“A living can be made out of anything one loves to do and has a passion for”- Mulopa Ndalameta
Africa remains persistent, so are its millennials which include Mulopa Ndalameta a Zambian dispute resolution lawyer who believes in and uses whichever of the methods of dispute resolution across the broad spectrum to get the job done for the client. Mulopa has vast arbitration experience and appreciates the complementary role of the court system in arbitration. He has been admitted as an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He litigates through the superior courts of record right up to the Supreme Court if need be. Mulopa Ndalameta is also open to court-annexed mediation and maintains concentration in sessions that last from morning to 11 pm just to arrive at a settlement. Mulopa has even once used expert determination where the circumstances permitted.
Mulopa’s pan African side sees him collaborate with like-minded professionals with a passion for the continent. His pursuits at that level saw him admitted to the Africa Arbitration Academy 2020 cohort. Mulopa is also part of a steering committee for Africa Construction Law, a platform meant to promote thought leadership in the construction industry on the continent. He is the country coordinator for Zambia.
Mulopa’s love for the country led to him putting on a Council hat in 2020 when he was elected to the position of Council Member for the Law Association of Zambia. The Council is the body that oversees the affairs of the Law Association of Zambia, a creature of a statute with a mandate to advance the rule of law amongst other things, and foster effective participation of all lawyers, regardless of the field of activity, in the development of Zambian society and its institutions as well as maintain and improve the standards of conduct of all members of the legal profession.
When the Zambian Constitution was amended in 2016 and established Local Government Elections Tribunals, Mulopa was one of 16 legal practitioners appointed by the Chief Justice of Zambia to serve as members of the tribunals which hit the ground running.
Mulopa became a Partner in his seventh year of practice at Musa Dudhia and Co, a top tier law firm that was founded in 1958, enjoying the status as one of Zambia’s oldest law firms. Having gained the necessary “grey hair” experience, the Firm stands out on the market for industry sector expertise that ultimately provides transactional governance capacity. As a partner, Mulopa’s role includes ensuring client satisfaction through mastering economic relationships. He keeps an eye on the Firm’s bottom line and is presently serving on rotation through the Firm’s financial performance portfolio where he grapples with utilisation rates of fee earners and productivity. Being a Partner brings with it a great deal of people management, mentoring and leveraging off relationships.
Mulopa Ndalameta is no stranger to failure or challenges and has come to view these as stimuli for success, having encountered them a couple of times on the journey to where he is today. Mulopa has noticed that each new accomplishment in life is not an end in itself. Upon achieving something, you find that you are at the bottom of that food chain and need to work your way up the ladder.
1. What makes practice exciting for him?
Mulopa notes that this is an easy one as there are so many to choose from but he will only list three. He enjoys observing the different styles of advocacy that lawyers appearing on the opposite side exhibit. He learns every day and assimilates where possible. It is an amazing reminder of how there are so many ways to kill a cat, and effectively, he adds.
Similarly, he finds spotting young talent exciting. One of the methods applied by his Firm is to hold an annual moot court competition. The final is presided over by actual judges but in the build-up, around semi-final stage, he sits as a judge and assists in moulding the next generation. Through this platform, he has met and worked with some of the brightest stars he has ever come across. This experience, much like mentoring interns and learner legal practitioners in the office takes him back to the basics and reminds him of why he got into law in the first place. It also comforts him that the future is bright for the profession.
His third pick on what is exciting about practice is that it is not static. He has found that a great deal of advocacy takes place in the background, and involves preparation, preparation and preparation. A major part he enjoys takes place behind the scenes. For him, he gets to become an “expert” in whatever industry a case he is working on involves. He interacts with the officers of the client’s organisation and learns their industry like the back of his hand- he has been an expert in so many fields. More so, he has been a mine manager prioritising smelting operations and navigating competing surface rights and mining rights. He has been a fuel service station manager articulating the monthly fuel volumes and associated franchise agreements. He is equally familiar with how mobile communication towers are set up, maintained and dealt with collocation. He could give a crash course on subscribing for a note programme listed on the securities exchange, dealing with the note trustee, issuer and security trustee. The possibilities are limitless for Mulopa.
2. What is his philosophy of impacting the nation through the practice of the law?
In his pursuit of building the nation, he is guided by a mantra that his Firm holds dear- “knowledge is power”. The more he understands how something works at any level, the easier it is for him to improve it or apply it to dynamic situations. His philosophy is to always seek to raise the standards and improve things, in all that he does, be it preparation of a court document for filing, or arguing a particular point of law.
3. What is the next big thing he is working on?
‘Immortality’. Mulopa notes teasingly. On a serious note, he is trying to document his ways and methods within the Firm, so that those coming behind him may be able to utilise his greatest strengths and learn from his weaknesses.
4. What does Mulopa consider the millennials’ greatest strength?
For Mulopa the millennials’ greatest strength is that they have the world at their fingertips and the world is their oyster. He notes that the world today is not conforming to the historical social constructs and is in an exciting era of disruption. In terms of career and the pursuit of happiness, he observes that pretty much anything and everything goes. “A living can be made out of anything one loves to do and has a passion for”, Mulopa notes.
5. What is he currently reading?
He is currently reading a book called Emotional Agility by Susan David. It has taught him a lot about how to identify his main goals and objectives in life, and stay focused on those as the end game regardless of the situation, and especially in those moments, he gets worked up about something. Those are the critical moments that may serve to derail meeting his objectives.
The second thing it has highlighted for him is being self-aware of his work and achievements. For Mulopa,
“the risks of making comparisons with others leads to unintended results without appreciating that the result of another person often has an associated story of what it took to get there, which we know nothing about.”
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