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|Dear Young Lawyers, Your Messiah Is Not An NBA President by Bscholarly: 7:55am On Jul 18|
By Okechukwu Okoye Esq
This post is not intended to counteract the worthy campaign of young lawyers clamouring for a better welfare in Practice. However, I submit that it will be delusional to think that an NBA President will come who will evenly make better the welfare of all young lawyers in Nigeria. In fact, not all senior lawyers have good welfares to start with. Many senior lawyers with over a decade of practice are still languishing in penury and lack. It will be monumental error of preposterous proportions to think that because you are a young lawyer anybody owes you anything. Maybe in future, old and retired lawyers will start asking NBA for retirement packages too.
The truth is that no NBA President owe you that duty of improving your welfare whether as a young or old wig. I don’t know of any such responsibility. Besides, legal practice is a private venture and no NBA president has such enormous powers to drift and veer off into taking decisions on what happens in the different Law Firms. And even if any president overzealously muster such powers and try implementing same, the consequence is that you young lawyers will either be laid off from work and you stop earning the little and you’ll still be unable to open your own firm cause you cannot meet up with the financial requirements your former boss who deposed you couldn’t meet up with.
Not long ago I shared on my WhatsApp status how I reached out to two different lawyers called to Bar last year on two different occasions to help me draft a process. Both of them at the time had nothing serious doing, so time constraint wasn’t the issue. But they defiantly refused because they insisted we must agree on price before their pen can be set in motion because of course I didn’t pay for their Law School fees. And it was convenient for them to leave the process with me. Things I couldn’t do when I was without a base.
As much as I don’t begrudge anyone for the way they choose to build their practice neither can anyone dictate for anyone how to, I know as a fact that many Lawyers who have so much to do today and make many financial returns from practice never started off seeing practice from the prism of enormous financial gains. Many were just consumed with passion for their work and gave it their all. Many accepted even to work pro bono for institutions and individuals just to be busy and to satisfy their passion.
For me, I deem it a great honour then for a senior lawyer to ask me to accompany him to court or draft a process, for my name to appear on a process, for my draft to be commended by my senior. I infact on my own, go to Law firms and ask to work without pay just for the experience. I attended proceedings of national importance in different courts in Abuja and will just sit and watch the proceedings. Somehow I know that passion attracts something, when and how I don’t know but eventually. This does not mean I don’t like money, but then it is not Paramount at this time of building a career.
So yesterday I paid a Courtesy visit to the youngest Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Muyiwa Atoyebi Oyetola SAN. A very meek, gentle and self-effacing acheiver. It is possible that many young lawyers don’t even know this great, illustrious and iconic Learned Silk who should be a motivation and model to every young lawyer. I remember when he was conferred with SAN last year and I attended with a senior Officer even though I don’t know him personally then. The speculations that percolated the space was that he is super connected and that’s why he got the silk. Some said his mother is a retired or sitting Justice of the Court of Appeal. Some said his father is a politician and many others held different opinions and were stating same with impunity. But what is the truth about this young acheiver who took the dazzling silk at 34 years of age and just 11 years of practice?
Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi was not born into influence and affluence as speculated by people. In fact, his father was a farmer and the mother a tailor. Through dint of diligence and determination he was able to achieve this phenomenal feat. Oyetola could be one Legal Practitioner who has handled over 300 cases for the Police alone Pro bono. He has also rendered services to other institutions in Nigeria on Pro bono basis. It is on record that when he brought forward cases he has handled and got judgement in his favour for his screening for the conferment of SAN, three cars had to convey the records. When others were looking for what will pay instantly, he went for something that will pay eventually and acheived what others could hardly achieve. As for diligence, he recounted how he sometimes slept in his office for weeks while his house is just about 10 minutes drive away from office. He said his job take preeminence over everything.
I then realized that it was neither his father nor mother nor any NBA president that paved way for him to become the SAN he is today. Diligence, Passion and Desire did.
I had a great time with this great man and we actually forgot to discuss NBA elections. Yes, because it is not part of what made him or what will make me and you as young lawyers.
As you prepare to vote whoever you will be voting for in the coming election, always know as you know your name that your fate in this noble profession is in your hands and not the duty of any NBA President.
And to Dear Senior Lawyers, as much as it is within your capacity, treat junior lawyers right. This too is in the interest of Justice.
Source - https://thenigerialawyer.com/dear-young-lawyers-your-messiah-is-not-an-nba-president/ https://bscholarly.com/richest-lawyers-nigeria/
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