Diary of a Lagos Rookie Lawyer (9): Meeting one of the “Privileged Clients”

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I ordinarily would have gone straight to the “privileged clients”, but how can I not tell you about my good times when I bother you so much with my bad moments? Let’s start with my Monday.

It was one of those mornings that by themselves are awesome! I woke up with a “Lipton” feeling (they are not paying me for this advert o). Everything was looking up.  It is that type of happy feeling that comes for no particular reason. I was joyous on a Monday morning. I sustained the spirit until I arrived the office. At the entrance to the Lawyers’ bay just facing the stairs to the penthouse, I lifted my head and saw my portrait on a beautiful frame with an inscription; “Lawyer of the Month”. I looked at the front desk and she was busy praying. I turned and there was nobody at sight, I ran straight to my desk up the stairs blushing all over and waiting for all the attentions that I would get for the day. In fact, SAN is going to give me a handshake and if I am lucky I would get a “daddy hug”. Truth is, I love this place.  Serious works done in such a relaxed and friendly environment. You are working and you are not feeling the stress. I think they trained for this. Lawyers here work their asses out and are just happy doing so. Regardless of the day of the week, it seems that there would always be one thing or the other to celebrate. It is common place for you to get into the office and see something wrapped on your desk or just see the office assistants distributing very short papers with inscription. “Lunch is provided.”  In this place, people work hard and play even harder! As frequent as the Partners travel, they come back with loads of gifts always. Is it part of the office policy? I am yet to find out.

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Long story short, I was given plenty accolades. I got hugs from everyone around. SAN, the four partners, the Associates, even the “beautiful one” is beginning to like me. To what I did to deserve the celebration, I honestly don’t know which exactly but I know I have done a few good deeds over the past two weeks. The euphoria of Monday kept me in very high spirit all through the week.

To the second event and the caption for the day. I am learning so many things here. The dynamics of the practice, the myths and the realities. The clients’ dos and don’ts; everything! The firm is filled with people that want you to succeed. So, it depends on what exactly you are looking for.  On one of those goofy days, I learnt that some clients are too dear to SAN’s heart and you cannot mess with them or their cases. Why? I asked. “Because SAN has known them all his years of practice and they believed in him when nobody did.” So, I was told that even if these categories of persons do not have money to pay for their services, they are given top notch legal services without complain. Hmmm!

On Wednesday, I met her.  One of the privileged ones.  She is an Alhaja and she has her shop at Idumota Lagos where she imports fabrics. She was hysterical when she entered the office. From my desk at the far end of the stairs I could hear her shout so loud.  I never thought in my widest dream that a person making such noise would get beyond the small client interview room. How wrong!

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She was coming upstairs straight. She walked passed us and called one of us by his name; “Segun Ba wo?” SAN daa?  She asked without actually expecting Segun’s response because she did not even wait for it. She headed straight towards IOD. If you do not know how SAN is approached even by some of us, these things may not make sense to you. Well, even  IOD only stood up to greet her not to carry out any routine courtesy. Once inside SAN’s office the three of us were summoned. I sat and watched her drama.

“SAN can you imagine that little greedy igbo boy? (Referring to the bank manager of the bank that sued her), after I helped him to save his job? He had the gut to sue me.”

“Is he mad? He took me to court to take over my house. Does he know how I got that plot of land at Banana Island?”

“Does he know how I developed that property?”

“It is his mother that would be sent out of her own house at old age not me.”

Alhaja went on and on and I did not hear SAN excuse himself to attend to something else. Very strange.  I did not observe SAN make that popular face that says “am done here!” He just watched calmly and smiled. After a while he spoke;

“Alhaja please calm down, you are getting yourself worked and it is not good for your health.”

“Let me assure you of one thing Alhaja, nobody will take over your house while I am alive.”

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We took her brief and left while she continued to complain to SAN.  Her case; “Manager went with a proposal to give her a N100 million naira loan to import fabrics for a duration of 3 years. She took the loan. According to her, she has been paying money into the account and she knows that she would have almost liquidated the sum. Only for her to get a letter indicating that she is owing the bank about N470m.  Alhaja  said she called the “stupid” Bank Manager and he started saying the bank has to be correct. She had not recovered from that before they served her court processes. Well, that was her story.  Security for the loan is her twin duplex at Banana Island where she lives.

About an hour later SAN by himself saw her to the car and came back throwing his two hands up in the air, he spoke: “Guys please sort Alhaja please! And everyone chorused “Yes Sir!”

I heard all the stories of Alhaja and SAN and my take home is simple. To all men be kind regardless of class and status. The young lawyer today most definitely may be the titan saving your head tomorrow.

Alhaja’s case is getting about 80% attention and has the Apex Team on the lead.

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