Soft launch of Pro Bono Institute of Kenya


On Friday 28th of April, 2023,  Pro Bono Institute of Kenya was soft launched at Strathmore University. The institute has been established to facilitate access of legal services for those who cannot otherwise access or afford aid. It connects civil society organizations and law firms to unique pro bono cases that cannot access such services due to economic constraints.  It will also provide an opportunity for law students across the country to volunteer and gain hands-on experience with well established lawyers and firms. The institute’s intended function aligns with the University’s pillar of service to society by providing assistance to those in greatest need.

The introduction of the Pro Bono Institute of Kenya marks an exciting beginning for all law students across the country who will participate in the institute’s activities. A variety of partnerships across the legal industry will be utilized by the unique approach that the institute creates, which is bringing together a round table for access to  information. This will be achieved through a network of lawyers and pro bono declaration. “Today marks the beginning of a very exciting journey for many of us – law students in all the universities across Kenya who will have an opportunity to participate in the activities in the institute. As a global network, we hope to establish  a consortium of clearing houses across africa. It is an initiative that goes beyond Strathmore University and Kenyatta University,” said -Wambui Njohu, Lecturer and Coordinator of the Legal Aid Clinic, Kenyatta University.

The key-note address by Jackie Kibosia, Principal magistrate at Milimani Law Courts, was on the value of effective collaboration in strengthening access to justice and economic empowerment programs. She started by narrating her journey in the legal industry, which she began as a volunteer 23 years ago working pro bono cases in Nakuru for juveniles. In 2010, when the Kenyan constitution was changed, she volunteered to visit prisons across Kenya for a period of one year to provide civic education to the prisoners concerning the new changes.

In her experience, the main challenge in Kenya pro bono advocates is the demand for payment after services. “Pro Bono pays,” she stated, meaning that your work is seen and rewards will  eventually come. “Every Lawyer taking up Pro Bono cases should be willing and be passionate to work these cases because they deal with people’s lives and freedom.”

However, the nature of Pro Bono has been transformed by leveraging technology to seek justice. Court readings can now be done online and this has played a critical role in enhancing  access to justice.

Progressively, the Institute has served as an intermediary between the government and non governmental organizations, optimization of the services of lawyers, risk management, data provision services, training, collaboration,and visibility of firms.

Present in the panel and among founding members of PBIK during the soft launch were: T&O Advocates, Kaplan & Stratton, Social Justice League, and Center for Domestic Training and Development (CDTD) who discussed the value of collaborative approaches: A Beneficiaries and Providers practical experiences and perspectives. Their experience in the institute has been impressive because they get to engage in several projects and have resources provided by PBIK. However, there remain gaps to address, including cultural dimensions  within Kenyan communities, litigation, and the research element (data).

The challenge has been communication, specifically the intermediary role and own profit making venture advice. To ensure quality is observed, it is necessary to: establish  standard operating procedures for service delivery, collaborate with organizations and firms, encourage personal responsibility in providing legal assistance, engage reputable and seasoned practitioners in the institution, implement a co-council model, and ensure quality assurance through PR review. Following the launch of PBIK, the next step is to expand the reach of pro bono by extending its services to rural areas.


This article was written by Louise Akinyi, a third year Communications student.

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