Tell us about yourself. My name is Prince Christian Dike. I am the principal Solicitor of Thrive Legal Consult, a law firm based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with adjunct offices in Lagos and Abuja. I am a goal driven and result oriented Legal practitioner. My passion for the legal profession spurs me to work tirelessly towards achieving set objectives, to the satisfaction of our clients. Academic Background I obtained my LLB from the Rivers State University, in Port Harcourt and I emerged as one of the best graduating students from the Faculty of Law. Thereafter, I attended the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar. I engaged in further studies and obtained a Masters Degree in Law (LL.M) from the Rivers State University with a distinction and I emerged top of the class; presently I am working towards obtaining a PhD in Law. I have been in active legal practice from my call to bar till date and I have obtained professional certification and membership of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Chartered. I hope to obtain other professional certification in the course of the year, to improve my capacity. Why your choice of law? During my secondary school days, it was a difficult decision for me to choose between Law and Medicine, because I excelled in both the Arts and Science subjects, but I opted for Law as opposed to Medicine, as a result of the fact that I could not stand the sight of blood, and I dislike hospital environment. The respect accorded lawyers in the society is also another factor that influenced my career choice. What is your alternative, should law not be the avenue for you? I would have been a footballer. I used to be a good footballer and as a growing boy, I could play football from morning till evening, however, my passion for the law has long overtaken my love for football, to the extent that I cannot even remember the last time I played football. What was your solo appearance in court as a new wig? As a new wig, I commenced legal practice in the law firm of Prof. Andrew I. Chukwuemerie, SAN and I can vividly recall my first solo appearance in court. The parties in the suit had settled and filed the terms of settlement, my duty was therefore to inform the court that the parties had settled and urge the court to enter judgment, in line with the terms of settlement. After making the application, the court graciously entered Judgment and I was elated, even if I did not participate in the earlier proceedings leading to the Judgment. Of course as a first timer I was nervous, but I got the job done.  What do you like most about legal practice? I like litigation and providing solution to complex legal issues. As a Litigator, I enjoy court room advocacy; in fact, I was one of the few lawyers who appeared in court on the 28th day of December, 2017; that is how much I love litigation. I derive so much satisfaction from providing solutions to complex legal issues posed by clients, in line with the law. When confronted with a legal challenge, I ponder over it and analyze it even in my sleep, until I can decipher the issue and adduce a logical and acceptable way out of the quagmire. What are the things that can help a person become successful in practice? Hard work, commitment, dedication and perseverance are essential virtues and desiderata for success in the legal profession. I am always conscious of the wise saying by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to the effect that: “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night”. A successful lawyer must work hard, work smart and always bear in mind that success is a journey, not a destination therefore complacency should be avoided as much as possible. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about a case, wishing you had done  something differently? If so, please describe one situation. (if any) No. I rather stay up at night to study case files and relevant law reports, to prepare ahead of time and come up with an acceptable case management plan and strategy. These strategies are thereafter subjected to review and fine tuning by likeminded colleagues before a final position is adopted to meet the needs of the client, bearing in mind the peculiar nature of each case. However, every Litigation lawyer understands that there are certain instances when things may not go as planned and when that happens, I’ll re-strategize, rather than stay awake regretting my actions because regrets do not help in any way. In what ways do you think the judiciary can improve on justice dispensation? It is self evident that the Judges in Nigeria are being overworked because the judiciary is understaffed. There is therefore an urgent need to employ more Judges across all levels, this will also enhance timely dispensation of justice and prevent the undue delay presently being experienced in Nigerian courts. Furthermore, the employment of stenographers and the use of audio recording devices will reduce the time spent by judges in writing in longhand and afford them the opportunity to keenly observe the demeanour of witnesses as expected of them. The Judges, (especially at the High Court) should also be enjoined to encourage amicable resolution of disputes, at the level of Pre-Trial Conference. Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) should not just be glossed over and overlooked as an unnecessary and merely cosmetic requirement of the Rules, I think the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules should also be amended to include PTC. Give an example of a time you experienced conflict or disagreement. How did you resolve this? (If any) I have faced situations where it was obvious that a conflict of interest will arise. A case in point was when I was briefed to file a suit by a client against a party who was also my client. I had to call the parties and we found a way to amicably resolve the dispute. Have you ever benefited from your disappointment/mistakes? Yes. I recall my days as a student; whenever I answer a question wrongly in a test or assignment, I take note of the question and the right answer so that if it recurs in the exams, I will not repeat the same mistake. The same principle is applicable to life in general to the effect that disappointments and mistakes are avenues for improvement. We must bear in mind that a person will eventually not be judged by the number of mistakes made but by the success attained. Therefore, a lawyer should not be discouraged by the fear of failure, mistakes or disappointments. Who has been most influential in your life? My parents, Mr. And Mrs. Christian C. Dike are the most influential people in my life. In the legal profession, I have been greatly influenced by Prof. Andrew I. Chukwuemerie, SAN who taught me the rudiments of legal practice and inculcated in me the virtues of hard work, discipline and perseverance and also, Funke Adekoya SAN (a partner in AELEX Legal Practitioners and Arbitrators, where I worked before setting up my law firm). I equally look up to other legal practitioners like Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, Chief O.C.J. Okocha, SAN, Okey Wali, SAN, Lucius E. Nwosu, SAN, Henry Odili, Esq. Prof. Nlerum Okogbule (the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Rivers State University), Associate Prof. Ritchard Aduche Wokocha and a host of other legal practitioners who have positively influenced me but cannot be mentioned herein due to time constraint. What do you have to say about the poor or no salary payment to young lawyer. I must confess that although some of us are favoured to have worked in law firms where the remuneration for young lawyers is quite encouraging, it is rather disheartening to observe that some young lawyers work in law firms where they are paid a paltry sum or even nothing at all. The senior lawyers are enjoined to encourage the young lawyers and motivate them by paying them salaries that are commensurate to their status as legal practitioners and their level of input in the law firm , because I have observed from my experience over the years that the young lawyers do the bulk of the work in law firms. A young lawyer cannot give his best with an empty stomach. Young lawyers are however enjoined to work hard and exercise patience because the harsh working conditions will only last for a while, things will definitely get better as they climb up the ladder. Are you better working alone or as part of a team? I am a team player, but my answer to the question will be dependent on the nature of the task at hand. In some instances especially in litigation matters, I prefer team work and I usually subject my work to critical analysis by members of my team, before filing the process. It enables us critique the process and harness the different dimensions of the process with a view to producing a watertight brief.]]>

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