On Lawyers’ Bill of Charges
I have come today, to address another issue on our unprofessionalism that would reduce the members of the “tell them” community!
See eh, this unprofessionalism in the legal profession cuts across every level. We are all “same of the same” (bros Jimi Agbaje’s campaign slangs that time remember?).
If there is any area that Lawyers (especially the younger ones) have failed themselves and brought untold hardship on themselves, it is in the application of legal practitioners bill of charges. (not like the bill of charges itself is even good enough. Topic for another day).
When you position your mind to the cliché “I need to survive”, you invariably sink below professionalism. As a lawyer, have you ever accepted something very ridiculous as legal fee for drafting a letter for client, tenancy agreement, deed of assignment etc. Have you succumbed to these lines; “Lawyer, I have a lawyer o, I just wanted to help you o; Barrister, the last time I did this thing, the lawyer collected far less than what am offering you o?; if you don’t do it I can always get a lawyer that would do it for less and bla da bla. Have you ever on the basis of lines such as the above been cajoled to settled for anything the client wants to offer because you don’t want him to go and give to another lawyer who would take less?
Are you in the category of those that accept just anything to prepare deed of assignment? Taking as low as less than 1% of the cost of property to prepare an agreement for a client? Do you want to hear the truth? You missed your call. Oya, goan look properly for a job that befits you. How can you descend as low as accepting 50k to prepare deed of assignment for a property worth 20 million all in the name of I want to survive. Are you for real? Like seriously, who did this to you?
Trying to hide under the guise of hustling to survive is the worst disservice you would do to yourself. There is no hustle, you have a psychological problem and you need urgent help. It is called poverty of the mind. Quote me anywhere, YOU ARE NOT BEING FAIR TO YOURSELF! Posterity would not be kind to you! Realize that having gone through the stress of law school and the prestigious call to bar and despite being a full grown adult, someone is just using your head.
Have you wondered about this? They pay you peanut to prepare letters, agreements, deeds and when they have serious issues of law, they know exactly the big shots who have value for their services. They would never remember that you are a lawyer. In my Oga’s palance, “you eat crumps” and the big deals are not for people like you! That’s how it works. In your shallow mind, you are reading this and you are abusing me. Wetin kosine me? Sit there and continue to eat crumps. Are you a dog? Biko wake up jare.
You that want to survive and struggle with traders collecting insult like gifts, have you ever asked yourself why Estate Agents’,( both professionals and the ones that did not see the four walls of a school) would not negotiate their 10%? As a matter of industry practice, it applies across board. They do not need any regulator to comply because they know it is for their good. And you are here claiming professional lawyer, blaming those that are not treating you right when you haven’t even treated yourself right. Abeg pack!
Your actions and inactions have affected so many of us directly or indirectly. I have had to turn down several offers from these mediocres that call themselves “helpers”. How on earth can you insult me with a ridiculous professional fee and on top of it say you are helping me? Do I look like I need help? Am I a destitute? Did you contribute to my training?
No reason is good enough for lawyers who degrade this profession by these unprofessional billing. If we all raise the bar and keep to standard and a client knows that the standard practice is percentage billings for preparing documents of title for instance, he would not cajole you into accepting 20k to prepare deed of assignment for a property worth 10m. He would at least be negotiating in percentage. It helps you and it helps others and we are all fine. But when they come to you and say “shebi it is just cut and paste” and you too like mumu agrees and accept crump it becomes a problem or please did you also cut and paste your certificates? If you ever wish your generation to be in this “noble profession” and all you wish to add is to become a lawyer-trader, your generation will curse you, posterity will not be kind to you.
If this one hurt you, biko when next a business man, Chief, Alhaji, client or whatever you call them come to you to prepare a deed of assignment, tenancy agreement etc. stand your ground and firmly let him know that it is the stipulated percentage or nothing! watch him walk away if he refuses to understand. If he is able to raise 100m to buy land and 10% of 100m to pay Estate Agent and another percentage to pay Surveyor do not be Judas, also insist on a fair charge! (Our ancestors, make una also try amend this 1975 bill of charges naa).
My Grouse – venting my frustrations!
Read: We are Lawyers! We are Unprofessional! Part I here
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