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Miminum wage or not

Be that as it may, the legal profession prides itself as a self-regulatory body, distinct and unique in its organisational structure that the issue of…

Be that as it may, the legal profession prides itself as a self-regulatory body, distinct and unique in its organisational structure that the issue of minimum wage for young lawyers is sure to spark up strong reactions from both sides of the coin.

Just with any concept, the issue of minimum wage is faced with both advantages and disadvantages (pros & cons). but since the need of many far outweighs the need of few, it is that which supersedes in reason that matters. It should be borne in mind that young lawyers have no intention to buy Jeeps or mansions, but get just enough to sustain their life needs.
One school of thought is of the opinion that young lawyers benefit more from the law firm than the law firm benefits from the young lawyers, as such the young lawyer should be satisfied with any amount the law firm sees fit to give as salary. The other school of thought believes the input of a young lawyer no matter how little is valuable to the law firm and endeavours to pay the equivalent of his labour in wages.
One major hindrance to the issue of minimum wage is jurisdiction. What is average pay in one jurisdiction, let’s say N30,000 (thirty thousand naira) may be termed little in another jurisdiction and vice versa. How does one peg an amount that would be considered average and satisfactory in all jurisdictions?
Many law firms employ young lawyers in large numbers with the aim of exposing them to practice which is more productive than sitting idle at home. If and when minimum wage is imposed, these law firms might not have the financial resources to employ more than the necessary hands to make profit for the firm, resulting in more unemployed young lawyers.
Another obstacle to minimum wage is the fact that the true income of most law firms cannot be determined or ascertained and when imposed, certain law firms which pay far above the minimum wage may decide to reduce their pay  to the minimum wage.
Change is not an enemy, the issue of minimum wage posed by this writer is only fair and necessary to the development of the legal profession. Many law students are scared of becoming practicing lawyers in the Nigerian legal system due to the enormous travails encountered by young lawyers. The question on these young minds is: “why work for someone who pays as little as nothing when a multinational or government agency can pay far better?”
What lies between a law firm and a young lawyer is a quid pro quo relationship; the law firm benefits from the young lawyer just as much as the young lawyer benefits from the firm. You can force a donkey to the stream but you cannot force it to drink; if a young lawyer is unwilling to learn due to prevailing strenuous circumstances then teaching loses its value. A comfortable wage at the end of a hectic month is a strong motivator to getting the best out of a young lawyer.
A principal partner who without any regulation, duress or pressure voluntarily decides to pay young lawyers in his firm an average sum of N50,000 (fifty thousand naira) cannot turn around and start paying N30,000 (thirty thousand naira) because it has been made the minimum wage.
Minimum wage, if imposed would alleviate the hardship of young lawyers who give their best to the improvement of a law firm and yet, are paid little or nothing to take home.
Young lawyers are not expecting to be paid exorbitant and flamboyant pay checks, just enough financial assistance to afford basic life amenities, considering the amount of time and resources spent in becoming a lawyer, it is only fair that young lawyers are protected from exploitation by certain law firms.
For interactive session with ‘Young Lawyer’ please follow on twitter @bulussdan

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