Former Nigerian Law School (NLS) Director-General, Dr. Tahir Mamman (SAN) has urged senior lawyers to pay living wages to young lawyers to enable them develop their potential as the profession’s future.
Dr. Mamman, a senior partner in J-K Gadzama LLP, spoke at the launch of the Young Lawyers Mentoring Scheme of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos branch.
He urged the young lawyers to be creative and innovative at the early stage of their call to Bar. He decried a situation where senior lawyers pay N20, 000 salary to young lawyers, wondering what they will do with such money.
Mamman said: “Your future is the future of the profession because among you the future Chief Justices of Nigeria, Judges and Justices of Superior Courts and other members of the bench will definitely be recruited. Therfore, you deserve to be paid living wages to reserve and promote the future of the legal profession.
“It is because of the importance of young lawyers to the profession that their law firms embarked on a nationwide robust mentoring programme for young lawyers of which the first batch will commence in Abuja next week.”
In his welcome address, the Chairman of NBA Lagos branch, Mr. Martins Ogunleye, said young lawyers were an indispensable part of the Bar, hence the branch decided to support them through the mentoring scheme. He hailed the pioneer Chairman of NBA Section on Business law (SBL), Mr. George Etomi, who was chairman of the occasion and the law firm of Olisa Agbakoba for their support in making the scheme a reality.
Etomi said law is life and that it cuts across every field of human endeavour. He said: “If you want to be great in the legal profession, you must work hard. If you think that you are going to cut corners anywhere, it is not going to work. The only thing you owe yourself to compete globally is hard work.
“If your skills cannot compete globally, you won’t get any job. Lagos branch being the biggest branch in the country must lead the way.“
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Kazeem Adeniji, who was represented at the event by Mr. Akintunde Eso, urged young lawyers to strive to always be good ambassadors of the profession.
The keynote speaker and Managing Partner of Olisa Agbakoba Legal, Mrs Priscilla Ogwemo, who spoke on “A law firm as a business” took young lawyers through the management of a successful law firm. She urged them to be innovative and take advantage of the social media to hone their skills
Mrs Joy Harrison-Abiola, Practice Manager of ACAS-law, urged young lawyers to build law firms that will outlive them. She noted that in foreign jurisdictions, there were law firms of over 100 years.
She spoke of “raising institutions and raising entrepreneurial lawyers, adding: “Vision and strategy are at the heart of every successful law firm; building capacity, strong knowledge base and specialisation are the essential qualities of a successful lawyer.”
Pa Tunji Gomez urged senior lawyers to teach young lawyers how to raise money to set up law firms.
“It pains me to see lawyers riding on Okada. I am disgusted seeing lawyers on Okada. These young ones should be taught how to access resources to start the business of law. Business lawyers make more money; so, if you want to be rich, become a business lawyer,” Gomez said.