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A new dawn

By virtue of the 8th Schedule of the Nigerian Bar Association Constitution (Amended and adopted) at the Annual General Meeting held in Abuja on 27th…

By virtue of the 8th Schedule of the Nigerian Bar Association Constitution (Amended and adopted) at the Annual General Meeting held in Abuja on 27th August, 2015), is NBA Young Lawyers Forum both at the national and branch level.

Members of the executive committee (fondly called the Governing Council) of these fora are constituted by the president of the NBA. Likewise at the branch level, the chairman of the branch appoints young lawyers between one (1) to seven (7) post call years at the Bar as its own executive officers of the young lawyers’ forum.

Accordingly, at the Monthly General Meeting of the NBA Kaduna branch held on 3rd November, 2017, a new executive committee was constituted by the branch chairman, Suleiman Shuaibu Esq. Fumen Isaac Gandu, Esq was appointed Coordinator of the forum; Samira Maiyaki Esq Vice Chair, Sani Shehu Idris, Esq Secretary, Abubakar Mohammed Esq Asst. Secretary; Suleiman Kufena Esq Publicity Secretary, and Augustina Joshua Esq as Treasurer/Financial Secretary.

The establishment of the forum is to provide a platform where the voices, opinions, plight and challenges of young lawyers are constructively discussed. Welfare and security packages are sought for from the parent body, Nigerian Bar Association for young lawyers. Continuing legal education is also provided through summits, sessions and seminars to ensure professional growth, and also bridge the unhealthy gap between senior members of the legal profession and junior lawyers.

By statute, every young lawyer ought to be a member of the forum by registration. To register, visit www.nigerianbar.org.ng, download the registration form, fill and submit. In the branches, members ought to register with their YLF. This will help the NBA have a directory of all young lawyers in the country.

Sadly, not all branches have a young lawyer’s forum where junior members of the branch can come together and brainstorm towards professional development. Sadly too, not all law firms in the legal profession value the essence of the fora thereby discouraging their junior employees by restricting them from participating at the forum.

To my mind, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, A.B. Mahmoud (SAN) CON, ought to give a directive to all branches without an NBA – YLF to constitute one to encourage young lawyers’ participation in the activities of the NBA. There are quite a number of legal practitioners in the legal industry who are unaware of the activities of the NBA, same applies to young lawyers. If every branch can have her own NBA – YLF it would go a long way to encourage participation and access to the benefits of being members of the Bar. 

Active participation of young lawyers in the forum is a win – win situation for both the law firm and the junior lawyer. According to www.cross-scheck.com, there are 10 reasons why an entrepreneur should become members of an association, viz; access to education and training, enhanced benefits programmes, access to membership directories, competitive advantage, access to certification and licensing programmes, privileged access to industry events and conferences, potential cost saving inside access to innovation and new developments, opportunities to give back to the society, and networking. 

True, the above mentioned benefits may not apply to the current NBA – YLF, however if majority of legal professionals engage and participate in NBA activities, and also allow their juniors to participate actively, then we are half way through attaining all the listed benefits. There is also the charges of fees, dues and levies that are somewhat beyond the pocket of most young lawyers thereby making junior lawyers dependent of the law firm one is employed. The silver lining, take pride in the fact that the benefit accrued to being a member of a community of learned friends is a personal career development for the young law. Thus, a lawyer could sacrifice to pay the necessary fees for a greater tomorrow. 

There are certain development profile with the possibility to earn more income for a lawyer, like notary public, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to name a few. When a lawyer becomes eligible for such positions in the near future, preceding payments of practice fees, branch dues and participation are requirement that would be considered by the panel. 

It is for this reason that a lawyer should not wait upon senior members or employers to pay his/her dues, but work on his/her financial management to be able to meet up and contribute to the growth of the legal industry.



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