Let me quickly say that I am not a “Bar Man” (don’t worry, as you settle down in the profession, you would know what that means). I am also not a “Bar Politician” (i am sure you can assume what that is). I am a lawyer, who has spent just few years in the profession but has seen plenty things.
You would have read some congratulatory messages from notable Legal Luminaries. Mark their faces, they would soon come back to you to deliver the real message they have for you. My Learned Friends, what is most important now that you have been called to Bar is what you make of your tomorrow.
Let me quickly remind you of the realities of tomorrow. You would be plunged into the labour market that is already saturated. The first reality is that no one knows in exact figure the number of lawyers practicing in Nigeria. But I am sure you would be competing with about 90,000 lawyers to eke out a living.
Contrary to the rumors that were being peddled some weeks back, you would not be engaging in a two-year compulsory pupilage, at least not yet. There are several options open to you. You must have been told that as a lawyer, you are versatile and by your training you have the ability to work in several places with several job descriptions.
For those who would begin to scout round law firms for employment, be ready to witness the shockers of the profession. Were you thought in Law School that no lawyer can pay the other? Were you thought that anyone who pays you as a lawyer is being magnanimous? Where you told that as a young lawyer, you are better of keeping your ideas to yourself because no matter how brilliant they are, you may just be told to swallow your thoughts. Be prepared.
For those who would be seeking to get employment in the top tier law firms, I hope you have bought your texts on GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, etc. Your qualifying exams would not be based on your knowledge of law, it would be based more on some abstract concepts that has no bearing to the Legal Profession.
If your intention is to work first as a in-house counsel, then the immediate challenges would be your lack of experience in “private practice” as this is usually a prerequisite for employment as in-house counsel. Aside for the requirements of organizations that require in-house counsel, it is also to your advantage that you get a stint of “private practice” before you go in-house. You surely don’t want to be scared to your pants each time your organization receives a “fire brand” Letter of Demand from your learned friends in “private practice”.
Before now, an option that would have been very apt for you as a new wig is to serve as judicial assistant to Judges and Justices alike. But we recently hear from Their Lordship that there is no provision made for Judicial Assistants. Those who manage to get one pay from their “meagre income”.
There is also an option of seeking employment at the MOJ. For this one, you can go back to your various villages to hustle for appointment.
Like I said earlier, you knowledge of the law may be used in various regards. Think outside the box, create your future, break the norm, dare the status quo, in all, stay within the bounds of professional ethics.
Let me however give you the joker. If you want to get an instant job, go to the social media, any lawyer you see there writing more than 5 words to welcome you to the Bar is your best bet. He would be more than willing to provide you a job. He has his intentions. You may contact me for his direct line.