The Nigerian Bar Association has historically been plagued with myriad of problems which have prevented it from providing platform for Lawyers to contribute meaningfully towards Nation building.
The Legal profession is widely regarded as one of the noblest and prestigious professions in the history of mankind. It is a great and honoured profession. It is a worthy calling designed to enrich lawyers both young and senior members of the bar with financial success, leadership and legal knowledge. The practice of the law must provide a platform for much happiness, good living, and exposure for young and senior lawyers.
There is need to appraise the Bar with a view to identifying the problems facing the Nigerian bar. The image of the bar cannot die. In the future bar, the Nigerian Bar Association should restore purity and nobility of the profession by tackling major challenges encountered by Members of the Bar such as Poor Globalization of Law practice, Welfare of Young Lawyers, Unemployment of Young Lawyers, mentoring of Young Lawyers, Networking among Lawyers, Legal Education, and among others.
GENERATIONAL SHIFT AND GLOBALIZATION OF LEGAL SERVICES.
The practice of Law needs to be fundamentally changed particularly with respect to how law firms provide legal services to clients. Every Lawyer needs to adapt to the new demands of Clients and this can be achieved by having deep knowledge of the Law, apply that knowledge to assist a specific client through the Lawyer’s diversified skills.
In the future bar, Law practice will be more virtual and technology driven. Every Lawyer should focus on maximizing costs in order to effectively satisfy their Client’s needs. Every Lawyer should understand how to use Online tools to demonstrate authority in the practice of law, and build trusted business relationship with clients. To be an effective Lawyer, you need to spend time actively staying abreast of developments of the Law, and know how to market yourself in the digital age of Law practice.
Lawyers need to embrace technology and understand that the changes in Law practice will not be the demise of the Nigerian Legal world, but a way to take advantage of the Latest method available in becoming efficient, proficient, transparent, accessible, and responsive Lawyer.
As Law practice moves towards globalized practice, the future bar has to put measures in place to ensure practitioners follow and tailor their practice towards the new global trends in law practice.
ON WELFARE OF YOUNG LAWYERS
The cream of Nigeria’s future Law practice is the young Lawyers. To better the future of the bar, Senior Lawyers should embrace reality and device means that would aid the welfare of Young Lawyers and as well inspire Young Lawyers to be successful in the profession.
It is unprofessional, wicked, exploitative and unjust to pay pittance and peanuts to Young Lawyers as Salaries. This awkward and unjust act has placed Young Lawyers in a state of hopelessness, untold hardship, poverty, and most young Lawyers find it difficult to buy Books, Suits, Shoes etc.
As part of the future bar agenda, the Nigerian Bar Association should wade into the issue of poor remuneration of Young Lawyers in other to protect Young Lawyers and emancipate them from paltry remuneration, further exploitation and professional slavery.
The bad experience of Young Lawyers in law firms have driven some of the best brains out of the profession to seek greener pastures elsewhere. It has driven some Young Lawyers to practice on their own thereby lacking mentorship and requisite experience in the practice of the law.
The exploitation of Young Lawyers is an antithesis of the nobility of the profession. It undermines the entire Profession especially when Young Lawyers turn out living less than noble.
ON LEGAL EDUCATION
In addition to training Law Students to think like Lawyers, Universities and Law School must train Students to think like business people. law practice is a professional business and there is need to update Universities and Law school curricula to incorporate business courses such as Accounting and Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship and among others. Law School should equip future Lawyers to be solution -oriented, Client-focused and creative thinkers. Learning in Law school and Universities to scale through Examinations will not help future Lawyers become more valued and competitive in the profession. Law School should give Students the necessary experience to function like Lawyers and also teach students skills that can be used to function in practice.
ON MENTORING OF YOUNG LAWYERS
One major challenge for the Young Lawyers in today’s practice is acquiring proper mentorship. One of the salient reasons for this challenge is the increase in the number of Lawyers called to the bar every year.
Despite the fact that the Nigerian Bar Association has acknowledged the importance of mentoring Young Lawyers, however, there remains a significant task to be achieved in this regard. Therefore, in the future bar, the Nigerian Bar Association should address this issue by organizing more programs, seminars etc to create a melting pot where old and Young Lawyers can better interact on the platform of the Nigerian Bar Association.
ON UNEMPLOYMENT OF YOUNG LAWYERS
Unemployment is a challenge among Young Lawyers. It attract lack of productivity and unprofessionalism. It makes Young Lawyers to lose confidence in themselves, in legal practice, and financial challenges.
In the future bar, every unemployed Young Lawyers should find time to explore and assess his career preferences, consider his entrepreneur legal skill or plan his job search to get one.
Every Lawyer should not underrate the value of networking. This is one of the keys to developing a meaningful interpersonal relationship with other Learned colleagues. A lawyer may also form a cordial relationship with judges. The essence of networking cannot be over-emphazised because sometimes it is not just about “what you know but about who you know and who knows you”. In fact, to succeed in the profession, you have to network to make name, make fame, and make money.
ON LEARNING TO BE A LEGAL ENTERPRENUER.
There are qualities needed to run a successful Legal entrepreneur such as excellent legal skills, great client service, and the ability to find and retain Clients. Lack of entrepreneur mindset has become a challenge for most Lawyers as they lack business development training during Law School.
The challenge of Entrepreneurship is the primary reason many talented Lawyers have chosen to be an employee forever. Therefore, in the future bar, Lawyers will understand the business side of practicing law, what it takes to run the firm, billing rates of works and other financial viability.