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Don’t just take a bow!

Last week, we discussed how senior lawyers can encourage ‘capacity building for junior lawyers’, this should not be interpreted to mean a young lawyer’s capacity…

Last week, we discussed how senior lawyers can encourage ‘capacity building for junior lawyers’, this should not be interpreted to mean a young lawyer’s capacity building is solely dependent on the seniors though the responsibility primarily lies on the firm, but there are two sides to a coin.
This week’s article intends to talk about how a young lawyer can develop his own practise by himself with little or no support from seniors and despite the welfare challenges of a young wig. ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves’. It is saddening to see young lawyers who find themselves in litigation restricting their practice to carrying files, law reports, statutes books et al to the court and just taking a bow when their appearance is announced in court.
While we cannot deny the fact that certain law firms due to their modus operandi don’t allow junior lawyers to announce appearance alone until a particular post call years or years spent in the office, we should also keep in mind that a case is not only won in the four walls of a courtroom as ‘office preparation also plays a vital role’, get involved.
Young wigs should not be satisfied with the 30 days make 1 pay rule by being content with the office desk from 8am – 5pm doing nothing of significant effect in front of a laptop. A lawyer’s skill is intellectual by nature i.e intangible and with facilities like a furnished library, office desk and a comfortable environment such skill can be properly harnessed. Abraham Lincoln once said all a lawyer needs is a desk, books and a typewriter; now we have laptops, computers or tablets that can perform the functions of typewriters, use them wisely.
This generation of young lawyers is opportune with the 21st century invention of easy accessibility to the internet which provides a lot of information that can be helpful to the development of a young lawyer, all you need do is ‘ask google’.
Another means of expanding knowledge is to travel out of comfort zones from time to time to discover other methods of practice, going out of jurisdiction helps open doors to realising what a young lawyer lacks in his jurisdiction and work towards developing same.
Networking is another means a young wig can develop his legal practise, one holy book says ‘do not forsake the gathering of men’, so also young wigs should not forsake the gathering of young lawyers, be it official or social events. Mingle amongst peers with intent of learning how young wigs from other jurisdictions and specialisations are coping in the legal profession, while at it don’t forget to carry a complimentary card.
A young lawyer in his bid to achieving capacity building must always be well dressed and smartly presentable to interact with every class of the society. A non-lawyer who walks into Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for the first time to register a company limited by shares and is told he requires the service of a lawyer, if two young lawyers are standing in the hallway, one dressed in suit and tie, the other in jeans and polo T-shirt, without being told they are lawyers, who do you think the potential client would approach first?
To say a young lawyer’s free time should be devoted to building his practice is tantamount to stopping a train by standing in front of it, ‘impossible’. However, the grooming stage of legal practice avails one the time to discover areas of law that excite him and concentrate effort on developing the said area. That being said, a young wig ought to understand that free office hours if any, can be utilised to develop legal skills.
It is undeniable that most young lawyers are facing challenges at the work place which make the profession look tiring, hectic, boring and unfruitful. Irrespective of these challenges young lawyers should not be discouraged to improve their practise by whatever means available to them.
Truth be told, experience on the job is key to improving practise, however a young wig should not restrict or depend solely on the firm for capacity building. ‘How well you turn out tomorrow in the legal profession lies in your hand.’
Deacon Dele Adesina (SAN)  at the Young Lawyers annual summit said time wasted doing nothing as a young lawyer is already gone, but the time ahead can be changed.

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