The President of the Nigerian Bar Association Mr. Paul Usoro SAN as part of his speech during the ceremony to mark the beginning of the new legal year/conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria charged the newly elevated Silks to ensure that their younger colleagues are paid well and treated fairly.
“The SAN rank elevates you to the position of role models and mentors and indeed trainers of the coming generation of lawyers. It must therefore not be heard of you that you do not pay your younger colleagues well or that you do not treat them fairly. As leaders, the younger members of the Bar and indeed all members of the Outer Bar look up to you for exemplary conduct; they look up to you for standards not only in comportment, advocacy and writing skills, spoken words, integrity, empathy, humility and other personal attributes but also in compensation packages to your junior colleagues and personnel. Do not forget, they need to be decently turned out to represent the profession well, they need to have a compensation package that takes them home, they need to feel your empathy through your compensation package to them. You fail in your role of training others and setting standards when you do not even have junior colleagues working with you in your Chambers and, worse, even where you do have such junior colleagues in your Practice, you do not compensate them well.
Talking about mentorship, it is impossible for you to mentor younger colleagues whom you ill-treat by not remunerating and/or compensating them well. It is of course correct that you may not lose your SAN rank on the basis of poor compensation of your junior colleagues, but you lose respect and dignity thereby and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria without dignity and without the respect of his colleagues – to wit, seniors, peers and/or juniors – is not worthy or deserving of the rank. In sum, the NBA again congratulates all of you for the honor that is done to you today and for making the mark as Senior Advocates of Nigeria. We wish you all of life’s successes believing that you will wear the rank at all times with distinction and panache.”
Culled from the Speech by the NBA President at the Ceremony to mark the beginning of the new legal year/conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria