The legal profession is a very lucrative profession indeed. Nevertheless, there are challenges. These challenges have a lot of ways through which they affect people’s view about the legal practice and the legal profession as a whole.
When a lawyer is called to bar and enrolled, there are many expectations but unfortunately, the reality defeats the dreams. Golden awards are expected but situations become very hard and difficult as though there is no hop for success. This paper is a word of courage to young lawyers not to lose hopes and to always be strong and firm especially at the time when hardship is playing out, as it will definitely become improved in no time.
As a young lawyer, you desire to have a new latest car of your own, a well-furnished house of your own, a latest fashion design in your appearances, among other dreams. You desire to live a standard way of life. All these you are entitled to as your share in this world. Nevertheless, there is the hardship where there is no employment coming your ways that could pay your bills. Applications for employment in their several numbers have been submitted but no one is forthcoming. You could not even secure a law office to practise. This is another headache. To even pay your house rent is a great scare. Feeding is very difficult where there is no sponsor for the first few years of being a lawyer. Life becomes very difficult that it becomes very unbearable. You then find yourself queuing up at bus-stop waiting and waiving at commercial motors as passenger and being bound in four (passengers) at the back seat and in two (passengers) at the front seat. Dusts are always worn on you like clothes. All these becoming like the contrary of the dreams for success that you already had for your life. To worsen the situation, you could hardly get a senior lawyer to even discuss with or seek for help. No family member, no friend and no senior lawyer to assist you out of the situations in the hard-time. Yes, it is true! The situations might be like as narrated or the worst of them. The truth is that, the joyful time is coming very soon! Just make yourself available by equipping yourself for that time which comes in no time.
If I am to advise young lawyers, I would say that whether rich or not, so far you have desired to remain in private practice, try to take up pro bono criminal cases as an extension of the National Youth Service Corps Legal Aid Community Development Service-herein after referred to as the NYSC LCDS. This pro bono though, in many times, you are likely to sponsor the case with your own money even from the beginning to the end, is likely to lead you towards fulfilling your dreams in the legal profession, you have to just bear the situation and be strong and be tough remembering the statement that ‘when the going gets tough, only the tough get going!’. So, you must continue to bear the situation and attend capacity building programme which exposes you to other areas of the legal profession and practice. Do not lose hope! It will get better! Be prayerful to God too!
Furthermore, try to get a senior lawyer that you can call upon for legal advice and guidance! Nevertheless, be selective in selecting your role model or mentor. Be very careful of choosing a jealous and envious senior as he could breach your trusts in him! Rather than bring you up, he might (whether consciously or unconsciously) not proffer to you solutions or pieces of advice that could lead to the fulfillment of your dreams and you might take a long time to discover his real intention or nature. I must tell you that in my search for mentorship, I have met both the jealous and the well-wishing! It is indeed a dangerous path! Some seniors, with due respect, are there to always discourage you and criticize your actions may be just because you are a junior (please note that your being a junior is not a barrier) and they rather than adding value to you, take advantage of your inexperience and vulnerability. You must beware! It is not really because they are lawyers, with due respect to them, but because of their various bad trainings and exposures. So, choose among those who would add value to you without taking advantage of you! They might feel that you are succeeding in practice than they do and they would like to lure every of your opportunities to themselves! The same thing happens in public service! I can tell you from my experiences in the public service as a Counsel!
Furthermore, you may decide to select a law firm where you can manage for one or two years to get more exposures about the legal practice, the risks of lawyer-client’s relationship, among others. Then, money in the legal practice in my humble view, is not the money that you are paid while working in the law office rather it is what you earn for yourself as a lawyer. So, let your aim in the office be for experiences and exposures and not really for money regardless of the hard-time. So, these experiences and exposures can be the reason why you may decide to resign from a law office but not in a law office where you gain those two whether with money or no money, though, money is important to meet up with immediate needs.
So, in hard-times, you must be hard! Also, if you desire to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, you know that you really need to start very early in litigation. The litigation process is taking almost more than forty years in some cases to be done at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, so, you must start very early in practice!
Finally, it is my belief that if you keep to the professional ethics, and be strong and tough to bear all the hard-times, you will have a time soonest to thank God for His mercy for having made you a successful lawyer or person in life. This piece of advice is just a bit, you are advised to think deeper than this paper has exposed you and be properly guided. In any case, I had said it and I shall say it hear again: I am always ready for any young lawyer that requires my legal guidance at any time as much as I can.