A Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Chima Centus Nweze has urged law scholars to conceive new intellectual contents and broaden their various fields of study.
The jurists said such action would help them mould and sharpen future advocates that would have audience not only in Nigeria, but at the ‘global community of courts’.
Nweze, who was the chairman of the SPA Ajibade & Co. 9th Annual Business Luncheon themed: “The future of legal practice in Africa; An African model for big law firms”, said Nigeria’s legal education curriculum is skewed.
His words: “As things stand now, due to the skewed nature of the curriculum of our legal education, young advocates, and perhaps even senior counsel, may soon find themselves redundant in the emergent environment characterized by what we prefer to christen transjuridical dialogue.”
The guest lecturer, Robert Millard, who spoke on “Towards a ‘big law’model for African law firms”, said the future of law is emerging slowly, closely following the future of business, the future of society and the future of the world in which we live.
According to him, there is no big bang solution towards a big law firm concept. “Most of the improvements that we need to make to our firms in order to grow and prosper are already out there in plain sight, too.
“What we can do though is develop a view of what improvements make most sense to our own firm in the short term and work to implement those, all the time listening closely to what tour cleints say and watching what unfolds in the market,” he stated.
He, however, warned that no lawyer should begin to think that a large, successful African law firm of tomorrow would just be like the leading European or North American law firms and expressed optimism that there is a chance to develop something uniquely 21st century African.
The managing partner of the firm, Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) said the vision of the firm is to assist the profession to define parameters of achieving excellence. He pointed out that there is confusion about what exactly a big law firm means.
Ajibade added that the secret of having a successful big and lasting law firms in Africa hinges on developing succession plans, processes and procedures that would evoke sense of ownership in new partners so that firms can outlast their founders.