1990 -1999: KATS' Pioneering Spirit

"You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down."

African proverb

Return of the King!

In 1993, the nearly seven hundred year old Kingdom of Buganda – abolished in 1966 by the Obote administration – is restored. 

John Katende, as the first Attorney General and Minister of Strategic Planning of the restored Kingdom, administers the oath of office as His Majesty Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi is sworn in, as the 36th King of Buganda.

John remains a key advisor to His Majesty. To date, KATS are the attorneys of the Royal Family.

Firm of Firsts

Over the years, KATS has been responsible for setting the gold standard for law firms in Uganda. The Firm made use of innovations in legal practice that are per for the course now, but in 70’s and 80’s Uganda, were novel concepts and proved to be trend-setting.

KATS pioneering presence is felt nationwide to date, the Firm made it commonplace:

  • to transition from manual ribboned typewriters to electronic type writers and finally to desktop computers for each lawyer;
  • to transition from telex to fax;
  • to use electronic mail (e-mails) for professional work;
  • for a law firm to have its own functional and user-friendly website;
  • to have a fully-functional in-house library (both physical and electronic) with a full time librarian;
  • to have in house legal training and secondment;
  • to invest in large spacious chambers; with a well-stocked library, boardroom, offices for Associates, kitchen, client waiting rooms, IT room, rooftop to mention but a few. Previously chambers were usually limited to 3 rooms; a reception, partners’ offices and a room for clerks;
  • to build a network and alliances with international law firms.


Following World Bank guidelines, the Government of Uganda adopts a policy of privatising and liberalising most of the government owned parastatal entities in Uganda.

KATS plays a leading role in this process. For instance, it advises on the privatisation of Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC), at the time, the sole telecommunications parastatal, into three distinct entities.

The offshoots are: Uganda Telecom Limited, Uganda Communications Commission and Post Bank.

Later, KATS advises the Government on the issuing of the Second National Operators license to MTN (Uganda) Ltd, which has since grown into the largest telecom company in Uganda.

Mr. President

Prof. Ssempebwa serves as President of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) and later, as Uganda’s President of the East African Law Society (EALS), a body which oversees all lawyers in East Africa.

Real Estate

KATS pioneers some of the very first sales of, off plan gated communities in Uganda. The Firm also creates standard documentation, replicated across the country, as the nation revels in a real estate resurgence and a meteoric growth in the residential real estate sector.

KATS becomes the primary external counsel for the newly formed Buganda Land Board – the largest land owner in Uganda, outside of the Central Government.

Having graduated at the top of his Makerere University Faculty of Law and Law Development Centre classes, Harvard educated Partner, Soogi Katende joins KATS and quickly becomes the Firm’s walking legal encyclopedia. He presently heads all the research and solicitor work done by the Firm.

Banking made easy

KATS advises various leading banking, finance, micro finance and micro credit institutions in this era of rapid expansion of financial services all across Uganda. This is boosted by the influx of international and regional banks into the Ugandan market.

M & A: Big Oil

KATS advises Shell Uganda Ltd on its acquisition of all the fuel stations and interests of Uganda Petroleum Ltd (UPET), making Shell the largest oil company in Uganda; and later Gapco Uganda Limited on the acquisition of all the assets of Esso Petroleum in Uganda.

KATS is the lead legal advisor to Total (U) Ltd on the acquisition of all the fuel stations and business of Chevron (trading as Caltex Oil) in Uganda, a company with over forty fuel stations in Uganda.

Jane Akiteng, recognized as one of Uganda’s leading authorities on all Intellectual Property matters, joins KATS and rises through the ranks to become the first female partner of the Firm.