Editor’s Note: In case you missed it, the full video of the Master of Laws (LLM) launch ceremeny at Strathmore Law School is available on YouTube here.

Today, 29 September 2017 marked the launch of the Strathmore University Master of Laws (LLM) programme at a colourful evening ceremony at the Sir Thomas More Building, Madaraka Estate Campus at Strathmore Law School. The launch of LLM at Strathmore Law School (SLS) is the culmination of several years of hard work and dedication. CIPIT was in charge of the Intellectual Property (IP) law specialisation of the LLM programme. Applications for the LLM are now open and will close on 15 December 2017 for those seeking to start the programme in January 2018.

The launch extravaganza featured a concert by the National Youth Orchestra, the grand opening of the Microsoft Policy Innovation Centre and a cocktail at Sir Thomas More Building. The SLS LLM is designed as an 18 month programme that seeks to expose students to perspectives and experiences from local, regional and international experts. Other than IP, there are several specialisations including, international criminal law, international financial law and regulation, oil and gas law as well as corporate and international tax. The LLM programme is offered on a modular basis: two crash weeks per quarter, in Nairobi at Strathmore Law School from January 2018.

We at CIPIT remain dedicated to strengthening the capacity of all those interested in IP including practitioners, researchers, specialists, creators, innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, policymakers. The programme offers instruction by international and regional experts in various IP subjects with the goal of providing practical skills in the classroom. An elective clinical component allows students to gain further practical experience in recognizing and dealing with IP issues. The electives in this area directly respond to the need to build capacity in Africa to handle intellectual property issues by offering the distinct combination of academic and practical instruction under different modules. The electives in the IP LLM include: Advanced Copyright, Advanced Trademarks, Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, Advanced Patents, Intellectual Property Law & the Digital Age, Plant Breeders Rights & Genetic resources, Intellectual Property & the Developing World, Traditional Knowledge & Traditional Cultural Expressions (Folklore), Social Media Law, Economics and Intellectual Property Law and Intellectual Property Clinic.

In this blogger’s day, there was only one Law School in the entire country for postgraduate studies in law. That School of Law had several thematic areas including IP but there was no guarantee that the thematic area would be available since thematic areas were selected solely based on majority demand. If the SLS LLM programme was available back then, the opportunity to specialise in IP alone would have been an important consideration. Another important factor would be the extent to which the IP Clinic module provides practical knowledge and understanding of real-life issues in IP. Finally, the all important question of value for money which includes factors such as convenience, competitiveness of the university’s programmes as well as networking opportunities with a mix of experienced lawyers, in-house counsel, judges, government officials, legal practitioners, policy makers and law school graduates.