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Capacity building for young lawyers

– MahbuburRahmanMorshed {Essays on capacity building}.The business dictionary further helped in defining capacity building to mean planned development of (or increase in) knowledge, output rate,…

– MahbuburRahmanMorshed {Essays on capacity building}.
The business dictionary further helped in defining capacity building to mean planned development of (or increase in) knowledge, output rate, management, skills and other capabilities of an organisation through acquisition, incentives, technology, and or training all with the aim to sustain development.
In the legal profession, simply put “capacity building is developing the lawyering skills of a legal practitioner with tools such as training and incentives, the overall result being positive contribution to the growth of the legal profession.”
The educational framework for building the capacity of a young lawyer should not be limited to the knowledge gotten from the Nigerian Law School, instead there should be continuing legal education through seminars, summits, conferences and the likes to better the skills of a lawyer.  In some law firms in Nigeria, the capacity building of junior lawyers is restricted to the experience they get on the job, the fear being “why train someone that would eventually leave the firm?” when in truth, any positive improvement to the practice of a legal practitioner is a positive improvement to the legal profession.
A senior lawyer at the Young Lawyers Forum annual summit in Abuja said a man leaves a place to seek greener pastures but tends to stay longer in an environment where he is well treated, meaning, the fear of losing the lawyer a law firm trains can be curtailed by how well the firm treats the lawyer employee, the end result being the growth of the Law firm.
The upside to capacity building for young lawyers is ‘it needs not be expensive to accomplish’. The Nigerian Bar Association has different mediums that help in one way or another to improve the skill of a lawyer, from the annual general conference, the young lawyers’ annual summit to the section on Business Law and the likes which confer CLE credits unit on a legal practitioner.
A senior lawyer in Kaduna jurisdiction once said to me, “junior lawyers are not willing to learn that is why certain law firms don’t engage in capacity building”.
Respectfully sir, I beg to disagree. A young lawyer in active practice, who loves the job or does it as a means of livelihood would not refuse an opportunity to increase his skills if given one. The only young lawyers, if any, who would turn down such opportunity, are those who are in the profession just to while away time pending when something ‘juicy’ comes up.
Due to the economic challenges faced by a young lawyer, achieving individual capacity building comes second to basic needs in the scale of preferences and so places a heavy financial burden on him, and it is not that the young wig will not like to acquire the knowledge. In institutionalised law firms there is emphasis on building the lawyering skills of juniors by encouraging training methods other than experience on the job.
It is the reality of life and creation of God that all fingers are not equal and so, it would be unfair for this young wig to say the same should apply to all law firms because whether we like it or not, we have small law firms struggling to find their feet in the profession and have young lawyers in their employment.
Having said that, law firms can encourage capacity building in their own little way by paying for young lawyers’ practicing fee, conference fees and other similar dues which would ordinarily be an impediment to their capacity building.
If a law firm invests in the capacity building of junior lawyers, it stands to benefits greatly from the knowledge acquired by the lawyer, and if after training and adequate welfare of the young lawyer, he decides to go, consider it a contribution to the growth of the legal industry. ‘No knowledge is wasted.’
To my Muslim friends, may the blessings of the Almighty fill your life with happiness and open all the doors of success now and always ‘Barka da Sallah.’

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