Vulnerability of a Lone Wolf – Daniel Bulusson

Daniel Bulusson

“… when the snow falls, and the white wind blows, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives” – Game of thrones

In the hay days, and even till this current day in legal practice, legal professionals intending to establish their own law firm go into this venture as a lone wolf. They are in charge of every activity of the law firm. It is the belief that the best way to get things done, is to do it yourself and so many legal professionals start-up law firms with the intent to do everything themselves at the firm.

In my humble opinion, the snail-speed like development of the Nigerian legal practice is largely due to the many one-man established law firms in the country, rather than having law firms operated as institutions.  There are many reputable senior colleagues (God rest their soul) who, the moment they passed away, their law firms became a shadow of themselves – still existing but not as vibrant as they used to – because the principal drivers were no more.

There is no doubt that some of these one-man established law firms in legal practice actually do well, are an example to emulate, and operate at the peak of legal practice with their peers. However continuity of a law firm is only guaranteed when operated as an institution, meaning the law firm is bigger than one particular individual and has a structured system that the availability or otherwise of any lawyer does not affect the daily running of the firm.

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The daily activity of the jungle is survival of the fittest; every new day is a struggle for survival. The legal environment can be likened to a jungle, where every gentleman of the bar comes into the profession with the ambition to make it as a lawyer, make a name for him/herself, and carve a niche as we grow in legal practice. Many believe that the sure way to attaining the dream is to work alone, but the truth is, a lone wolf rarely survives winter. Nobody is saying the lone wolf cannot survive; it would however be more difficult for him/her than the pack of wolves.

This writer has observed that Nigerians don’t like to share profit with anyone, we prefer to run the lone race and make everything for self. Ironically, the fear of making less when you share cannot be compared to how much one would gain when working together as a team. It is my humble opinion that a client would feel comfortable paying N5,000,000 (five million naira) to a team of lawyers, than pay N500,000 (five hundred thousand naira) to an individual lawyer.

With the pace at which the advanced societies are growing, we need to change our modus operandi from the analog ways to the digital ways, if we will stand a chance of competing with them. Our society has through one lapse or the other hindered technology from taking its rightful place in our lives. I still remember that at the last NBA general electronic voting, some lawyers could not get accredited because they did not have an email. Just recently at a monthly general meeting of a branch, a lawyer suggested that minutes of meetings be sent to members’ email before the day of the meeting, and a lawyer asked about those lawyers who do not check their email, like seriously.

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It is sad that the current generation of lawyers with the opportunity of computers, smart phones, social media, and internet still conscript themselves to the analog way of operation. Establishing partnerships has been made easy with the advent of technology, but then if we find it difficult to revolutionize the operation of legal practice with the simple use of technology, how then can we embark on the herculean task of forming partnerships?

I say herculean because of the peculiar nature of a Nigerian man, we hardly love ourselves, not to talk of trusting one another, and the pillar of any partnership is trust, honesty, and loyalty.

We cannot wait for the elders of the profession to change the settings of the legal environment, they have played their part, the mantle is on us to expand the frontiers of law to fit contemporary times. We all cannot be good at litigation, likewise not all can fair well as solicitors, but then, we can be perfect working together as the strength of one, would cover the weakness of the other, and vice versa.


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Source: Daily Trust


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