Lawyer Donald Kipkorir faults committee’s final list of senior counsels

Lawyer Donald Kipkorir faults committee’s final list of senior counsels
BRIAN WASUNA

By BRIAN WASUNA
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Nairobi lawyer Donald Kipkorir has demanded the panel responsible for selecting lawyers to Senior Counsels club not to forward its list to the President before he appeals his exclusion.

The lawyer has written to the committee, faulting it for overlooking gender and regional balance, and allegedly favouring criminal lawyers over commercial litigators in the final shortlist.

Mr Kipkorir has also questioned the committee’s decision to go against the tradition of conferring sitting Attorney-Generals (AGs), Directors of Public Prosecutions (DPPs) and Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Presidents with the title.

The tradition would have seen AG Mr Kihara Kariuki, DPP Noordin Haji and LSK President Allen all given the prestigious title.

Aside from the prestige in the name, lawyers conferred with the title also get priority in court as their matters are heard first even if they had been listed last.

Members of the exclusive club also get to sit in the middle of the front-most pew in court, at times getting a special corner within the courtroom.

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Among the 24 successful candidates this time round were former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, former cabinet minister Martha Karua, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Dorcas Oduor, renowned lawyers Kiragu Kimani, Kioko Kilukumi, Judy Thongori, Fred Ngatia and Wilfred Nderitu.

The committee overlooked 66 applicants, and their shortlist has not come without criticism from a section of practitioners.

Since last week, several lawyers have raised queries on the rejection of some applicants, whom they believe have contributed more to the legal profession than a section of the successful candidates.

Mr Kipkorir has also faulted the committee for overlooking lawyers whose work has earned their firms global recognition.

Conferment as Senior Counsel in Kenya is the highest honour a lawyer can achieve locally, and is equal to the Queen’s Counsel title in the United Kingdom.

To qualify for the title, a lawyer must have argued at least 10 High Court cases and five Supreme Court or Court of Appeal cases among other requirements.

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