The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm S. Forbes
I am a senior 6 graduate and unlike many students, I opted to take a year off to ensure that the LLB course I have always intended to study is indeed the right course for me, to ensure that my passion lies within the desire to be involved in institutions that promote and secure social justice and to assure myself that later on in life I would have ambassadors that would help me establish myself in the legal profession.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have received an opportunity to intern with one of the most renowned and globally recognized law firms and one that is undoubtedly the best Insolvency practicing firm in Uganda. There was no moment during my eight months at the firm that I took for granted and I believe that it was for the betterment of me.
During my time working at the law firm, I encountered a lot of different personalities that I can confidently say contributed to the attributes I gained, the reshaping of my character, attitude and approach towards work given and engagements.
Resultantly, I began to see a significantly positive growth in my confidence, consistency and work ethic. I was able to gain a bit of insight into the vigour that lay within the legal profession and have knowledge of the essentiality of prioritising all clients’ work. I see that I am a more determined and outgoing individual. I find that my analytical and communication skills have vastly improved. Skills which are imperative for all successful lawyers
I also had the privilege of adding to my list of mentors and role models. They ranged from the Legal staff to the support staff that consisted of Systems Administrations and Human Resource. Many saw it in their best interest to guide me in the right direction as an aspiring lawyer. They mentored me on having the correct mentality towards the profession. They taught me that, although the success of the profession comes from running it as though it is a business so that Lawyers can offer fast paced and effective solutions to clients, I should always keep the Legal aspect at heart. They also taught me the importance of maintaining decorum amidst the many temptations the profession brought. From several interactions with the entire staff, I was taught that persistence and going out of my way to find work were crucial ways to gain recognition and enhance my knowledge and understanding of the legal profession.
For many years I have been a quiet and timid individual afraid of public speaking. My mentors re-iterated that confidence was a predominant and indispensable trait to have as a lawyer. Everyone in the law firm inspired me because they were all very cogent, determined and focused individuals and these attributes of theirs ignited in me a desire to achieve my full potential by always striving for the best and being ambitious regardless of the fact that I had not yet studied law. These mentors of mine, with persistence, successfully invoked in me a willingness to take bold risks and be as audacious as possible.
The nature of work I received also contributed to the lessons I learnt during my time working at the law firm. It was extremely open ended and required a lot of interactions and humility. It also made me realize that I would advantageously be ahead of my peers in terms of knowing legal procedures, jargons and how to run a successful law firm.
I would always be gripped with anxiety when a Partner came to me and requested that I “extracted a court order” from their court notes or when they asked me to write an update to the client, however, it was always a thrilling experience, one I am certain I will not get tired of. I wrote Demand Notices on behalf of clients, helped draft legal opinions for clients and participated in a lot of research in areas such as Microfinance Deposit-taking Institutions and Civil Aviation Regulations in order to help send clients opinions.
All in all, my experience at Ligomarc Advocates was one I have thoroughly enjoyed. I firmly believe that a well utilised gap year is one that is guaranteed to help individuals thrive in all their future endeavours. I do not regret the decision I made to take a year off before starting University because I find that in many aspects I have come out ahead of my peers. I am truly grateful to Ligomarc Advocates for making my experience memorable and I hope that I will have many more interactions with this audacious and extraordinary Law firm.
Article written by Hazel Sejjaaka