AMANDLA! WOMEN TO WATCH EDITION

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Anna Davis Chonjo

Partner, Rex Advocates

Why did you decide to study law?

I was persuaded to study law by my father because he believed the legal profession is one of the prestigious professions. He helped me fill in my university application forms and advised me to write “Bachelor of Laws” as my first, second and third choice of degree options just to show how serious I was about becoming a lawyer. I am forever grateful for having listened to my father because I cannot imagine myself in a different profession.

What is your proudest professional moment thus far?

The day I qualified and called to bar and when I was promoted to equity Partner at Rex Advocates.

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Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?

None that I can think of.

Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.

I was one of two female legal practitioners that worked on a project that involved a major regulatory review of business laws and regulations of a certain jurisdiction. The project involved collecting information and suggestions from stakeholders and government officials on proposed amendments to the respective laws and regulations. The journey to completion of this project was nowhere near easy as in that part of the world, a woman’s role is to stay at home and take care of the family. As a result, we experienced rejection and resentment from some of the interviewees. To be accepted as respectful consultants, we had to adopt the local dress code and mannerism we could marshal to get the job done. At the end, we won their hearts and I hope changed their perception on women’s ability to take part in daily social-economic activities.

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What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?

One needs to have a career path purpose and work hard towards achieving set goals.