Is the Legal Profession in Nigeria Gradually Edging Towards Extinction? (I)

Olagoke Odubunmi

While the aggregate body for Legal Practitioners in Nigeria may be in self denial of or pretend not to know or see the signs of the earth tremor rocking the ground on which the foundation of the Legal Profession is built in Nigeria, so as to ascertain, prepare for and if possible avert the impending inevitable volcanic eruption which may consume the structure, we live in an era where a Legal Practitioner’s take home package can no longer take him home from the office, talk-less of offsetting his running cost.

In addition to this are other aggravating factors such as the gradual but consistent decline in the standard of practice; the encroachment by Professionals in other fields into areas of practice that were hitherto in the past exclusive reserve for legal practitioners; the advancement in information technology which has granted potential clients online access to certain information or services that were hitherto in the past provided by legal practitioners; In-sourcing of legal services by corporate clients to their legal departments to cut cost of engaging or retaining the services of external solicitors; astronomical increase in the number of legal practitioners in circulation vis-à-vis a consistent decline in the demand for remunerated legal services; and a general decline in the purchasing power of potential clients to engage or retain the services of legal practitioners.  In this regard, these episodes seek to appraise the organizational structures available to law firms in Nigeria, evaluate the current economic status, outlook and challenges confronting law firms and the Legal Practice in Nigeria vis-à-vis the survival mechanisms being adopted to stay afloat.

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We would also make recommendations on the need to enhance efficiency in organizational management, seek reform and acquire competencies in areas of specialization, and generally acclimatize to the changing environment and the changing need in the nature of legal services that will be required by clients in the ever dynamic and evolving world.

Olagoke Odubunmi LL.M, BL. Legal Practitioner and Tax Research Officer at Maples & Temples, Lagos.

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