The legal profession is one with a lot of ethics. The legal profession imposes a duty on counsel to relate with colleagues (learned friends) with utmost respect. The Bar must respect the Bench, the Outer Bar must Respect the Inner Bar, the Younger members of the Bar must Respect the Older members of the Bar. These have been the long standing traditions in the profession and they have been guarded jealously.
The advent of social media has brought with it so many dynamics. Social Media has demystified a lot of things. With social media, you are in touch with the world, you are your own media outfit, you can say anything you want anytime you want it and it would be reckoned with by the world. You may even become so active on social media and earn yourself the prestige status, “Social Media Influencer”. I am not interested in discussing all these for now. One of the ills the social media has brought with it is the ability of everyone to hide behind an Android, IOS (and other OS) operating system to talk to anybody in the most rude and unethical manners.
With Social Media, there are hundreds of thousands legal groups on whatspp, facebook, twitter, instagram and other social media platforms. In some of those groups, you have Life Benchers, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Professors of Law, Legal Scholars and senior members of the Bar. Whenever there are debates on those platforms, you would develop palpitations when you see the manner in which some counsel, who probably just started practicing or are just getting to the realization of their call, address the Life Benchers, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Professors of Law, Legal Scholars and senior members of the Bar.
Apart from the uncouth behaviour of counsel in legal groups, it has degenerated to the extent that counsel go to the Social Media platforms (facebook walls, twitter handles, instagrame pages) of very senior members of the Bar to vomit unethical utterances. This is an issue which has to be addressed with extreme urgency.
I am not canvassing for the extreme punishment (name struck off the roll) against counsel who speak rudely to senior members of the Bar, I only wish that by some cautionary steps, the requisite respect which elegantly adorn the legal profession would be restored. I also wish that the Young Lawyers Forum (at National and Branch levels) would continue to remind their members of the core need for respect in the profession.
For counsel who are no longer within the definition of Young Lawyer but hide behind your smart phone to desecrate the profession with unruly behaviour, I can only pray that you have a rethink to your attitudes.