Today, I give the floor to my friend and writing buddy! Here he comes shooting from the hips! Enjoy and do drop a comment and subscribe to get notifications of new post via email. 

Emmanuel Okonkwo

            Emmanuel Okonkwo

So at the beginning of our careers as lawyers, we all heard the same shit! Sorry, a lawyer must watch his language. Anyways, in your days at the university after the miracle of passing Jamb in such a crazy and corrupt education structure as Nigeria, you began to live the life on the assumption that you have arrived. Towards your final years you realise you have to sit up because Law School is at stake. Anyways, God was with you and you scaled through.

As a young lawyer fresh from Law School and after your call to the Bar, you send out your curriculum vitae to those big firms hoping for the good jobs and huge pay. Months walk pass you, and suddenly the lamentations of your dreaded prophet, your wicked lecturer, is feared and you begin to pray. Church programs begin to recognize you and almost all secretaries in the metropolis become familiar with your curriculum vita. The next thing you know, your choice of law firm drops from the big to any busy law firm, even if it is a jankara sole practitioner.

Then surprisingly one of such firms calls you up and you scream “Alleluia” God has answered my prayer. After your interview, the pay is announced to you and then that great famous advise is re-iterated “Concentrate on Learning the Law, Don’t mind the Pay! It will come later!” The point as you know is – how do you eat? How do you change your clothes? How do you not look hungry and ass-licking? How do you remain noble amidst poverty? How can the brain even concentrate to learn or practice the law (never mind you sometime know what they don’t)?

Take a pause. You want to know the truth? Your mess-up began in your university days. Face it, big firms take only the best or close to the best, and since Nigeria is such a blind country, its blind employers see only your certificate/result as the prima facie evidence, nay, the conclusive evidence for shortlisting in the interview.

That is why you prayed so hard and never got same and then you got the smaller ones not so much because of God (Please stop blaming or bothering God who only intercede in uncontrollable or heavy yoke) but because this is the early path you choose against his advice through that Jeremiah Lecturer, your parents, siblings, friends, et al.

Bitter truth? Hear more. During the Law School days at least, you ought to have known who is who and where is where. But you were probably busy flexing around and making poor use of your technological gadgets. You are always taking steps when the stone has hit your feet.

Oh, common, Big firms don’t say that shit above, sorry noble lawyers, rather what they do is that they start you up with a good pay and work out your life for the firm. So while you have money for buying daily needs or wants, and while you are learning and concentrating on the law, the social vibe, the pride of the youth, is gradually extinguished!

This sad end you do not want for yourself, for still in these big firms, you realize that freedom is far; that needs and expenses grow as you grow and that the pay is no longer commensurate. Some stay hoping to be partners which they never become. Some remain average all their lives not even a bit above average. Again, this is the fate such persons have chosen.

For it is during that stage that wise friends come together and have a formidable partnership having been building on their clientele (not their bosses for this is not noble). Some go on a solid Sole-practitioner-ship. At the end, hard-work plus wisdom, paid off.

Now I know you probably didn’t like my bluntness. I didn’t like it either when my experience and my mind told me the truth, besides I was chilling out when the Legal Fido invited me to write. If your boss tells you that shit, sack him and say – what rubbish!

About Emmanuel Okonkwo: (The guy surely is loaded)

Emmanuel Okonkwo is a young dogged and resourceful accomplished legal practitioner. He has his degrees in Philosophy and in Law and could be reached on emmanuelokonkwo2013@gmail.com.

He is an active member of the Nigerian Bar and a Legal Practitioner seasoned in the practice of Litigation, Intellectual Property, Corporate-Commercial Law, and Constitutional law/Human Rights/Labour Law.

His love for knowledge and writing propelled him into becoming an author. He is a Guest-editor/Writer for International journal for Research and an Author in Amazon. He has published many works and written many, legal and social works which includes:

Whispers from the Desert, Osu caste: A Critique, The Jurisprudence of the Right to Cultural Identity in Nigeria, The Conflict in Islam, Human Rights and Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria: The Need For a Confederal System of Government, An Appraisal of Nigerian Legal System in the Light of Savigny’s Philosophy of Law, The Right to Vote: a consequence of the right not to vote, et al.

His hobby includes playing chess and directing music.

Postscript: Contributions are welcomed from other readers of the blog on their experience as either  lawyers, law students or other members of the society on their experiences with or views about lawyers. Peace.

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Maduka Onwukeme is an Attorney, Creative Writer and Business Consultant. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook or on Linkedin

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