Prof Konyinsola Ajayi SAN

Erudite Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Koyinsola Ajayi has said that Prof. A.B. Kasunmu has been able to leave a stamp on time.

This he had said about A. B. Kasunmu KJW SAN in a Lecture titled ‘Conflation of Time: Analogue Practice& Digital Reality’ which he delivered at the Professor’s annual Lecture, (A.B. Kasunmu) at Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, on the 11th day of July 2018.

Talking about the lessons to be learnt from Professor Kasunmu, he emphasized the need to discuss the topic at such a time like ours, adding that Prof A.B. KasunmuSAN, himself led him to it, for he is a lawyer of all seasons. According to him, this giant has not conflated time, unlike the Bar and Bench on which he stands.

Speaking on the sub-topic, ‘setting the scene: digital realities’, the erudite professor stated that we live in a post-industrial age, one driven by technology and innovation, where you will be replaced by a robot if you do not stop being a robot: a slave to the past, as demented by unsavory ways of the present, clutching on straws of precedent (an adjective), rather than rely on precedent (the noun). According to him, the interplay between law and technology no doubt trickles down to the legal profession, bringing to it digital reality – yet the practice of law in Nigeria is still analogue, and its practitioners still living in conflated time – giving robots (be those machines, software, apps, or foreign lawyers) the reason to break the three fundamental laws of robots as presented to us in I-Robot.

Stating the merits of innovations as it affects legal practice, he highlighted the negative impact of such technology in legal practice. This he had emphasized among other things.

“Advances through innovation has infiltrated the practice of law and can affect us for good or bad. Advances could create jobs, but take away jobs we have today. Robots may displace us in the legal system, and apps may be found to have better meaning to users of the system and society at large.

“I-Robot brings home another truth. Today Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used by professionals all over the world to improve on daily tasks – the law is not spared. Hence, artificially intelligent legal solutions, such as Kira Systems, eBrevia, Wevorce, IBM’s Watson and ROSS Intelligence, are reshaping the legal market in other parts that are awake to the season and not taking “time” to be fixed in “judicial precedent”. While, [one must applaud the literary brilliance of Alex Proyas and creditworthy performance of Will Smith], it may be hyperbolic to suggest that robots would at a moment’s notice suddenly wipe out every professional in the hopes of taking over the human race – sight must not be lost that more or less in one fell swoop, innovation – like revolutions, ensure that old things are passed away, and all things are new, paraphrasing Paul as he was led to put it in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Speaking on analogue practice, he noted that the legal profession in Nigeria is in danger of extinction because of our conflation of time – and this is not just about technology! Giving some examples to buttress his point, he affirmed that the overwhelming evidence, [as we know it from the teachings and writings of Prof. A.B. Kasunmu SAN] is that legal practice in Nigeria is very much analogue.

He further highlighted sub-heads like innovate or die: the legal profession’s last stand, the law in society – where technology is in power, the people rejoice, among other things, and argued by way of conclusion that in spite of the fact that time is an ever rolling stream, Prof. Alfred B. Kasunmu KJW SAN, has been able to leave a stamp on time.

“Sojourning from far away Ilesha, he returned near home: Ile Ife, to drop his anchor in that ever rolling stream – law and justice – producing some of the finest minds in this clime, even if they are identical twins that make many of us think the time is conflated. The need for renewed thinking in our adjudicative practices and renewed methods toward the practice of the law are not forced concerns. They are reflective of the world around the law, the world in which our jurisprudence develops. As we have seen with industries who have folded in the face of technology, it has become clear that the survival of the practice of law, and the courtroom adjudication of same, is predicated on the ability for the law, and those who are its ministers, to embrace technological advancement and utilize it in the practice of law.

“In a brief history of Prof A.B. Kasunmu’s work, the evidence, he taught, is that the relevance of yesterday’s solutions for the problems of the future is now inadmissible. Let us all learn from this gentle giant of the mind. With a full body of hair in his head at 84, firm skin, retentive memory and sharp skills – he is a man blessed with yesterday’s joy, and yet experiencing tomorrow today – seeing all his children, are lawyers doing well in his eyes.

“As blockchain technology, internet of things and artificial intelligence proffered advice redefines productivity, profitability, and sustainability, we cannot afford to conflate time in law. As we encounter 21st-century realities, can the Bar be online and the Bench by 3D Printing? The conversation is on a redefinition of the legal landscape. We all have to get into it for the truth is time is not conflated – our profession is and as a scholar Dr. KUK Ekwueme would say it is a paradox of contradictions,” he said.

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