Daniel Bulusson

‘It is part of the irony of life that rats discover and utilise more escape routes in a home than the home owner.’

The key to financial liberation of a legal professional lies in the ability to earn income from different sources and avenues available in the legal industry. If all the eggs are not safe in one basket, how then can an empty pocket be filled with only one source of income?

When discussing “Alternative source of income” as a topic on its own, we say the financial independence of a legal professional is important for any lawyer who desires to remain in litigation because the availability of funds in the profession works in a funny way. One may have excess cash flowing into the firm or pocket this week and next week nothing comes in. This inconsistency in the steady flow of cash makes it paramount and necessary for a lawyer to have an alternative source of income.

Sadly, and quite unfortunately, considering the limitless opportunities being a legal professional avail, we have many lawyers whose livelihood is restricted to the monthly pay wage they receive as salary and have survived the world’s economic challenges on a manageable level with a comfortable legal practice. This begs the question; what growth is there in being comfortable with the comfort zone? The thing about comfort zone is that it can hold a person for a temporary period, but then, as life transforms, its value depreciates, and the comfort zone becomes uncomfortable for the occupant.

Therefore, I like to believe there are so many ways of making money as a lawyer apart from the monthly pay cheques an employee gets. It takes careful study of the immediate environment to see where the opportunity lies; there must be something a lawyer can engage in his/her society that will fetch the legal professional more income than the current account statement. We have placed too much reliance on litigation practice that we do not see the opportunities in the legal industry.

Research has shown that the advent of internet and Information Communication Technology (ICT) has produced more billionaires in dollars than natural resources; from Bill Gates, to Mark Zuckerbeg, Google, Amazon, Snapchat, Occulux to Virtual Reality and the likes. Likewise in the legal industry, the time has come for legal practitioners to be smart in thought and approach of the legal profession. We ought to encourage a “Softlife” kind of practice, not the other way round. Distancing ourselves from the illusion that to be successful in this business one must break sweat all the time, jumping from one place to another all the time solving clients’ issues with nothing to show for the effort. Know that, “The difference between the bricklayer and the banker is that while the bricklayer works hard, the banker works smart.”

I cannot tell a lawyer which area of law, business, or investment to venture into for alternative income. It is for the lawyer to discover on his/her own. Ask yourself, “What is that thing I can do that would bring extra cash for me apart from my monthly salary?” The answer you seek is within you.

The idea is to think outside the box of living a strait jacket lawyer lifestyle; doing the same thing all year round from 8am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays. The mind of a modern day Nigerian lawyer should be thinking towards taking a pause and observing if the current litigation inclined bandwagon can accommodate every lawyer on board, with the world changing at a fast pace beyond human comprehension.

In the hay days, a legal professional could wait 10 years for that life-changing brief to arrive at his/her desk, but with the speed of the jet generation, innovation, creativity, smart thinking, entrepreneurial goals and personal development are the new money.

Gone are the days one had to break sweat under the sun and rain to make a living. With a brilliant idea and a comfortable work station, one can actually restructure the flow of income into the bank account.

In sum, become a millennial lawyer, working smart daily, constantly engaging the mind on creative ways of earning more income than the monthly salary.

Do send your comment(s), observation(s) and recommendation(s) to danielbulusson@gmail.com or like us on www.facebook.com/younglawyerscolumn

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