Annual Lawyers Conference 2015

Makerere Law Society hosted the Annual Lawyers Conference on the 29th of October, 2015 with a call on the new generation of lawyers to take up the many  opportunities emerging in the profession
During the event that was graced by Hon. Justice Remmy Kasule as chief guest, the students of law and other participants who turned up were informed that the world now is filled with opportunities that need to be tapped for professional growth.
In his opening remarks the Dr. Naluwairo Ag. Deputy Principal School of Law highlighted the importance of the lawyers’ conference as an opportunity for students to interact with notable alumni of the school of Law.

He commended Hon. Justice Kasule for making time as chief guest of the function saying that Hon Remmy Kasule has exemplified himself as a professional  and advised students to learn from him.

He also appreciated efforts of Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire the patron of Makerere Law Society for his relentless support to MLS Activities as well as the leadership of  Makerere Law Society for organizing the conference.

Hon. Justice Remmy Kasule in his keynote speech, said he was honored to be invited. He said he was among the pioneer students of law at its inception at Makerere University in the 1960s and founder of the Makerere Law Society when the then faculty of law was still a department at the Faculty of Social sciences. He mentioned some of the other pioneers who included Mrs. Vastina Rukirana, currently working with the Law Reform Commission Mr. Steven Nabeta, Mrs. Eva Mulira, Ms Mary Twanza D. Isabirye, Prof. Phillip Iya and the current Chief Justice of Rwanda.

While referring to the theme of the event “The law as a tool for societal transformation”, reflecting on the 20 years of The 1995 Constitution of The Republic of Uganda: Gains and Challenges, Mr. Kasule asserted that the law is both power and peril, explaining that the law constitutes justice while on the other hand it can be used to promote inequality. He cited the example of the 1967 Detention Act that vested in the Government the power to detain an individual without

He called on lawyers to rally against bad laws, and also called for inclusion of customary law in our justice system just like Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. He advised lawyers to avail their services to rural areas as well as providing free legal services by joining legal aid campaigns.

He urged the students to use the knowledge they have even when still in law school to offer legal advice to people in the communities citing the example of advising widows to seek help from the Administrator general’s office whenever faced with injustices. Another example cited where the students can be of help is in the face of tortured where the affected persons can be referred to the Inspector General of Police or in case one’s human rights are violated they could be directed to the Human Rights Commission.

Students were asked to become a part of legal aid clinics and justice centers in a bid to build skills like capacity to interview a client. They were also cautioned not to focus on getting money but on how to sharpen their skills and other qualities required of a lawyer.
Ms. Alice Namuli while talking about the topic of The Legal Profession: Contemporary opportunities, diversity and the new fields of Law deliberated on the future of Legal Practice, Cross border practice; international and global legal practice, Embracing new Technology as well as Alternative Dispute Resolution as some of the available opportunities available for the lawyers of today that the students should take advantage of.

She said students need to develop skills in like Working Strategically for instance identifying client needs as well as looking out for interests of their partners, think Globally  by learning international best practice, Effective communication, understanding new technologies among others. She also pointed out the need for Networking. She further urged lawyers to build relationships and utilize on social media which is now widely used as well as mediation and arbitration as the new trends of Alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Diversity was also encouraged as one of the ways to reap benefits from the legal profession as a barrister, solicitor, politician etcetera.

Counsel Ssebuguzi encouraged Makerere Law Society to network with other Law schools and in future invite them for such conferences. He stressed the fact that the law is evolving at a very fast rate and that students should tune themselves up to embrace changing trends. He informed members present that as a lawyer one is the last line of defense for the law and its application.

He further alluded to contemporary opportunities in the Legal arena that are are very extensive and on the global scale include; Banking law, Power law, Corporate Law, Insurance Law, Discrimination and equality law, Art and Culture law, Intellectual and Entertainment Law, Cybercrime Law, Mining Law, Immigration Law, Technology Law, Franchising Law among other practicing areas and urged members to diversify their interests following global trends and expertise in Law.   

Among the insights he shared about global trends was that practice has been split into sector oriented and area oriented. Sector oriented practice is what generates business i.e. Banking and Finance, Energy, Agriculture oil and gas and Area oriented is what Feeds into the sectors i.e. Immigration and emphasized that contemporary law is aimed towards business development.

As a word of advice to students in conclusion he said that a law student must know the law, understand what the clients want, know his opponents and know your judge.

In her presentation Prof. Sylvia Tamale highlighted the flaws that exist in some of the contemporary Ugandan legislation against women, on this she alluded to laws like the anti-pornography act popularly known as the mini-skirt law which deprives women of their fundamental right to express themselves.

The HIV Prevention and Control act which criminalizes transmission and attempted transmission for instance in a situation of vertical transmission the woman becomes a perpetrator.

Sex work as commerce under the penal code act, the morality clause, prostitution is criminalized and because women are the notorious donors who mostly engage in the commercial activity.

Others speakers included Ms. Alice Namuli from Katende Sempebwa Company Advocates who represented the President Uganda Law Society, the Deputy Principal School of Law Dr. Ronald Naluwairo, Prof. Sylvia Tamale from School of Law and Mr. Ssebugenyi Mukasa an advocate also a partner at Sebalu and Lule Company Advocates and Nicholas Opio among others.