“Africa is our core business and responsibility. I believe that as a generation, our core responsibility is to put in the required effort to assist in forging a future that elevates Africa to a strategic and competitive economic status globally”-  Ribin N. Ondwari

Ribin Ondwari is a Partner and Head of Real Estate, Banking and Financial Services at Ashitiva Advocates LLP in Nairobi, Kenya. Ribin is regarded as one of Kenya’s fastest rising lawyers. Multifaceted logic is Ribin’s thing, hence he is adept at banking & financial services law, real estate, capital markets transactions, insolvency & corporate restructuring and energy law.

As the Head of his Firm’s Real Estate, Banking and Financial Services Department, he leads a high performing team and is fluent at managing multiple projects methodically and simultaneously with excellent results. He cycles runs and score goals as fast as he thinks on his feet. Humble to a fault, Ribin is a genius at growing relationships internally with colleagues and clients as well as externally with regulators and other sector players.

He is always enthusiastic about convoluted tasks, whether it is the purchase and sale of a water dam, acquisition of land from a business involving trusts in Israel, selling off a conservancy including a resort in the Mara, navigating the labyrinth of community land, or the enforcement of a Chinese judgment in Mauritius, Ribin is the lawyer for all times.

He was declared Young Lawyer of the year 2017 by the Kenya Law Society, Nairobi Branch, he handles this accolade with his customary modesty but will admit, if pressed, that he has run some of the most complex financial restructurings that ever touched these grounds.

  1. What makes legal practice exciting for Ribin?

The excitement keeps evolving, Ribin notes. In the beginning, he derived the excitement at an individual level. Through exercising and growing his legal skills within the team values and vision to enable clients to achieve their strategic objectives. This was based on the individual aim of being a highly capable professional within a high performing team for Ribin.

Ribin understands the scope has since expanded to a leadership angle. He is now the head of the real estate, banking, and financial services department at Ashitiva Advocates LLP. The excitement for him comes from the everyday teamwide responsibility and working together with an incredibly amazing team of partners at the firm. To ensure a teamwide firm commitment to the effective service of the evolving strategic needs of the clients and stakeholders. Together with an unwavering dedication to the shared core values, purpose and mission of the firm make the practice of the law exciting to him.

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

For Ribin, the impact is derived from the hard work of enabling the value-driven clients to meet their strategic needs and successfully explore market opportunities i.e.:

  • the developers who provide – housing and purchasers who provide a market for the houses;
  • the banks and other financiers who providing working capital to businesses which then serve the respective needs in the market i.e. energy, agriculture, industrialization, education and health; and
  • the financial services firms that offer investment and management of money and assets.

He believes these services directly impact the nation economically and socially and when done well by all the key stakeholders involved, the impact is positive. To this extent then, he understands that the real estate, banking and financial services practice of the law that he has been involved in plays a key role in impacting the economic justice aspect of the nation.

Ribin Ondwari

  1. What is the next big thing Ribin is working on?

Ribin’s next big thing is in Africa, he explains –

“The next big thing I am working on is pushing myself to be able to get to the level where I can join everyone else who is working for the elevation of the economic status of Africa. Africa is our core business and responsibility. I believe that as a generation, our core responsibility is to put in the required effort to assist in forging a future that elevates Africa to a strategic and competitive economic status globally.”

He views it as the only way to honour those who came before us and enable us to live, work and dream at the levels we can. His Senior Partner at the Firm, Mr. Nelson Ashitiva usually says that “Our forefathers worked for independence and prevailed. Our fathers worked for civil and political rights and prevailed. The legacy of this generation now is to work for the elevation of the economic stature of Africa. This is this generation’s burden towards making a positive contribution.” Ribin notes

  1. What does he consider millennials greatest strength?

For him, two things – Globalization and Africa, he believes that millennials are the current frontier of global business.

“Globalization gives the millennial generation access to the knowledge, skills and exposure to the best standards that would enable millennials to lead and forge Africa as the current frontier of global business in a way that the generation would be proud of. This would be by positioning Africa competitively and strategically on the economic global scale”, Ribin notes.

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

He looks up to several people in the profession. The list would have been longer had he not been limited to the profession. Some of these people he has been privileged to meet, while others he is yet to. The power of the internet and technology nonetheless enables him to learn from them remotely while the hope of one day meeting them stays alive. Just to mention a few:

  • Nelson Ashitiva – Senior Partner, Ashitiva Advocates LLP;
  • Richard Omwela – Senior Partner, Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews;
  • Gbenga Oyebode – Chairman, Aluko & Oyebode;
  • Joshua Siaw – Partner, White & Case; and
  • Dikgang Moseneke, Former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.

Ribin is currently reading two books: Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella, (On his quest to take on the huge responsibility of being Microsoft’s Ceo at i a most challenging time and embarking on a turnaround to bring the organization back to the top of the charts and having it more aligned with its core purpose); and My Own Liberator by Dikgang Moseneke (On his very inspiration life which he has managed to achieve a lot of success with so much dignity and respect despite the struggles he had to go through including being detained at Robben Island and self-teaching while still there to not let the detention hold him back).

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

Share your thoughts, recommendations and feedback to millennial@thepalmagazine.com under the subject: AFRICAN TOP LEGAL MILLENIAL

Click here to read our previous millennial, Magalie Masamba

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