The plan by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to establish an inspectorate to help weed out fake lawyers is a timely move. The LSK says it has presented a proposal to the National Assembly, which, if passed, will pave the way for the creation of the body.
The purpose is to stem a worrying trend in which crooks have conned fellow Kenyans in need of legal services out of their hard-earned money. In a further effort to lock out the quacks, the society has been publishing the status of all its members, listing lawyers who are dormant or inactive, suspended or have been struck off the Roll of Advocates.
But even as it does this, the LSK cannot be blind to the fact that within its ranks are rogue lawyers, who have similarly caused many innocent Kenyans a lot of suffering by failing to give value for the money clients pay for legal services.
A good number of registered and practising lawyers are also known to engage in gross malpractices without getting punished. Many have been accused of failing to remit money awarded by courts as compensation for road accident victims.
That many such lawyers escape without as much as a slap on the wrist by the society is unacceptable and an abuse of the rights of Kenyans. It is a fact that following such incidents, many victims have a not-so-flattering view of all lawyers, which is not good for a profession of such immense importance to the society.
As the LSK rolls out measures to tame the cheats, it must equally look inwards and deal firmly with the few rotten mangoes within its rank and file, and who spoil the good name of the legal profession.