Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A legal practitioner, Prof. Gbolahan Elias (SAN), has disclosed that more than 4,000 lawyers are called to the Nigerian Bar yearly when the nation is already having more than a 100,000 leading lawyers practicing and competing for recognition in the labour market.
He made the assertion while speaking on the topic: “Challenges and Prospects for Young Lawyers in a Law Firm in a Developing Society” at the Annual Valedictory Session for the 2017/2018 academic session of Igbinedion University, Okada in Ovia North East Local Government of Edo State.
“More than 4,000 new lawyers will be called to the Nigerian Bar every year and there are already more than 100,000 leading lawyers who have all been called to the bar.
“When I got called to the bar in 1981, there were only about 500 that were called to the bar then but today, about 4,000 lawyers, that is eight times that number and all of you are competing in the market for jobs, for recognition and for everything else.
“It is a very daunting task. These large number of lawyers work in an economy that is more critical than it should be. Decent work for most of them are not readily available.
“Only a very limited number of organizations stand and do pay young lawyers well and are able to pay them satisfactorily while they are still being trained”, he said.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria further cautioned the young Lawyers be guided by the rules of the game and desist from cutting corners in order to win the trust of their clients.
“Do not think you will get away with cheating, with lying or in cutting corners or with self-centeredness. People will find you out if you have less than honesty and then you will become a subject of ridicule rather than a subject for emulation “, he said.
Elias further enjoined them to know their area of strength and concentrate on it to be more efficient rather than dissipating energy or trying to cover all aspects of law as it can never be covered.
“Do what you know is most consistent with your primary obligation and also what is within your grounds, things that you can handle and not just all the things that are thrown at you.
” I think passion is important, your primary obligation is also important and your own capability are also very important. These are the three critical factors that you must put into considerations”, he said.
Encouraging the young Lawyers not to be afraid when they make mistakes along the line but brace up as life achievements are not centered on the number of times one fail but how he was able to pick up the pieces together and forge ahead, the Proffessor of Law also admonish them to look for good mentorship, ask questions when in doubt, read books published by other legal experts to enhance their knowledge.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae asked the students to go to the Law School and be a good ambassador of the institution.
On his part, the Dean, College of Law, Igbinedion University, Prof. Rasheed Jimoh, charged the students to be hardworking and disciplined and also avoid acts capable of tarnishing the image of their parents and the institution who have contributed immensely to their development.