Lawyers are Professionals, Not on Essential Services

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Lawyers are Professionals, Not on Essential Services
Workaholic

The year is gradually coming to an end. Most organizations and institutions are winding down their operations. With the risk of being wrong for lack of adequate statistics, Friday 15th December, 2017 would have been the last work day for most organizations. The employees in those organizations would only be required to resume on the 8th of January, 2018. I would assume this is the standard.

Some Law Offices have directed that the firm would only be closed on the days designated as public holidays in the country, that is 25th and 26th December, 1st and 2nd January. Every other day, counsel are expected to be in the office. In essence, there is nothing like “close for the year” in those offices.

I really do not have a problem with a law office which intends to convince itself that it is a busy office and must psychologically impose same on its counsel. I also do not have an issue with an office that is “truly” busy and needs the attendance of counsel during the festive period. However, here are a few things which much be put into consideration.

Man works according to the mood of the season. For instance, during the court annual vacation, it would take an extra motivation for an advocate to prepare pleadings and briefs of argument. In a period when all that is in the air is discussion about rice and chicken, how prosperous the year has been, it would require extra motivation for counsel to stay in work environment.

What is more worrisome is that some of the offices that insist that “we don’t close for the year” really have little or nothing they are keeping counsel back for. Better still, whatever task may be “outstanding” would fall within the category of those that can wait till resumption in the new year. Alternatively, the “outstanding” task are those counsel may be able to sort from home. Where it is very pertinent that a physical presence in the office is required, the office may even come up with a counsel attendance schedule which would afford for counsel to attend the office in this festive period in turns.

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The counsel I really feel for are those practicing in Miles away from where their families live. This festive period is a time to stay together with families. When such counsel are told by their law firms that “we don’t close for the year”, it would sound like a death sentence has been pronounced against such counsel.

What is more, with all the sudden deaths of lawyers who were rather presumed very strong and healthy and stories about just how much damage the sedentary nature of legal practice does to the body, shouldn’t periods such as this be considered sacred for the lawyers’ health?

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