Watching an episode of Suits, gives you this feeling that you can almost throw your weight in and be a lawyer. The impression created is that all you need is a smart side kick (Mike Ross) and a really well tailored suit, to rock on your debut to the courtroom.
All this may seem true until you discover that you also need a well oiled wig, some fabulous English & an A+ wit to win the judge over. Unknown to many, I recently found out that the wigs bring a sense of formality and solemnity to proceedings.
We caught up with Paul Ogunde to further understand the formal background behind a typical Kenyan courtroom & the impact the legalities of the courtroom has had on his style.
7. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career, how it has influenced your style and the way you dress: “
I have been practicing law for the last 16 years. My space is mainly resolving commercial disputes, through litigation. As a lawyer, practice is very formal & conservative which means you are likely tied to Black, Navy & Blues. The formality is as a result of the culture we borrowed from the English Bar.
The English Bar was very conservative. It is probably as old as the English Language. Flamboyant dress for lawyers was
not expected in the courts in England. Apparel worn was rather somber to fit with the seriousness that came with resolution of disputes.
6. What is the one thing that you are most passionate about, besides your job?
Supporting Liverpool FC. I started supporting Liverpool in 1985, the days of John Aldridge and Sir Kenny Dalglish. In my bucket list is a trip to Anfield, to sit on the Kop end to watch the Merseyside and watch Mercyside derby (against Everton). No other
match, in my view, tops the intensity and passion of this derby. As always, You Will Never Walk Alone.
I’ve had a chance to Shop in Istanbul, Cologne, Johannesburg and parts of the North East of
the United States of America. Istanbul was remarkable. The city has a robust fashion industry
where even conservative garments have an edge.
Unsurprising, the place is rich in culture & food. Making it not just a good travel
destination but a place to seek style inspiration.
4. What do you read in your spare time and what impact has it made on you and your career? Has it had any impact on the way you dress?
Ohhh my. . . .I don’t classify myself as a ” reader”, I don’t read as much as I ought to but I enjoy keeping abreast with current affairs especially around Social evolution, politics, sports & human interest publications.
Also I don’t really have a style (…ask my wife…she cannot believe I am doing this
interview..). Admittedly I have never really sought out fashion as much as I should. But I am learning, that there’s a whole opportunity of projecting who I am from what I’ve dressed. The Turks, dress conservatively but with an edge.…something that I think sits well with me and would express who I am in how I dress.
3. Other than reading what else do you do with your spare time, what are your hobbies?
I spend a lot of my extra time catching up with pals socially and engaging in banter around all sorts of
affairs (social, politics, entertainment, sports …..)I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but never really had the chance to. I am on the lookout for an opportunity get this done.
You’ll never Walk Alone
2. What was the highest moment in your life and what were you wearing?
Quite frankly , many and difficult to choose which to highlight. Since we have an eye on
dress here , I recall one of these many moments being the day I was admitted to the bar to
practice law in June 2003. On that day I wore I had worn a nice sharp Dark Suit Pin Stripped with the usual courtroom wig (for the first time).
1. What advice would you give someone who would want to freshen up his wardrobe and look more stylish?
I’d encourage one to take style advice. Not everyone who looks glam, is instinctively stylish. Read, look around, explore & take advice. If you stick to your ways you miss an opportunity to properly express who you are.
Theres a lot of room to learn, fashion isn’t just throwing in what your first instincts tell you. I was never conscious about what I wore but I am becoming more conscious and enjoying the experience.
Paul, is a partner at Walker Kontos Advocates, focusing on dispute resolution. His trip to Anfield to sit in the Kop end awaits, until then it seems the only relief will be to watch Liverpool lift the EPL this season (2019/2020) after almost 30 years.
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