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Accessing legal aid now only a click away

Initiatives: Terry Kahuma recently created an app to ease access to legal aid for populations by just a click away. The app, Firmeron, followed a YouTube channel to his name too.

What is your day like as a lawyer?

Quite hectic. I am currently employed at Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited suite engaging, so I have my actual desk work and also run my YouTube channel called Simply Legal, where I plan , shoot, edit and post videos at least once a week. Weekly, I also strategise with the team at Firmeron where we run our legal mobile application. So in a day I run three to four jobs. I also engage with private clients, whom I meet daily.

What do you think of the current state of the legal sector?

The legal sector is doing averagely well as it is trying its best to solve as many issues as it can with the help of the court system. There are quite a number of loopholes in the legal sector, one of them being the huge backlog of cases that overwhelm the court system. But the slow pace to adopt technology is why I actually came up with the Firmeron app. I created the app to come in to address the gap in accessibility of justice and legal services. This is done by connecting lawyers and people together. This can work with constant sensitization of both lawyers and non-lawyers to appreciate the use of technology to make provision of legal services easier

What is the best part about what you do?

Learning different things that I was not taught at school and being able to add and contribute to society through my innovations and this is through my YouTube channel Simply Legal, and now Firmeron.

What challenges do you encounter doing your work and how do you resolve them?

When I started up both the YouTube channel and the app, I realized most people in Uganda still do not trust technology.

How did you come up with this concept?

Since childhood, I have always been innovative , now with technology I have a lot of options at my disposal.

How best have you transformed lives with this digital initiative?

We released the app on social media about two and a half months ago and the feedback we have received is that people appreciate it. People love its simplicity, we have managed to get people to address their problems to us and we have been able to provide solutions at a reduced rate than the usual walk-in client. Individuals in and out of the country have been able to access an advocate but as you know, we cannot finish all the problems in the society.

What future do you hope to achieve with your app innovation?

I envision this being the biggest legal app because the court systems have already adopted ECMIS which eases filing of court documents which has greatly reduced case backlog. With the adoption of Firmeron, the legal sector is going to transform because technology is going forward and not backward.

What have been your achievements so far?

Well it is still a new innovation and initiative in the market, which means that so far we have been able to make accessibility to justice easier for a number of people who we have been able to reach through our initiative projects. Fimeron so far has close to 500 plus downloads, which means people will keep getting to know more and more about the app, hence making access to justice easier.

What is worrying most about the legal sector today and what do you think can be done to avert this?

More cooperation; we would be far ahead in sorting out many people’s problems since we are officers of the court. Another problem is the slow adoption of technology.

What virtues have kept you going on the job?

Courage: I noticed from a young age that no one will believe in you unless you believe in yourself first.

Confidence: Confidence gets you a long way in life

Empathy: Understand the common person’s challenges and come up with these innovations.

Resilience: You have to keep persistent and consistent in pursuing your dreams.

Networking and team work with my colleagues whom I work with.

What advice do you have for young innovators trying to start in the profession or looking forward to joining the profession?

I advise them to believe in themselves and try to find out what their passions are. Personally, I found out one of my passions while at law school. Never let anyone put you down.

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