Barrister Monkey Jacket

“As a young lawyer, make a name first before seeking money because when you make the name, the money would come”  Yunus Ustaz Usman {SAN}

What is in a name? Is it true that a name describes the personality of a human being? Is that why we hardly see anyone bear Judas Iscariot or Jezebel? Is a name really that important to the human race? A good name it is said outlives the bearer of the name, it then means that a ‘name’ is fundamental to the personality of a person.

A name is a non- verbal communication tool that reveals a person’s outspoken attitudes and emotions, in simple words, it reflects the character traits and feelings of a person. A name is a powerful piece of who we are, it gives an immediate and accurate insight into one another. It is agreed that a name is not all of who we are, yet, we are someone quite different when our name changes. That is why we are happy and sometimes speechless when complemented and angered when called insulting names, because we feel one is a true representation of who we are and the other is not.

The same applies in the legal profession, names like late Chief Rotimi Williams {SAN}, late Gani Fawehimi who was popularly known as Senior Advocates of the Masses {SAM} before he became a learned silk, Chief Richard Akinjide {SAN}, Chief Afe Babalola {SAN}, Femi Falana {SAN} amongst others who have successfully carved a niche for themselves and have become legends that young lawyers now aspire to be like them, these Great names were not achieved in a day, they all started from somewhere, they were one time Law students before becoming one year post call and so on till their accomplishments.

A name is sooner lost than won, it takes years of diligence, determination and commitment to build a name with reputation and a split second to demolish. The great names of the legal profession had their own fair share of obstacles and challenges when starting, were resilient, paid their dues and are now reaping the bountiful proceeds that would last a life time.

It is settled that the travails of a young lawyer are daunting and numerous, yet not a reason to falter to the wrong path. As lawyers, do not be misled by thy romantic desires to acquire wealth rapidly at the expense of a name, wealth that comes quickly goes the same way and leaves the name in ruin. The legal profession is not easy, it is mentally and emotionally tasking, it is bored and tiresome and doesn’t pay well are all a passing phase that an advocate must encounter on the journey to the top.

At the beginning it is rough, you have many files to attend to, little or no money in the pocket to motivate you to work, to add salt to injury, briefs meant for young lawyers are being hijacked by non-lawyers and tout, your parents are expecting you to start fending for yourself as the ‘Barrister’ that you are, yet you have nothing tangible to show for the years of reading. This could sometime be frustrating but Gold is gotten from dirt, it is in the midst of all these that a lawyer needs to carve a niche to forge ahead in this noble profession.

To be successful in the legal profession, one must have the patience of Job {in the bible}, a willing spirit to learn, must not possess a desire to win at the expense of justice, must not be tempted to engage in sharp practise for “Our wise acts accompany us through life to help us”, don’t personalise the case of a client at the expense of a good relationship with fellow learned friends, the client would come and go at the end of the case but a colleague always remains and as my principal partner would say, “everything you need to excel in the practise of Law is in the Rules of Court”, just study and comprehend.

The name a lawyer makes in the legal profession at the beginning of practise is what generates the client base he needs to survive, thus, his fees. It is that asset called a ‘name’ that would give a  lawyer the right connection to meet the needed right people. ‘Get a good name first and all other things shall be added unto you’

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