Successful Lawyer: You Need More Than the Knowledge of Law – Tosin Ajose Popoola


Few days ago, I came across a post on social media; its either Instagram or Twitter, I can’t remember the exact social media platform, but the post resonated with me because ‘it spoke the truth’ and exposed the lies we have created for ourselves over the years. The lie has been spoken so often that it has unconsciously become the truth of others who are not willing to be honest with their success stories or better said some people have adopted these lies to stay modest. I will tell you about this post shortly.

 Generally, in this clime, when people are asked the secret of their success, they tend to attribute the secret solely to God, some are more generous and this generosity allows them to credit their success to God, diligence and hardwork…stories are abound of how they only sleep for 4 hours a day, how they read 10 books a week etc., I’m sure we’ve all heard the cliché.

I’m a woman of faith and I understand the place of God in the success formula; some have described it as the luck or favour factor, whatever you call it, its fine. Back to the post I spoke about, the post credit success to access to capital, influential relationships, rare opportunities, getting lucky, having a financial fall-back and a supportive network. This post totally dispelled the God + Hardwork = Success formula.

While the post is more appropriate for Entrepreneurs and Business inclined people, it’s not really apposite for professionals such as Lawyers who render majorly, services, this notwithstanding, there is a lesson to be learnt, shall we proceed? To drive home the lesson, I have picked 2 of the afore mentioned credits i.e. influential relationships and a supportive network.

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To be a successful lawyer, you need more than knowledge of law, you need influential relationships and a supportive network. The summary of it, is that you need people, you need relationships, so I ask a simple question; what’s your people’s worth? Take a moment please, don’t answer in a hurry.

Now, where are the ‘walking Black’s law Dictionary’? The ‘Encyclopedia of Judicial Authorities’? How about the ‘Recitals of Statutory Provisions’? O! yours is to cram up all new legal positions, apart from knowing the cases off hand, you also know their citations, well done! Waoh! You don’t cram but you fall in the category of ‘keepers of case note’.

Let me burst your bubbles, you need more than the knowledge of law to be successful. You need more than knowledge of the recent cases, the extant position, above God, you need people.

Yes, I said it people, bridges, relationships I hope you’ve heard that; ‘your people’s worth determines your net worth.’ Indeed, the saying is true.

Don’t get me wrong it’s good to know the law, the recent decisions, but far above all that, you need people, here is a word of advice, be good, be friendly, be courteous, nourish you circle, stay in touch, keep the bridges; don’t burn them.

With the advent of technology, it’s easier to keep track of friendships, utilize all social media platforms to the tilt, stay in touch with friends. Get engaged on social platforms, stay active on all relevant groups and chats forum, don’t leave that Primary and/or Secondary school WhatsApp group. Let me shock you, it’s easier to get client from your Primary and/or Secondary group than your University group, the reason is simple and it accords with common sense, friends on University platform are equally lawyers except where the legal services you’re rendering is essentially for lawyers.

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Here is another thought, have you noticed how the ‘not so brilliant class mate’ usually becomes successful, it’s because what they lacked in books they compensated for in people’s skills.

While we cannot jettison the place of diligence, hard work and faith among a host of other factors it’s important to maintain relationships and develop people skills while at it.

So I ask again, what’s your people’s worth?

Tosin is a Lawyer, Content Creator and Blogger she practices in Ibadan, Oyo State.


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