have to undergo the Pre-Bar program, a benchmark test that looks to test lawyer’s aptitude in the core areas of law with a pass mark of 50 percent in order to be eligible for admission to the program.

    Upon meeting all the above-mentioned requirements KSL (Kenya School of Law) begins.

    While at Law School, students are accessed in  three basic ways;

    • Group Project Work (20 Percent)
    • Oral Examinations (20 Percent)
    • Written Examinations (60 Percent).

    Group work is done in firms which are delineated at the beginning of the academic year.

    The next form of assessment is an oral examination in which grading is purely at the discretion of the examiner. In this category, a student will be assessed on a number of factors ranging from; Content, Confidence, Etiquette, Presentation, Dress code, etc.

    It is a ten-minute interrogation of a student to ascertain if the student truly understood what has been taught in both undergraduate and KSL and most times no amount of studying or reading is sufficient because questions are randomly selected. The last form of assessment is the written examination, composed of 9 exams sat in 9 days in all the units taught at KSL. Subsequent to completing the theoretical section of KSL, a student will need to undertake a further 6 months of pupillage at either a law firm or an accepted institution such as KPMG, PWC in order to complete the bar program.

    Kenya School of law is a highly expository process which will expose students to the realities of legal practice. The most important thing about KSL lies in the difference in what was taught at the undergraduate level and what a student is exposed to at the bar.

    Exams at the Kenya School of Law are tough, tougher than the exams in universities. Most students give up at this stage.

    Thus, getting through KSL is a mixture of diligence and perseverance and is the biggest hurdle one faces in transition between being a lawyer and becoming an Advocate.

    Join Kenya School of Law for a Diploma in Law. Once you complete your degree course, you are supposed to join Kenya School of law for a Diploma course failure to which you won’t be allowed to practice law. This course takes one year.

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    This is the final step. After graduating from Kenya School of Law, you will be issued with a certificate of practice after which you become an advocate of the High Court.

    Universities Offering Law Courses in Kenya and Year of Accreditation

    The universities so far accredited to offer Law courses are;

    • University of Nairobi(2010)
    • Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (2010)
    • Mount Kenya University (2011)
    • Catholic University of East Africa (2012)
    • African Nazarene University (2011)
    • Kabarak University (2011)
    • Kisii University,
    • Kenyatta University
    • Strathmore University.

    Institutions approved to offer Diploma in Law Programme

    • Kenya School of Law, Karen Campus (2011)
    • Riaria School of Law (2012)
    • Daystar University School of Law.
    • Nairobi Institute of Business Studies  Nairobi Campus (2011)

    Salaries Of Lawyers In Kenya

    As a lawyer, you can decide to do private practice, work for a law firm, become a company lawyer or work for the government. Despite the numerous options, it’s always advisable to work for a law firm for two years before you start your own firm as this will ensure you know how to handle cases, from the least challenging cases to the high profile ones. Thereafter, you can start your journey into private practice.

    However, the average monthly salary of a lawyer in Kenya is Ksh 103,000 for government employees and Ksh 135,000 for company lawyers. Those in private practice can make up to Ksh 10 million per month or as little as Ksh 20,000 per month depending on the cases they handle.


    In conclusion, for you to pursue a degree in Law as a self-sponsored student, you have to score at least a B+ grade in KCSE and B plain in English language. Parallel students require at least a C+ in KCSE general grade and a C+ in English.

    Before you join college for a Law degree, you should know that not all universities are accredited to offer a degree/diploma in Law. In other words, your degree can be useless if you don’t enrol for this course at an accredited university. Hence, it’s wise to confirm which universities are accredited to offer a law degree program.

    If you decide to join any of the listed universities as a parallel student, you have to set aside Ksh 1.5 million for undergraduate studies.

    If you join the University of Nairobi, you will be required to have at least Ksh 1000,000 for the entire course. Other universities, which include Mount Kenya University, Catholic University and Kabarak University will charge you between Ksh 100,000 to Ksh 200,000 per semester.

    Law degree is rewarding and one of the few careers with numerous job opportunities in Kenya, but before the rewards start rolling in, you as an aspiring lawyer have a role to play. Becoming a lawyer is not so tedious if you truly desire to be one.

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