Law is one of the best paying careers in Kenya. There are many lawyers making over Ksh 2 million every month representing clients in legal issues and offering legal advise. As such, starting a law firm is a profitable venture. However, it takes good planning, hardwork and law experience with the Kenyan law to run a profitable law firm. In this article, I will take you through the process of starting a law firm in Kenya.
The Process of Becoming a Lawyer in Kenya
To become a lawyer in Kenya, you need to complete secondary school education and then enroll for a law degree in a recognized university. It takes 5 years to complete a degree in Law. Once you graduate with a degree in Law, you can proceed to the Kenya School of Law for a diploma in Law. It takes 3 years to complete the diploma course.
After graduating from the Kenya School of Law, you get admission to the bar. This is where you are issued with a certificate of practice. With a certificate of practice, you can offer legal advice and represent clients in courts. You get experience as you continue practicing law.
Read also: How to start a consultancy firm in Kenya.
Requirements for Starting a Law Firm in Kenya
You need to meet the following requirements to start a law firm in Kenya.
- Have a letter of no objection from the Law Society of Kenya
- Have a diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law
- Have a degree in Law from a recognized university
- Have a practicing certificate
Choose an Area of Practice
The legal profession is wide and therefore, you need to decide on an area of practice. It is best that you focus on the area you are qualified or one you have studied. It is easy to build a name by specializing in a particular area instead of practicing in the general law.
Some of the practice areas in law include:
- Criminal law
- Business law
- Labour law
- Intellectual property law
- Family law
- Constitutional law
Register your Law Firm
You need to register your law firm to be authorized to operate. First, you need to register a business name. You can book and register a business name on the eCitizen portal.
You can register your law firm as a:
- Sole proprietorship. If you wish to start the business alone, you will register it as a sole proprietorship. It will cost you Ksh 1,000.
- Partnership. You can opt to start a law firm with some partners and it will cost you Ksh 25,000 to register.
- Limited Liability Company. You can register the law firm as separate legal entity from its owners. It will cost you Ksh 25,000.
Read more: Best law firms in Kenya.
Get a Letter of No Objection from the Law Society of Kenya
You must get approval from the law society of Kenya to establish a law firm and start offering legal services. You need to get a letter of no objection from the Law Society of Kenya. It is among the documents that you need to submit when registering a law firm in Kenya.
Register your Business with Kenya Revenue Authority
You need to register your law firm with the KRA for taxation. If you registered the law firm as a sole proprietorship, you can use your personal KRA Pin.
If you registered it as a partnership or a limited liability company, then you need to use a different pin. The sole reason for registering with KRA is to make sure that you pay taxes from your revenues.
Identify a Business Location
You need to find a suitable business location for your law firm where you can easily get clients. A law firm is best suited in administrative towns where there are courts and government offices. For instance, you can establish your law firm in towns hosting county headquarters and law courts.
Read also: How to start a car dealership business.
Launch Your Law Firm
Once you have everything in place, the other thing is to launch the law firm. This is opening doors to clients. You need to set up an office where clients can visit to get legal advice or to seek legal services.
Come up with a price structure for legal services you will be offering. You need to furnish the office and have files to store your client’s documents. You can offer the following services in your law firm.
- Preparation of documents
- Administration of oaths
- Arbitration and representing clients in courts
- Consultation for legal advice
Cost of Starting a Law Firm in Kenya
The cost of starting a law firm depends with the services you will be offering, business location and its size. A significant portion of the startup capital goes into setting up an office, registering a law firm and getting licenses. Ultimately, a law firm is a profitable venture in Kenya.