Oundo tips UCU law students on specialisation

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Oundo tips UCU law students on specialisation
ULS president Bernard Oundo

Oundo underlined the perpetual need for learning in the legal profession, setting the tone for a discourse focused on adaptation and growth.

By Thomas Kitimbo

Aspiring legal practitioners have been urged to differentiate themselves through specialisation and mastery to enhance their expertise and also increase their marketability and career prospects.

The call was made by the President of the Uganda Law Society (ULS), Bernard Oundo, during the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Law Society's Annual Dinner.

Oundo underlined the perpetual need for learning in the legal profession, setting the tone for a discourse focused on adaptation and growth.

“I must say that at the outset constant is that I have kept learning I'm still learning and will continue to learn," he said.

"That is indeed the nature of the legal profession."

With over 900 law firms and an expected influx of 10,000 lawyers in the country, he reminded the law students about a competitive market awaiting them.

“We are 5000 lawyers currently practicing in Uganda and if you look at the numbers at Law Development Centre (LDC) now and if you focus just on the last two years, you have had about an average of 1500 lawyers at LDC, about 1000 graduate every year,” Oundo said.

“Now when you look at those numbers, it means that in the next one or two years, you're going to have at least 10,000 lawyers in Uganda. So, what does that mean? It means there are several things you should pay attention to,”

Stressing the indispensability of technology in modern legal practice, he also urged students to familiarise themselves with emerging technologies.

“In other words, you can file your pleadings wherever you are, and they can be able to be received by the court. There is no longer that movement from here to court just to file pleadings," Oundo said.

"So, technology is going to be the focus area. As you live, please focus on technology. If you have not mastered a computer, please use the time between now and LDC to ensure that you have a computer."

Furthermore, he underscored the necessity of hard work and dedication, quoting Malcolm Gladwell's principle of 10,000 hours of practice for mastery.

Uganda Christian University's law society annual dinner

Diversification of career paths was encouraged, with Oundo urging students not to confine themselves to traditional law firms but to explore opportunities across various sectors.

“Some people think that legal practice is the only thing, you can join an NGO. You can join a non-government organization; you can join other places that require legal skills," he said.

I want you to understand, don't limit yourself. Don't think that you must go to a law firm or think that you must go to the attorney general's chambers. Don't think that you must go to the DPP. You can do so many other things using your legal skills. So, you need to understand that the legal LLB degree that you have just given you a foundation,”

Networking and alumni engagement were promoted as vital avenues for career development and support, with Oundo saying It is through social networks that the budding law practitioners will get business and interact with new people.

In a moving segment, Oundo called upon students to leverage their legal knowledge to advocate for justice and contribute to societal progress.

“Don't allow anybody to cause you to lose yourself respect to the point that you do not struggle for justice. However, young you are. You have a responsibility to seek to make your nation a better nation in which to live and so you must be involved in a struggle for freedom and justice,” Oundo urged.

He also underscored the importance of faith among the law students, noting that it must remain the bedrock and foundation, getting them to places.

“We are all here. I am here because of faith. Faith will get you to places where you cannot. So, it's important that you never forget your faith.” Oundo remarked.

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