President's Message

Learned Colleagues,

Happy New Year and I welcome you back from the Holidays.

As your Executive Council, we have under three (3) months to complete our term of service. We will therefore focus on a few things together with the teams at the Secretariat to work on mainly four areas; 1) review of the strategic plan, 2) mediation in the Courts, 3) UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and 4) Annual Conference and AGM.
The consultants that are helping us create our strategic plan for 2017 – 2019 will assist us re-evaluate where we are going as a Bar Association, how we will get there and how we will know that we have arrived. They will obtain both internal and external feedback, including from you our members to gauge your satisfaction with your Society and what improvements can be made to ensure we run a 21st Century Bar Association. Your feedback together with that of our partners and the public will help us to assess our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) all of which will shape our strategic plan.

In order to sharpen our support to the Courts and how they function, we will focus on seeing that mediation works more efficiently. We would like to see lawyers take a more serious approach to mediation and ensure to carry out pre-mediation preparation just like in litigation.  We should all acquire mediation skills so that we understand and appreciate our role in advising clients during the mediation process. We are expected to prepare our clients for mediation to help alleviate anxiety, counsel them to manage their anger, ensure to treat the other party with respect and dignity during the mediation process and to keep the client focused on the settlement issues. We should not compound the problems instead; we must help our clients in mapping out a negotiation strategy. With our concerted effort to ensure that mediation works, we will help unlock the case backlog in the Courts. JLOS with support from the Austrian Development Agency will help train our members across the country to become Court mediators and/or appreciate the role of mediation. We hope that when the trainings come to your regions, you will be ready to take advantage of this support to skill up in mediation.

The UN has called on Bar Associations to support its Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which were developed to clarify the different roles and responsibilities that States and companies have to address business impact on human rights. Business leaders have to voluntarily promote and apply within their corporate domains ten principles relating to human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. Given that many of you are corporate Counsel and members of boards of companies and others are external advisors to businesses, it is prudent that we have this conversation. To this end, we will have activities and programs to ensure that you appreciate these principles and how they can be applied by our business clients to support not only the work of the UN in protecting and respecting human rights in the context of business; but also work in direct backing of one of our core objectives, i.e. to defend and promote human rights.

We will hold our Annual Conference on 1st April, 2016 and the Annual General Meeting on 2nd April, 2016 when we will change our Leadership to take the Uganda Law Society to another level.
It is not only the institution that should go to another level. As individuals, we all look to the new year to tick items off our bucket list, we set goals for our families and we set out to do things that we have procrastinated over. Those in employment are looking to showing up for work every day hoping that; employers provide work that is more challenging and exciting, that there will be opportunities for professional growth and a better organizational culture. Some of us have made resolutions that include; running profitable law firms, establishing our expertise, putting health first, mending relations, taking up a new hobby, getting a mentor or becoming a mentor, doing more pro bono work, etc. We all want to be fulfilled in our work and achieve our purpose and that pretty much shapes our career paths and how long we stay where we work. I hope that this is the year that you truly find that fulfilment. We have to examine our past if we are to find our purpose and passions. Professional renewal requires that we reconnect with our purpose and passions and align our work and career to them. For those that have found their purpose, I hope you continue to grow in other dimensions and also help another lawyer on their growth path to find their purpose and live a fulfilled life.
This way, both the ULS and individual members will prosper.

I wish you all a great year of peace and prosperity.

RUTH SEBATINDIRA

PRESIDENT - UGANDA LAW SOCIETY

Upcoming Events

Feb 26
Pro-Bono Day 2016
Uganda Law Society annual Pro-Bono Day celebrations around the country
Apr 01
ULS Annual Conference 2016
ULS Annual Conference 2016

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