The Faculty of Law had the distinct honor of hosting the Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) of the Republic of Kenya, Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu, for a public lecture on "Navigating the Legal Profession: Pathways to Excellence" on Friday, May 24th. The prestigious event was organized by the University of Nairobi Law Students Professional Association (UONLSPA).

The Dean of the Faculty of Law warmly welcomed the DCJ, lauding her remarkable achievements, including over 38 years of experience in the legal profession. The Dean highlighted Lady Justice Mwilu's unwavering commitment to championing women's rights and empowerment, both overtly and by setting an exemplary example through her professional achievements and overcoming systemic barriers.

Jacqueline Waihenya, the Chairperson of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Ciarb), represented the Patron, Dr. Wayne Mutuma, and delivered remarks on his behalf. She expressed delight in witnessing such a diverse gathering of minds united by a shared pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

In her keynote address, the Deputy Chief Justice imparted invaluable wisdom and advice to the aspiring lawyers in the audience. She emphasized the importance of patience, hard work, and integrity, urging them not to let their success be defined solely by financial gains. "Your success will be measured by how you have kept fidelity to your principles, not by the content of your bank account or your popularity or notoriety," she stated.

Lady Justice Mwilu implored the young people to "discard the 'pop' attitude of instant gratification and avoid shortcuts," stressing that "hard work and integrity will always be the foundation of a comfortable, dignified, and fulfilled life."

The DCJ reminded the students of their crucial role as justice champions in their communities, emphasizing that access to justice should not be the preserve of the few. She encouraged them to explore avenues such as legal clinics, legal aid, pro bono services, and litigation in the public interest to ensure accessible justice for all.

Furthermore, Lady Justice Mwilu emphasized the importance of constitutionalism, stating that the Constitution should serve as the moral compass for jurists. She highlighted the national values, principles of governance, leadership and integrity provisions, and the values and principles of public service as ineluctable minimums for their character as jurists.

The Deputy Chief Justice expounded on the Judiciary's Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ) institutional blueprint, urging judges and magistrates to view themselves not merely as adjudicators but as justice promoters, connectors, and facilitators.

In conclusion, Lady Justice Mwilu encouraged the students to remain adaptive and innovative beyond their academic life, urging them to embrace change and exploit opportunities while remaining grounded in the law's emancipatory purpose.

The public lecture was well-received by the students, who actively participated and engaged in dynamic discussions, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas. The event served as an invaluable source of inspiration and guidance for the future generation of legal professionals, thanks to the esteemed presence and wisdom of the Deputy Chief Justice.