Legal luminary, life bencher and former General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mazi Afam Osigwe welcomes the newly called to bar lawyers with a few useful tips on how to succeed in the profession.
Below is what he said to them:
The Call to The Bar ceremony commenced at the Nigerian Law School, today and will end on the evening of Thursday, November 28, 2019.
I join well-meaning Legal Practitioners and other Nigerians to congratulate those who have already been called to the Bar as well as those who will be called to Bar, on their call to the Nigerian Bar. The Call to the Bar ceremony is a moment they, their families and friends have looked forward to.
The new wigs laboured for and dreamt of the moment. From the first time they had a dream to be a lawyer, they booked the date and their success in the Bar examination has guaranteed them a place in the profession. Some of their mates and friends were not so fortunate. I felicitate with them.
On this auspicious moment, I cannot be share once more my good wishes to new wigs. Permit me therefore to share a post from two years ago:
As you join the legal profession, I enjoin you to serve humanity and stand out firmly for justice. Your call to the bar is a new start. You are no longer who or what you used to be. Each one of you now acquires a new age and a new status. You are now Ministers in the Temple of Justice. The legal profession is undoubtedly the noblest of all professions. It is as well a challenging profession which imposes on you a general responsibility to uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner. Your call to the Bar is therefore not an end, but the beginning of a lifetime professional journey. The way you begin and or commit to go in the profession will be a signpost to where you will end.
The legal profession is like a pyramid. Never worry that in climbing a pyramid, you would likely start at the base. The race to professional excellence starts this day. The profession offers several vistas. It depends on you to decide which path to toe and endeavour to master the skills and exercise patience to blossom in your chosen direction.
You should never be deterred by tales of how difficult and almost impossible it is to get to the top or to succeed in the profession. All lawyers who set out on this journey which you embark on today went down this same road. The road may appear difficult, daunting and insurmountable, but you will master and succeed in it. With focus, commitment, hard work, perseverance and grace of God, you will surely excel and get to the top of the pyramid.
To get to the zenith of your chosen path these virtues are very necessary – hard work, trustworthiness, patience, integrity, perseverance and honesty. Imbibing these virtues will sustain you in the profession as the profession punishes any erring lawyer for any contravention of any of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners or failure to perform any of the duties imposed by the Rules.
As you commence this walk which I have no doubt will someday lead you to the pinnacle of the pyramid, always remember to;
- find a mentor to emulate;
- value your beginning;
- read more;
- write better;
- acquire requisite skills for your chosen area of practice;
- learn to listen especially when addressed;
- observe and internalize proceedings;
- dress well;
- speak audibly and politely;
- invest your money wisely;
- learn to be humble;
- respect elders;
- protect your reputation;
- and above all
- keep yourselves abreast with developments in whatever you choose to apply your qualification to.
You can always reach out to others for advice and guidance on areas of practice and management, tailored to your individual needs in the profession.
I assure you, you will never regret your decision to be a lawyer as long as you understand that your destiny lies in your hands. I believe you will work diligently work towards your set goals.
I wish you success. You can be a success story. You surely, will. The sky is wide enough to accommodate all the stars.
I look forward to meeting you in the continuous quest to open up legal markets to our colleagues and to defend human rights while supporting our members within the domestic legal market.
Welcome to the Nigerian Bar.
May God bless you.