Over the last decade Nelson Ashitiva has built his Nairobi law firm, Ashitiva Advocates LLP, into a respected legal brand, yet he started from nothing. In this interview he tells Africa Legal’s Tom Pearson why it is important to lay solid foundations for a structure to “go high”.
Nelson is the senior partner and head of strategy for Ashitiva Advocates LLP and a mentor for many up and coming young lawyers.
He says that too often new lawyers are driven by the desire to have flashy cars and big houses to illustrate their success when they have not yet done the spade work to properly establish themselves.
“True wealth is not external but internal,” he says. “Many young lawyers are pushed to the brink and want success overnight.”
“Nobody admires good foundations,” he admits, “But that is what is most important when building a structure.”
Nelson tells Tom how he was recently called to speak to one of his young mentees who was threatening suicide because he felt he was taking too long to show signs of material success.
Young lawyers need patience, he says, and they need to put in the time and work and then success will come. “They need to know it is okay to live in a humble abode and to stay within your means.”
Tom then speaks to Nelson about expanding the firm – something which he had mentioned in an earlier interview with Africa Legal. Nelson said the firm now had two satellite offices.
“But our model has shifted to the digital,” he says, “Expanding our physical space is no longer as important as it was. We believe we can meet our clients’ needs by growing our digital footprint.”
This is a warm-hearted interview with a true legal entrepreneur and gives the listener real insight into a law firm and lawyer on the frontline of African legal services. To listen go to Africa Legal Podcast on SoundCloud or Spotify
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