*Branches To Send Performance Reports For Assessment And Rating

The Nigerian Bar Association is arguably Nigeria’s foremost professional Association with a membership strength that gives it the tag of “Africa’s largest Bar”.

The Association through various leaderships over the years has remained resolute in the pursuit of her founding goals which includes the promotion and protection of the principles of the Rule of Law and respect for Fundamental Human Rights, probono services to the indigents of the society, advancing the quality and functional Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Advocacy and Progressive Jurisprudence, and defending the integrity and independence of the Bar and the Judiciary.

In other to domesticate the fulfilment of its core objectives within various jurisdictions spread across the country, the Association endorses and establishes different branches to further its cause. This system is validated by the NBA Constitution which provides that the NBA can operate branches herein referred as BAR BRANCHES and these branches are found in various states of the Federation. These branches are made up of lawyers practicing in a particular city, town or area as the case may be. These branches are expected to operate as extensions of the NBA at the national level; thus, they are expected to reach out to members of the bar at the grass-root level. Members of the bar at the branches do pay annual and welfare dues which are to be used to address the needs of the members and run the branch.

Notwithstanding the strides made by branches in fulfilling the ‘NBA Agenda’, there are a lot of members who remain insistent that NBA branches serve no utilitarian value and is of no practical benefit to their members. On several fora, NBA Stakeholders have claimed that the activities of branches have not been given the manner of publicity needed to keep the average lawyer informed and updated. It is in this regard that the TheNigeriaLawyer has decided to put out an assessment of branches of the bar to make available a log of top five branches that have done exceptionally well in the last two years.

Assessment Criteria

In order to objectively measure performing Bar branches, we have evolved measurable and identifiable metrics which are in consonance with the core founding goals of the Association as a body. In view of this, we shall be looking at the following:

  1. Welfare of branch members: We shall ascertain how well each branch has fared in taking care of the wellbeing of her members.
  2. Continuous Legal Education: One of the objectives of the NBA is to “Promote and advance quality and functional Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Advocacy and Progressive Jurisprudence”. This has led to the establishment of the NBA Institute of Continuous Legal Education, as well as other program initiatives to sharpen the skillset of Nigerian lawyers. Considering the importance of Continuous Legal Education (“CLE”) in maintaining relevance in this dispensation of digital legal practice, we shall score branches based on their strides towards the CLE of their members.
  3. Pro Bono Services: We shall also rank branches based on the quality of their interventions through the provision of free legal services to indigent and deprived persons within their jurisdictions.
  4. Defense of Judiciary: The judiciary in Nigeria is often at the receiving end of assaults from other arms of government. There is the need for the Bar to always stand in defense of the judiciary, and it is expected that branches will champion the protection of the judiciaries in their jurisdiction through advocacy, budget monitoring etc.

In similar vein, branches are expected to hold the judiciary in their jurisdiction accountable for the expenditure of budgeted and allocated resources. Also, they must stand to checkmate the excesses of highhanded judicial officers from compromising judicial ethics. We shall also rate judiciaries in this regard.

As we seek to conduct this assessment, we hereby call on all NBA branches to forward a report of their performance in accordance with the metrics listed above to TheNigeriaLawyer for an independent study and unbiased rating.

The reports will be the basis for assessing the branches and they will be reviewed by a selected cohort of independent reviewers. The deadline for submission of reports is 10th December, 2022. All correspondent should be forwarded to; editor@thenigerialawyer.com or thenigerialawyers@gmail.com

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