MY VISION FOR YOUNG LAWYERS FORUM TO SUSTAIN THE ASSOCIATION INCLUDES;
(2) SERVICE TO MEMBERS,
(3) SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY.
YLF membership, which has grown steadily over the last few years is expected to continue its steady growth. Over the next three years, the YLF must find ways to sustain and increase its membership.
SERVICE TO MEMBERS:
Professional Development: The YLF offers CLOSE TO 3 (THREE) CLE programs a year. By offering an abundance of free CLE programs on a wide variety of topics coupled with the networking opportunities. The YLF has had a competitive advantage over other CLE providers. This has attracted many lawyers both young and old, and has helped to build the reputation of the YLF. I have identified Internet-based CLE as programming that is necessary for the YLF to remain competitive.
Young Lawyer Involvement and Mentoring: The FORUM must continue to attract more young lawyers as members. While young lawyers are joining the sections and committees at a high rate, the FORUM must continue to address issues related to the WELFARE of its members the possible decrease of Young lawyers in the overall profession, and the lower rates of active participation in the NBA by young lawyers.
PROFESSIONALISM, COLLEGIALITY AND FUTURE OF PRACTICE: Members perceive continued erosion in civility and professionalism. Over the next ten years, the YLF must expand its leadership role in promoting professionalism and civility.
TECHNOLOGY: The YLF must implement technology enhancements for communicating with members and providing member access to information through the NBA website. While I suggest online CLE as a future need, there is a well-founded concern that if the YLF offers Internet-based CLE programs, it may result in fewer lawyers travelling, reduced networking opportunities, a lessened sense of community, and reduced revenues. The challenge for the YLF is to balance these competing concerns in a manner that best addresses the needs of its members.
JUDICIARY: The judiciary is an integral part of the YLF, with many judges actively participating in NBA conferences. Supporting the judiciary must continue to be an important part of the YLFs mission.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PUBLIC: The YLF must continue to make the public aware of its work and capabilities in the community and better communicate with the public though an enhanced website.
With such identified challenges, it would appear that the young lawyer will have to become more ingenious, determined and focused in his approach to his professional calling if he must make an impact either in legal practice. The question is how best can tenderfoot survive and excel in a field that seems to provide little or no rooms for a new entrant.
The Ylf annual summit has been a very good avenue for the gathering of lawyers ranging from 1_10 years post call. The summit which is usually done yearly tends to accommodate a platform where all branches concerned could bring forth their grievience and or challenges from various jurisdictions, and how the national body could help to solve most problems faced by the budding lawyers in the profession. The previous and outgoing leaders of the Ylf have taken the course of this vision to the top and in ensuring consistency and attention to the affairs and wellbeing of all registered and non registeted young lawyers. This avenue should however be reduced in my humble opinion to just once in 2years but the workshop being and which was started by barbara Omosun Esq ( Ylf national chairman 14-16) will be the best way forward in equipping the budding lawyers on different aspects of law.
- Send a questionnaire to young lawyers seeking input on what would motivate them to become active participants in the NBA and what the NBA can do to help them in their practices.
- Increase the number of social events that will provide networking opportunities for young lawyers, with a special emphasis on interacting with senior lawyers and judges.
- Increase the number of programs directed specifically at young lawyers (e.g., a Young Lawyers Series on trial skills or transactional skills; a series on opening a law firm and small firm management).
- Build on the current mentoring programs (develop programs to benefit young lawyers that will put them in contact with more senior lawyers).
- Collaborate with the sister bar associations to increase the number of diverse mentors for existing programs, as well as to compare best practices of the sister bar associations for more effective mentoring.
- Task section and committee chairs and vice-chairs to involve young lawyers and minority lawyers in leadership activities and on their councils. Consider assigning young lawyers to assist the chairs and vice-chairs in managing the sections and committees. Continue to appoint young lawyers to committees and give them specific assignments.
- To focus efforts at law schools to introduce law students to the YLF and encourage them to become active before graduation.
BUILDING A BETTER LAWYER
As a young lawyer, we owe it to ourselves to become a better lawyer – to constantly improve our skills -whether its our writing, our research, taking a deposition or arguing a motion. With an ever more competitive work force, getting by is a sure way of falling behind. To stay ahead of the curve, we should consider the following suggestions to build ourselves into a better lawyer.
We should evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. Start by being honest with ourselves. Sitting down with a pad and pen, and writing down a list of our strengths and a list of our weaknesses. Not being too hard on ourselves, and not being too easy.
ADDRESS THE WEAKNESSES. Pick one or two of the weaknesses, and commit to working on them for the next year. Set realistic goals on how we can overcome our weaknesses and commit to achieving those goals.
BUILD ON THE STRENGTHS. Pick one or two of our strengths, and commit to making them even better. If we want to set ourselves apart from other lawyers, we need to be a great writer and thinking outside the box for other opportunities.
FIND A ROLE MODEL AND EMULATE HIM. To get better, we have to find better counsels and do what they do. Is there a counsel you admire at your firm? Does he take killer depositions? Is she a great rainmaker? Study them. What do they do that were not doing? Just as importantly, what dont they do, that were doing? Whatever theyre doing, theyre doing something right. Figure out what that is and copy it.
READ OTHERS WRITINGS. In addition to reading others transcripts, read others writing. Read other counsels briefs, memos, motions, and letters to clients and other such documents. Study the counsels style, word choice, the arguments they make, how they make them and ask yourself if the writing convinces you, moves you, changes you. See what works and what doesnt, and strive to emulate what you feel works and avoid what doesnt.
STUDY OTHERS RESUMES. Visit the web sites of other firms, pull up the profiles of their counsels and study their resumes. See what theyve accomplished. What organizations do they belong to? What have theyve written? Where have they spoken? Counsels resumes show you what goals they have achieved. Looking at others resumes makes you think what goals you want to set for yourself and some ideas of how to achieve them. Perhaps you can get ideas of publications that accept articles from attorneys, seminars to speak at or organizations to join.
SET GOALS AND STRIVE FOR THEM. Ask yourself the question, “Where do I want to be five years from now?” Do I want to be at the same firm? Do I want to be a partner at the firm? Do I want to be considered an expert in a particular field of law? Ask yourself where you want to be, devise a plan on how to get there and execute it.
Never be satisfied. Never rest. Never be complacent. Never be satisfied with what you ve accomplished. As you stand still, others are running past you. Theyre getting better as you stay the same. Eventually, they will pass you and others will pass you, and your great skills, by comparison, wont be so great anymore. Strive for more.
*A lawyer, who by virtue of his or her training, perceived knowledge, and uncommon wisdom, is presumed to have knowledge not only of the law, but of every other discipline, professions , trade, and exposure to all manners of experiences which constitute a pool of intellectual resources available to him.
This presupposes that the Lawyer, either as a young Lawyer or not, is presumed to carry a measure of knowledge and skill that distinguishes him from other professionals of his class. A few challenges however confronts young lawyers in Nigeria today in measuring up to this ideal. This includes:
-cultural perception, Economic decline, increased competitive environment.
Abiodun Olajide Akinola is a Graduate of Law from Lagos State University Ojo, He is currently in Active Legal Practice. He has his LLB in Lasu in 2011 and was called to bar BL in 2012. He is an active member of the NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (IKORODU BRANCH). Provides corporate services covering company formation and operation, company searches, due diligence/ verification, as well as company secretarial services on an on-going basis. At present he is the legal adviser to Mark-Seven Investment Limited Ikorodu- Lagos , he Offers legal advice on defamation; sedition, the law on official secret; Employment matters such as Termination, Dismissal; Designes legal forms for prevention of fraudulent practices by staff and customers; Legal advice on contract, Advises on the Intra and Ultra Vires Acts of the company, Advises company on Tax matters; Advises company on the duties and responsibilities of Directors including Interaction with the external lawyers to the company, collated and supplied the requisite facts for the prosecution or defence of companys matters in court to the external lawyers; he has Good client relationship management skills and Good advocacy and negotiation skills. He was the Chairman of the Young Lawyers Forum of Ikorodu Branch, a member of the YLF National Governing Council (2014-2016) during the Chairmanship of Dotun Adetnji Esq (NBA IKD CHAIRMAN). He is Single and lives in Ikorodu