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The Big Question Winning Essay

OKEKE IFUNANYA JEMILA Esq.

No doubt the world is at a biological war fare with the corona virus, a deadly virus that has drastically changed everything, we have no choice than to adapt to a whole new way of life, we are constantly unlearning and re-learning ways to survive this pandemic now.

Every profession known to mankind including the legal profession has been severely affected. The legal profession is unquestionably a very noble one, the society admires anyone who has taken to this prestigious profession. Sadly, the outward presentation of this profession in Nigeria has deafen and rendered non-existant the inward challenges faced by many in this noble profession especially the young lawyers, who get called to the Nigerian Bar Association and dive into the profession with so much enthusiasm and great expectation, only for their hopes to be dashed with the harsh realities of “ you should be privileged to be gaining experiences from us”,  with little or no financial motivation and made to comb the courts with worn out shoes and a little ray of hope for a better tomorrow.

This has been the harsh realities of young lawyers before the corona virus pandemic and leaves one to the horrific imagination of what their fate will be after the pandemic, considering the economic effect of the pandemic globally, employers are laying off employees, the world has shut down and when we finally re-open, a lot of unpleasant changes will definitely occur. How then can these young lawyers be encouraged to continue in the profession and pursue their dreams because, whether we appreciate it or not, they are the future of the Nigerian legal profession and without a solid foundation and support, our future is destined to be in shambles.

How then can this situation be averted? A change can only be successful when it starts from the foundation, there are many legislations governing legal practice in Nigeria and one of the them  is the Rules of Professional Conduct 2007 and by virtue  of rule 7, lawyers are prohibited from carrying on the business of:

  • Buying and selling of commodities
  • Commission agent
  • And other business which the Bar Council may from time to time consider to be incompatible with the practice of a lawyer or as tending to undermine the high standing of the profession

Having a comprehensive look at the provision of the above rule, one can only conclude that to contravene them will result to grave consequences. Considering the fact that young lawyers make little or nothing from the legal practice, I recommend that the above rule be amended to encourage the carrying of businesses as long as it is legal and does not interfere with the productivity of lawyers.

The Nigerian Bar Association should also map out a certain remuneration for young lawyer within a defined age bracket and ensure that such stipulation is adhered. The young lawyers in the Nigerian legal profession deserve all the encourage that they can get because the future depends on them.

2 replies on “OKEKE IFUNANYA JEMILA Esq.”

Let me first of appreciate the concerns raised by my learned colleague herein. Her concerns represent hugely the stark realities that young lawyers in Nigeria face everyday.

I strongly lend my voice to her recommendation that a specific amount of money by way of remuneration be budgeted for young lawyers of say 1 to 4 years of call. In addition, proper and organised training strategy should be designed by the NBA to ensure the posting and training of young lawyers fresh from the law school to active and busy Chambers that are compliant with the mapped out remuneration of young lawyers (the NBA should subsidize this for medium Chambers).

Welfare of young lawyers across the length and breadth of this country must be looked at it. If young lawyers are properly pulpiled and given the right motivation, the future of the legal profession and its dwindling prestige would be preserved.

Thank you.

J. I. Amadi Esq.

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