The Fear of Judgement: Lawyers Hidden Nightmare


The Rules of Professional Conduct enjoins Legal Practitioners to carry out the instructions of their clients with utmost diligence and professionalism. The corollary effect of this is that a Legal Practitioner is not expected to be emotionally attached to whatever case he/she is handling. There is however a moment in the cause of carrying on the instruction (in this circumstance, I refer to litigation) of client where the emotions of Legal Practitioners take the better part of them, The Judgment Day.

I have not come across the lawyer who can boast of an 100% emotional detachment from a case he/she handled from start to finish. If you are able to maintain your cool from beginning, on the eve of judgment, the feelings would be mixed. I am in no way speaking of people who have supernatural powers to determine the unseen. I am also not referring to lawyers who though are at the bar seem to be closer to the bench than their Lordships.

The level of palpitation you would have as a lawyer depends on the nature of the case and what is at stake. For Criminal Defence Counsel, judgment days are usually filled with so much anxiety. The uncertainties in whether the Defendant would be convicted or discharged and the nature of sentence the Judge would pronounce (in the event of a conviction) form part of the nightmare.

For Civil cases, it is usually the fear of losing a client. The success of a counsel is usually determined by the number of cases he wins in court. At least this is the general perception. The monies and issues at stake in some civil cases multiply the seriousness of the civil cases and makes them rank over and above criminal cases.

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What is most important is for lawyers to be sure that they continue to stick to professionalism in the discharged of their responsibilities. A lawyer has no business giving assurances to client on what the outcome of Judgment would be.

As a lawyer, do your best, keep your calm and expect the best. After all, it is just another case file…


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