Let me express my humble and profound gratitude to you all for inviting me to deliver this riveting paper on a choice topic such as this. Law is a dynamic discipline that requires continuous education as new vistas and developing areas of the legal profession keep emerging by the day. This topics is critical because the crux of law itself has gone beyond just litigation and young lawyers are at advantage, using technological tools and developing platforms across the globe with wider reach for professionals relevance.
LITIGATION AND YOUNG LAWYERS
Litigation over the years is known as one of the must popular areas of the legal profession. This is the area where lawyers exercise the skills of advocacy, confronting the courtroom with evidence and argument in a bid to find justice. The duty of a lawyer to guide his client within the bounds of law vis-a-vis upholding the ethics of the courtroom practice is tested here. Young lawyers are hereby admonished to engage in litigation as all aspects of law is important. The benefits of litigation exposes you to numerous advantages. First, it builds your confidence, enhances your articulation of the rules of court, edifies your elocution and oratory capacity, deepens your knowledge of legal research in law reports, develop your strategies for charismatic embellishments, predisposed you to clients and introduce you to senior lawyers in the profession whom you can easily learn from by mere listening to their arguments and the way they conduct their cases.
One of the fastest ways to excel in this area of the profession is to master all the rules of court and then adhere to it strictly. The court would hardly do a thing that runs contrary to its own rule. From experience, I have seen it happen again and again that lawyers who have a good grasps of the rules of court seems to be in better control of their cases while undertaking the business of litigation as against those barely understand the rules of the respected courts.
Two, preparations is important and I want young lawyers to know this early enough. The business of litigation strives on preparation. You must prepare adequately and this must start from your pleadings. The quality of your devotion and research will definitely reflect on your case and the court’s eye is wide open absorbing your demeanor. You don’t expect the court to take you seriously when you haven’t taken your profession seriously. So, prepare adequately. Let your authorities, quality of evidence and line of argument demonstrate ingenuity and panache. You must learn how to use the law persuasively to enhance your skill and this won’t happen without dedication to duty.
Three, young lawyers, you must be nice to your clients even though I must let you know that clients could be very terrible sets of persons who may strive to provoke you by playing very sinister role in the process of dealing with you. You must not loose your guard. Apply wisdom early enough and don’t sell yourself out cheaply. You are of the noble profession so your behavior, character and conduct must reflect that nobility for which you have been made. The young lawyers are the future of the legal profession and society requires topnotch rectitude from you as you respond to social corresponding obligations in the line of duty. Let me therefore add that recently a very senior lawyer of the legal profession in the person of chief Mike Ozekhome SAN was almost leached at the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture in Lagos State. A good number of lawyers with devious objectives had argued that the Chief Mike Ozekhome deserves that unwholesome behavior from people. Some of the persons who carried out that attack were lawyers. This is a dangerous precedent that may consume us all if we don’t condemn this kind of behavior in a civil society. It’s trite law that every accuse person is entitled to a lawyer of his choice and if a politician or whoever have engaged the services of a lawyer it not in your place to attack the lawyer because he was engaged by a politician purported alleged for money laundering or other vices. In the line of duty gentlemen, lawyers must not become endangered species. I therefore admonished young lawyers never to engage in acts of this nature likely to undermine the sacredness of the legal profession.
YOUNG LAWYERS OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM
The legal profession outside the court room is as vibrant as the court room practice, perhaps this is the auxiliary aspect of law people refer to in this craft . Most corporations today engages corporate attorneys to undertake corporate and commercial transactions, most of which the lawyer helps companies in policy directions and ensure corporate governance and compliance. Young lawyers should take advantage of commercial law practice as the opportunity therein are of immense value. In the banking and real estate sector for example, there is a growing need in the recruitment of experts in secured credit, capital market, international business, taxation and investment attorneys. The point made here is that the dynamics of our profession has been broadened to accommodate every serious-minded lawyer who wants to make it big in the society.
I will like to remind you also that outside the courtroom, opportunities abound in the entertainment industry for those lawyer who want to embrace entertainment law and make fortune out of it. It is estimated that in the year 2021 the Nigerian entertainment industry will hit a worth of over $6.4 billion. Now, that is a huge sum. Intellectual Property lawyers and the rest of us who desire to make fortune in this area, now is the time to prepare yourself. You must do all it will take you to position yourselves adequately for the future. If you have to take a masters degree in some of these emerging areas, please do. The future only prepares its benefits for those who are prepared for it.
I must also encourage young lawyers to join the civil service because, it is from there that this country will be repositioned. We must spread through the lengthy and breath of this country armed with our training to make a difference in our respective sectors. The young lawyers are the veritable organ in the development of a brand new brave bar with the requisite technical know-how in the 21st century emerging economy where the prospect of wealth creation is anchored on human intelligence. I am of the view therefore that this social space has left us with the huge responsibility and opportunity to lead this great country and we must demonstrate courage and faith in the new prospects of our national endeavor.
May I also say that outside the courtroom young lawyers have space in the academia. Those of you who are passionate about imparting knowledge should not hesitate to undertake lecturing jobs, where they find one. It’s honorable. The prospect of this profession lies in its continuity and the legacies of those who stick to the academia, teaching, researching and writing books to promote the knowledge of law will always resonate by dint of providence.
When I look back today, considering how I started from a humble background not too long ago I thank God for his grace. I want to assure you that as you devote your life and time to this profession you will reap the fruit of your labor. As you join forces with us in our quest to redefine the legal profession in Nigeria may the very great opportunities of life for which the profession guarantees find you in your rightful place. Better days are coming! If you are discouraged, confused and disgruntled by the system I encourage you never to give up. Your era of abundance is near. If you are young and you are tempted to join those who practice our profession under the tree. Please don’t. There’s dignity of labor. You must not misrepresent the nobility of our profession. You must remain tidy, resolute and courageous as the promises of our profession remains undeniable. If we fellowship with this common faith and draw the lines of our most glorious pursuit we will have accomplished our mandate as lawyers in the temple of justice.
I have strived to state what is cast through my thought with sheer experience, however nothing is cast in stone by way of exactitude or proportional accuracy. Your turning points may not exactly follow my script or experience but somewhere along your story, you will find the reflection of some of the principles shared which are sacrosanct. I therefore urge you to believe in your dream, reawaken that passion, increase that speed, regain focus and tell yourself this – I will definitely succeed!
It is with this faith that I congratulate you all for your courage and determination. The pursuit of your dedication as you aspire to greater heights shall be rewarded.
Thank you and God bless!