They lied to us. We were given the impression that once we become lawyers, life will be a roller coaster ride and as sweet as heaven.
We endured university and were excited to go to the Law school with the dream of living the ‘Big’ life. We were called to the ‘bar’ and alas the scale fell off our eyes.
In fact, new wigs as we fresh/young lawyers are called have little or no value in the profession. If you do not understand what I mean, picture that generic requirement employers include in vacancies.
‘Applicants must possess so, so and so number of years of experience’
We suffer the same fate; even worse.
We hardly get a ‘chamber’ or ‘firm’ (which we call law offices) to horn our skills.
For the lucky ones, the pay is rather dehumanising and discouraging. How do you then describe a situation where someone who had done 5 years in the university plus an additional grueling year in the law school earns N20,000 or less as salary?
Well I leave the answer to you.
Some law firms do not even pay at all. This is more common amongst our Senior Advocates. They say you are getting experience from them, hence they are supposed to be paid for that experience they impart on you.
Are you surprised? Wait for this!
I’ve heard a Senior Advocate say he doesn’t give a hoot about paying his lawyers. According to him, he had struggled and worked for his money; hence he was not going to spoon feed any baby of a lawyer.
I then ask myself, ‘are we expected to eat experience?’
At this point, it is then discovered that the so called Eldorado promised us actually exists only in our imaginations. Young lawyers have now resorted to carrying files around like graduates of other disciplines; submit CVs in organisations and establishments. Very unlike our medical counterparts.
With time, it is then discovered that practice (legal practice) is actually not lucrative to a young lawyer. For those in it, it’s either they have a strong parental support or possess a crazy determination.
The profession kills its young ones. It doesn’t encourage advocacy amongst the up and coming Lawyers. And just like a proverb that says ‘a deity that is not worshiped with young ones present will soon go into extinction’. The quality of the profession dwindles as days go by. Since the likes of Rotimi Williams SAN, Gani Fawehinmi SAN passed; we have not been able to fill the vacuum they left behind.
Furthermore, the young lawyer practically learns the Law afresh, almost totally discarding what he has learnt in the law school.
As a result, you find that most law graduates take corporate jobs (for the lucky ones) or go for their masters degrees. For some of us who have stuck with practice, we are but a few.
These seniors make you do all the work, with little to show for it in form of remuneration.
These are the very things and many more that make young lawyers take up some other paid employment, instead of the traditional practice in the law courts. Thank God the nature of our training enables us fit into any sector of the economy.
However, here is the good news, the profession just like any other human endeavor rewards in the long run if you can be dedicated and determined.
So to fellow young lawyers like myself who may be finding things pretty hard at the moment, I have this for you;
‘The world belongs for those who wait’.