AMANDLA! WOMEN TO WATCH EDITION
Rose Waithera Njoroge-Mbanya
Senior Partner, R.W. Mbanya &Co Advocates, Kenya.
Why did you decide to study law?
I wish that I could say that I studied law because I had a deep seated conviction to assist others access justice. The truth is that I acted in a school play in High school and was cast as a lawyer, the only words that I uttered in the entire play were "objection! your honor!" I loved my role and people said it suited me very well. Thus grew my interest in court litigation. With hindsight, I can confirm that I have always wanted to be a voice for the voiceless and to find solutions even in situations that seem complex.
What is your proudest professional moment thus far?
My proudest professional moment was when I was recognized in the category of 'Lawyer of the year 2019' at the Nairobi Legal Awards. It was unexpected and I was humbled and honored by the peer recognition. It reinforced my belief in honoring my client's story and bringing the best version of myself into every situation.
Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?
I would have undertaken my masters degree immediately after my undergraduate studies and before getting into family life. Undertaking my MBA program in 2018, whilst running the law firm, caring for my family, undertaking my various leadership roles was extremely exhausting!
Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.
In the past, as a young lawyer, the main professional challenge that I faced was lacking confidence and second guessing myself. Even when everyone around me told me that I was good at what I did, I could not fully believe them because I did not believe in myself. I have been able to surmount this challenge. The major challenge that I now face revolves around time and the need to maintain a healthy family /work life balance. Juggling a family, a law firm and the various leadership roles that I have, and wanting to excel in all of them can be a real challenge, I feel sometimes that there is never enough time.
What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?
Being true to yourself, knowing your strengths and competencies and how to use them to bring value to the profession and to your clients; knowing your weaknesses and how to mitigate them. Preparing well and being clear about the solution that is needed so that your energy is focused. Adopting a collaborative and not competitive stance with other colleagues in the profession, it is not a fight, it is a call to serve justice. Being confident and constantly reminding yourself that you have every right to have a seat at the table. Caring about your well being, keeping healthy by exercising, eating well and finding time for relaxation and meaningful relationships even outside the profession.