The legal practice just as the words imply, is a practice. Also, there are lots of experiences that one as a lawyer learns in such practice, especially, the private practice.
That is why the writer of this paper aims at sharing some of his funny but bad experiences that he has experienced in the hands of some of his clients so that other lawyers would learn from such experiences and that those persons who have the tendency or the characters like those of the experiences shared would desist from such cunning ways of life. However, due to want of space in this paper, the writer of this paper will only make reference to just three (3) of those experiences in the following paragraphs.
The first of those experiences is as follows: one day, a lady called the writer of this paper that her boy friend has been detained in the police cell at the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department-Force CIID-, Abuja. So, the writer of this paper negotiated the fees for appearing at the Police Force in order to make arrangement for his bail. More so that she and her boy friend reside outside the FCT-Abuja. The writer of this paper asked her to make payment of the negotiated fees first before he renders the services, but she pleaded to give the writer of this paper when he arrived at the Force CIID due to the urgency involved. The writer of this paper took pity on her and her boy friend, after all, money is not all! However, when the writer of this paper got to the location, and after having rendered professional services to her, the lady had already met some persons who were actually misleading and influencing her not to pay the writer of this paper and that they have a lawyer who they would provide for her instead and that she should not pay attention to the writer of this paper, after the writer of this paper has already spent few hours! So, the lady refused to pay the agreed fees and the writer of this paper had to leave in annoyance with disappointment!
The second experience that the writer of this paper would narrate is a pro-bono criminal case. In that case, the Defendant being represented by the writer of this paper was charged to court with some offences. He was granted bail by an Area Court in Abuja and the bail condition was that he was to provide a reasonable surety with a traceable address and means of identification. However, due to his failure to meet up with the bail conditions, he was remanded in Kuje Prison custody and spent more than a month in the prison custody, where the writer of this paper had the opportunity to secure his consent to represent him as a counsel, because he did not have a lawyer to represent or defend him. In fact, for over two weeks, none of his relatives was aware that he was in prison custody, according to the facts of the case.
Then, the writer of this paper got all necessary details of his mother and traced her address to inform her of her son’s detention. He met the mother and narrated everything that has transpired. The mother promised to always offer five thousand naira as transport allowance, each time the writer of this paper would appear at the court in respect of the case. On the date fixed for trial of the case, the Defendant’s father came to the court to stand as a surety for the Defendant. The Defendant was then released on bail. Then, the writer of this paper escorted the Defendant to his mother to show her that her son has been released on bail and she thanked the writer of this paper, though, the Defendant is an adult.
The mother did not pay any fee rather, she narrated a story on how the Defendant’s elder sister just put to bed and how she does not have money and promised to provide the money after some days. More than a month after, she did not pay any fee. Then, few days to the adjournment day for the trial of the case in court, the writer of this paper called the Defendant’s mother to make the payment of the promised fee for him to appear in court. Rather than for her to make the payment, she started narrating another story that the Defendant has been sick and was just discharged from the hospital few days a go and as a result, they have spent so much money and that she does not have money to pay to the writer of this paper. She however promised to try her best on or before the day fixed for the trial. The father too refused to make payment.
Then, on the trial day, the writer of this paper was able to succeed in moving the court to strike out the complaints against the Defendant for lack of diligent prosecution on the side of the prosecution. So, the complaints were struck out and the Defendant was discharged. After the case, the Defendant himself was very happy and promised to pay the writer of this paper the said sum that his mother had promised to pay him but has failed to pay. He however pleaded that the writer of this paper should meet with his mother and explains to her that the case has been struck out and that he will then take his ATM card and withdraw money to pay the writer of this paper. Upon getting to his mother’s house, she was not around.
The Defendant asked a brother of his to purchase a soft drink to entertain the writer of this paper and promised to go and withdraw the money and get back to meet the writer of this paper and that where he was going to withdraw is a nearby location. Nevertheless, he did not notify the writer of this paper at the time he left. The writer of this paper waited for almost an hour but the Defendant did not return and he had no phone to contact him. Though, the writer of this paper did not take the drinks he was given, he had to take his leave with serious disappointment in the Defendant’s attitude and that of his parents, even though both of his parents live separately. Most surprisingly, up till the writing of this paper, neither the Defendant, nor his parents called the writer of this paper afterwards, even for an appreciation!
The last but not the least is a recent experience with a lady whose husband was arrested and detained by the Force CIID, Abuja, according to the facts narrated. A friend of the husband had called the writer of this paper and narrated the facts. Upon the agreement as to the fees for carrying out the required services, the man promised to deliver the writer of this paper’s mobile phone number to the wife of the man in question. So, the lady called the writer of this paper the evening preceeding the day of the visit by the writer of this paper and promised to pay the agreed fee when the writer of this paper comes around as it is very urgent. When the writer of this paper got to the location, he met the lady. He asked of the agreed sum.
Surprisingly, the lady who had earlier informed the writer of this paper that she had the said sum on her, informed the writer of this paper that someone else will bring the money. After some few minutes, a man arrived and the lady took excuse from the writer of this paper that the man is her husband’s brother. After having left the writer of this paper sitting for more than thirty minutes and without even returning, the writer of this paper had to inquire what was happening and to his surprise, the man that the lady introduced as her husband’s brother turned out to be a family lawyer, who has just been introduced to the police to handle the case by the lady. The writer of this paper had to take his leave disappointedly!
From the above narrations, it is the advice of the writer of this paper that lawyers should be very smart and careful while dealing with some of their clients especially, to device a workable mode of collecting their fees for any of the services to be rendered, even in a pro-bono cases as some clients are really very inconsiderate, stingy and distrustful, regardless of the efforts invested in the rendering of such legal services!
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