Diary of a Lagos Rookie Lawyer (1): My First Baptism of Fire


My name is Cece. It is short form for Cecilia. I am by all means and with utmost humility a very young lawyer. I love to keep my hopes high even in the midst of damping realizations, but was I ready for this surprise? Hell…

I graduated from one of the Universities in Nigeria, so, I didn’t have to do Bar Part I. So it happened that we all went to law school for our bar final with so much hopes. My call to bar was the happiest day of my life. I had pressured my parents and siblings to contribute for my Chancery  made wig and gown direct from the UK. Well as I did not travel to the UK for my LLB, I deserved a UK wig and gown. My dad, a veteran lawyer who has seen it all. He sat in his corner and said to me; “child, you don’t need a UK wig and gown to be successful in this practice”. Ok, you know what? I have a friend in Ghana, they make good wigs and gowns there; I would order the best for you.” How I felt disappointed. They all would not just understand that I, Cecelia Eyisi have become a Lawyer! Very simple but complex for immediate family to comprehend. I had my plans. These unappreciative family members cannot dull my shine. It has to be a UK attire. I have to be different. And wait, I was told there is also a skirt and jacket specially made for a female lawyer to become the complete gentleman in skirt. So I brought one more request. At this stage dad had it! And for the first time in one week that I kept the house hot with my bragging of having just made it to the league of barristers and solicitors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he shouted at me. “CECE GET A GRIP OF YOURSELF! You are not having imported wig and gown and you are not having a skirt and jacket. You would go with me to Mr. Nat’s shop and you would pick the best wig and gown there and we would go to the best boutique in town for your black suit! That is final.

Well the above line brought so many drama but to cut a long story short, the goddess in charge of luck distribution came my way, my maternal uncle Henry, proud uncle of the most ambitious lawyer in town did it! I had wig and gown ordered direct from Chancery Wigs UK and of course a one of its kind collaret with my skirt and the jacket in toes to cap it, I dazzled. Alas, I am ready to take over the world I heard myself, whisper to my body.

Within this period, I got my call up for my NYSC and there it was, “LAGOS” starring back at me as I perused my call up! It is a synergy of all the positive forces in nature to favour the newest wig. Lagos here I come! From camp, somewhere in Iyana Ipaja, I flew to Abuja for my call to bar with other proud and very enthusiastic Learned colleagues. The hour to be glorified had final arrived! We would wear the gown, and adorn our gorgeous neck with the collaret and finally crown the goodhead that brought the victory with the beautiful and the almighty wig! The world was finally mine for the taking. Indeed my hopes were high. I fantasized about my first court appearance, my office, my colleagues, the very thought of being paid salary! OMG! The excitement was palpable.

Call to bar over, I returned with others to Lagos to be deployed to our place of primary assignments. All doctors were sent to hospitals and I was waiting for all lawyers to be sent to law firms and courts.

When I got my posting letter, I genuinely assumed there was a mix up and I didn’t waste time to return the letter with a little disappointment in my tone. “Sir, there is a mix up, this letter says I am posted to a primary school? Sir, I am a lawyer.” He looked at me, his gaze expressionless, his gait well poised and then his voice broke the short silence, “really? Very good, come with me to where lawyers are attended to.” I followed!

… to be continued.

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