Most young people at 24 years are either in college or just graduated and about to venture into job market.
At this age, Brian Pareno Solonka, is among the youngest advocates in town.
He was among the 303 lawyers who were admitted to the bar as advocates on Monday, this week in Nairobi by Chief Justice Martha Koome.
Also admitted during the ceremony was the oldest advocate at 76-year-old Benjamin Wamugunda Geteria.
Brian however credits his early exposure to great lawyers through his father, Gideon Solonka, who is also an advocate.
Through his interactions with Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, that Solonka said the urge to pursue law was born.
Other great minds that gave him the inspiration were Supreme Court Judge Isaac Lenaola, nominated Senator Judy Pareno and Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Eric Theuri.
During the admissions ceremony, Theuri recognised and congratulated Solonka. He said their interaction was mooted on social media and later gave away for personal engagement.
‘‘When I was in campus doing my clinical externship at the Ministry of Environment, I got favour with Tobiko who was also appointed CS, and he took me to his office to do legal research for him,” said Solonka.
Solonka also said, “Tobiko would guide and mentor me about law school and even provided inspiration for my dissertation in the fourth year.”
He said he is passionate about tax and finance law. ‘‘It’s an area I was really good at in Kenyatta University. It will fasten solving of commercial disputes, which is attractive to investors thus promote Foreign Direct Investment, and will in turn bring in more jobs,’’ said Solonka.
Brian is currently pursuing his Masters in Tax Administration at Kenya School of Revenue Authority (KESRA-KRA).
Solonka however said his desire to become a leading advocate has not been smooth, especially during his high school days.
In 2011 after joining high school, he had to be transferred from a prestigious school in Nakuru County due to what the school called poor performance.
‘‘Things were not going well for me since my academic performance was always poor. I would get an average of grade C and D and as per the school, those grades were extremely low. I think I was not just confident with myself and didn’t believe in my capabilities,’’ he said.
He said that failure to believe in his capabilities made him not pay much attention in class and his friends did not also help him improve either.
Because of the poor performance, Solonka would then be admitted to a village school in Mashruu in Kajiado County which had no proper facilities compared to the former institution.
“But I chose to work harder to prove wrong those who transferred me. I emerged the best student in that school in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) in 2014, by scoring B+ of 73 points, a record which I say no one has broken till today in that institution,” he said.
Solonka enrolled for a Degree in Law at Kenyatta University and graduated in 2019 with a second class upper.
“I enrolled at Kenya School of Law for the Post Graduate Advocates Training Program. I worked hard and in the first set of exams, which is the oral exam, I managed to perform exceptionally well by scoring 19 points out of 20 points,” said Solonka.
He added: “In our class we had 2,000 students and out of that, only four including me had such points.”
Solonka was awarded by Attorney General Paul Kihara for being the best student at Kenya School of Law in Conveyancing in the 2021 bar exams.
Solonka has started a mentorship programme of young upcoming lawyers, where he has over 700 students, whom he assists over the weekend to understand the practicalities of law.