Martin Maitha is a 26-year-old freelance lawyer. He also runs a blog called Obiter Dicter, which offers a “fresh perspective on Kenyan law”, as he puts it. In it, he explains aspects that we should be aware of as Kenyans, such as your rights as an employee and what could land you in court
1.What exactly does it mean to be a freelance lawyer? Does it mean you couldn’t find a job?
Ha! It means that I am like an Uber taxi, in the sense that I move around on demand, doing research mostly, handling a few briefs from various law firms, rarely going to court and therefore not having to wear stuffy suits, especially in this weather.
Though I look good in suits mind you. It does not mean I could not get a job. I had a job, but I felt it was time to explore a different path, and so I left.
2.You must have been truly dissatisfied…
I wanted to try something different. I think Kenyan law firms are still too traditional in their approach, particularly in litigation and conveyancing. Here, most firms practise in everything. In the developed world, they have boutique firms, like a specialised tax or IP law firm. They are starting to do that here too.
3.What’s your specialty?
Do I really have one? I would say legal research, although I’ve developed an interest in Media and ICT law, which entails components such as defamation and some elements of IP, for instance copyright.
4. Were you one of the students that said they wanted to be a lawyer, or a doctor, or an engineer?
The last thing I wanted to be was a doctor. And I don’t remember saying that I wanted to become a lawyer or engineer.
In fact, I once shocked my mum by jokingly saying, in the presence of nosey relatives, that I wanted to be a DJ.
I was actually pretty good at deejaying during my first year of law school! I however thought law was fascinating.
My aunt is a great inspiration; she’s been my role model and mentor for a long time. She worked at the AG’s office as State Counsel, and she’s now a judge.
5. If you did not become a lawyer, would you be a DJ now?
I think so. I would however have branched into music production, like Dr Dre, (American rapper and record producer).