Some Kenyan lawyers underpaid

December 30, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 30 – A group of lawyers led by LSK Council Member Evans Monari say they are concerned over low salaries paid to young lawyers employed in law firms in the country and want a minimum wage set.

Mr Monari who is contesting the chairmanship of the LSK said they were drafting a motion to be presented at the LSK Annual General Meeting scheduled for March where a resolution will be reached and an agreed minimum amount set.

“Young lawyers are exploited very much by their senior colleagues because of the loopholes in the law, and this are the loopholes we want to seal, but there are some other lawyers who are paid handsomely by their seniors so the ones who are underpaid are seeing this disparity yet they all went to the same law school,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Mr Monari told journalists that LSK member Muriuki Mugambi was drafting a motion to be tabled when the lawyer’s body holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March 2010 when they elect a successor to Okong’o Omogeni.

“We will come up with a minimum amount to be paid to the young lawyers employed in law firms so that they can be in a position to live a decent life,” he added.

Mr Monari said some firms were paying young lawyers as little as Sh10,000 “yet they do a lot of work for the law firms.”

“It is a sad state of affairs which has to be corrected.  Lawyers should earn reasonable salaries,” he said.

Mr Monari said they were also drafting a motion seeking to have five percent of Constituency Development Fund  money dedicated for legal aid.

“This will empower Kenyans and offer them the much sought after service that has been lacking for a long time,” he said and added that the provision if adopted, would help in creating employment for jobless young lawyers including those being exploited at law firms.”

He said the allocation would take the burden away from the MPs who each day receives constituents flocking their offices seeking money 
for legal aid.

Mr Monari said he had already discussed the matter with CDF chairman and Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro who has welcomed the proposal.

“In fact, we need to set up a directorate of Legal Aid under the Justice Ministry so that Kenyans who cannot afford a lawyer can enjoy the  services free,” he said.

He said such a body will be independent of the LSK and run by government through qualified lawyers who are members of LSK.


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