“Every day is potentially a new challenge as well as an opportunity to get new information”– Bernard Mukasa


Bernard Mukasa is a Partner in the Corporate Advisory Team at Ortus Advocates, a thriving law firm based in Uganda. Bernard possesses a wealth of experience of over 12 years. Bernard’s experience includes providing strategic advice on commercial transactions, employment and labour advisory, and intellectual property matters, including structuring and management, due diligence, investigations and advising on, and drafting, commercial and licence agreements.

He also advises clients on trademark and copyright litigation, patent perfection and on matters of infringement, passing off and anti-counterfeiting across a range of sectors including media and entertainment, telecommunications, advertising and sport, fashion, cosmetics, restaurants and foodstuffs and electronics.

Bernard also advises several entities on employment law and labour compliance, occupational health and safety, workman’s compensation and restructuring. He has assisted several companies in restructuring and mass lay-offs as well as labour law compliance. He represents a number of clients before the Labour Office as well as the High Court Industrial Division for labour disputes and also mediates and arbitrates employment disputes.

Bernard was seconded to Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer LLP under the International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA) Advanced Training Program, where he worked closely with teams dealing in intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions and drafting and negotiating Transitional Services Agreements (TSAs) as well as IP and other dispute resolution.

He was previously the General Secretary of the Ugandan Law Society Intellectual Property Practitioners Cluster and is a member of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) Intellectual Property Department Users Forum. He is a registered African Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) Agent and a Trademark Agent in Uganda.

He is also a registered Insolvency Practitioner in Uganda and has handled a high-profile Receivership, Provisional Administration and assisted in the liquidation of a leading telecom Company. He participates in our Commercial Dispute Resolution practice. (Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation). He is a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths.

1. What makes legal practice exciting for Bernard?

The opportunity to learn something new daily is a top priority for Bernard. He is constantly being challenged to acquire new knowledge in a field outside his comfort zone. For example, he notes that today if the dispute is on a road contract, one will find oneself having to get a quick grasp of the technicalities of Civil Engineering and then tomorrow’s dispute is on Copyright Infringement, and one gets into the intricacies of music production which one probably knows nothing about. Every day is potentially a new challenge as well as an opportunity to get new information. It gives him an adrenaline rush and is enough to keep him on his toes. That is enough excitement for him.

 2. What is his philosophy of impacting the nation through the practice of the law?

With many Ugandans in rural areas and often having challenges accessing justice, he is passionate about playing his part to build social justice, especially around access to justice. He has in the past volunteered for this cause with programs such as the African Prisons Project and he participates in the Uganda Law Society’s Legal Aid Project as well as other Legal Aid and Pro Bono initiatives by different groups. At the Firm, he has taken on and encouraged colleagues to take on pro bono cases and he has used my membership in Rotary to promote social causes around access to justice.

The other area he is passionate about is building capacity and training as well as mentoring the next generation of legal practitioners. To this end and when time allows, he often gives talks to different law school freshmen and has been known to engage one on one with a few on social media. He is a Teaching Assistant at King Ceasor University. More so, he is always available to engage with upcoming lawyers and share his experiences and those of others on forging their initial footprints in the legal journey, how to “survive” the start, and set oneself aside as a trusted advisor and build a stellar career.

Bernard Mukasa: Africa's Legal Millennial

Bernard Mukasa: Africa’s Legal Millennial

3. What is the next big thing Bernard is working on?

Right now, his focus is on building an enduring practice with his new law firm, Ortus Advocates. As the firm comes round the corner of its initial years as a firm, the time is now to develop systems and lay the groundwork for a big and successful law firm that is a powerhouse of astute solutions. He is also looking to diversify and concentrate a bit more on some private business ventures outside the Law, write more and maybe even finally get my football coaching badges.

4. What does Bernard consider the millennials’ greatest strength?

He believes millennials are uniquely placed between two vastly different generations. Millennials grew up in a different world from the one they are adulting in right now. The emergence and ubiquity of the internet and all the technology surrounding it, the demand for innovation outside the formerly traditional way of thinking and the growth of entrepreneurship have made millennials a very resourceful generation with the capacity to appreciate the analog world millennials grew up in and look to transforming the “digital” present and future.

5. Who, in the profession does he look up to, and what is he currently reading?

He looks up to his former boss Donald Nyakairu, a Senior Partner at ENSafrica’s Kampala office. Donald Nyakairu is a seasoned Lawyer, Administrator, Diplomat and Civil Servant. His background previously in the civil service, as a diplomat, as in-house counsel and later in private practice represents an array of skills, Bernard admires about him. Three of the top things Bernard admires about him are his diplomacy, and the ability to remain calm even in the stickiest of situations always inspired client confidence in him; secondly, his meticulousness and attention to even the smallest detail were something to admire. The third is that he is erudite, he knows his stuff and it inspires great confidence in his abilities. The eight years he worked with him profoundly influenced the lawyer Bernard is today and Bernard is glad they remain friends to date.

He is currently reading “How Beautiful We Were” by Imbolo Mbue. this is a captivating story of the work we must do in another area Bernard is passionate about; the environment, and the difficulties and nuances of doing so in an ever-developing world.

The PALM considers Bernard Mukasa a legal millennial who has shown exceptional radiance in the field of legal practice.

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