Tough times: Lawyers launch an emergency fund to save distressed colleagues

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Donation box; Online Photo

Lawyers under Uganda Law Society (ULS) have launched an emergency relief fund to help distressed colleagues during the economic crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

These say, many lawyers are struggling to make it through the 21-Day COVID lockdown extension.

According to the document signed by Assumpta Kemigisha Ssebunya of Ssebunya & Turyagenda Advocates, majority of young lawyers under ULS have been hit hard by the lockdown, and already facing economic hardships with no one to run to.

“Unfortunately, reports across membership forums confirm what we already knew – this pandemic is hitting young lawyers the hardest. It is therefore imperative to acknowledge and attend to the health, mental and economic tolls this crisis is having on the foot soldiers of our legal system, and any other member in hardship during this period.” The statement reads in part.

The “learned friends” say although a COVID-19 taskforce was created at the national level to coordinate the distribution of food and essential items to the most vulnerable, lawyers are excluded by the set criteria.

Adv. Assumpta Kemigisha Ssebunya has taken the role of Chairperson, Slyvia Namawejje Ebitu is the treasurer, and a committee of 8 mobilizers has been set up to work urgently on fundraising, and deliver a package of measures to assist lawyers most in need.

The committee will decide how much to avail to each distressed lawyer, bearing in mind the size of the trust fund, the cost of living in the respective regions, and the principles of equity, equality.

At the time of this publication, 2 million shillings had been disbursed as a start-up donation to the fund.

The only requirement to qualify for the relief funds is a Law Society identity card and badge of honour.

“Arrangements are underway to retain an expert psychiatrist and other counsellors. Do not suffer in silence.” the author asserts.

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