MANAGING PARTNER, JNO ADVOCATES LLP
As legal practice grows beyond the traditional courtroom and advisory work, the modern lawyer is also evolving and shifting from the adversarial hard-line approach to dispute resolution, to a solution-based approach that is centred around exposing the client to the least cost and risk, whilst preserving any existing relationships between parties in dispute.
Soft skills applied in Policy advocacy, coupled with astute knowledge and experience in corporate law and investments advisory, makes Joyner a perfect candidate for provision of tailored business advisory, targeted not only at increasing the profitability of her client’s businesses, but also towards the growth and sustainability of their business.
Joyner Okonjo is the Managing Partner of JNO Advocates LLP, and the Legal Advisor to the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), the leading business lobby group in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a commercial law practitioner specialising in business advisory and policy advocacy for an enabling business environment and sustainable business practices.
While she advises a number of both local and international organisations in their day to day operations, her experience is not limited to the private sector. She has been engaged as a Legal Expert to revive and turn around operations of major parastatals in Kenya.
Her Policy advocacy journey began prior to graduation, and was cemented when the International Finance Corporation (IFC) arm of the World Bank Group engaged her for a short-term consultancy to support the private sector in spurring policy, regulatory and institutional reforms to boost the Kenyan business environment.
This short-term engagement would call for further engagement, which led to her consulting for the bank for over 5 years on private sector development initiatives aimed at unlocking investment constraints, investment generation and job creation.
Joyner sits on a number of boards and committees, key among them is the National Council on the Administrative Justice (NCAJ) Standing Committee on Civil Reforms.
She is also a Member of Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA), Women in Real Estate (WIRE) and a sprightly Member of the Women On Boards Network (WOBN).
Joyner delights in giving young ladies within and outside her profession career guidance and support through shared experiences and linkages with opportunities and networks. This is especially fueled by the fact that her professional journey is heavily littered with ladies who nurtured, protected and supported her since her nascent professional days, and still recommend her in various fora now that she is an accomplished professional.
She draws a lot of inspiration from her two elder brothers who are also lawyers. While Joyner was 14 years of age, her brother Donald Okonjo wrote in the forward of his LLB dissertation, “Dedicated to my sister who will one day become a lawyer.”
Six years later, after undertaking a Bachelor of Economics (BEc) degree in Finance for two years at Kenyatta University (KU), Joyner applied for inter-faculty transfer to the School of Law, changing courses a few days into her third year as a student of Economics.
At the School of Law, her path intersected with Dr Linda Musumba, the Dean at the time, who profoundly impacted Joyner’s life. “Even though I shared with Daktari (as we would call her), how much of an impact one of the evening chats we used to have in her office had on my life, I’m not sure she knows the magnitude of it. On that particular day, we chatted late into the night and lost track of time, prompting her to graciously drop me home across town. That one conversation gave me a total shift in mindset, which has been the core of my career progression,” she stated in a past interview.
While it is a cocktail of professional experiences that have shaped Joyner into the lawyer and businesswoman she is today, two stand out. The first is her two brothers, both lawyers, grooming her and throwing her into the weighty responsibility of law firm management right after Law school. This pushed her to quickly learn the ropes and balancing acts of running a professional business.
The second is her advisory role at KEPSA that exposed her to strategic networks, and the privilege to hear and learn from captains of industry from all sectors. Understanding the intricacies of operating various types of businesses sharpens her legal advisory, as she is able to understand the firm’s clients, their operations, and challenges from both a business and legal lens. It then makes it easy to provide practical and bespoke solutions. It also helps inform meaningful engagements with the government on policy reform.