Ever wondered why there are very few briefs coming to lawyers? There are so many threats to our jobs and incomes. They include but are not limited to the following:
TELECOMS LAW: Lawyers are expected to wait for the clients but these days, the Telecoms companies are taking law to the clients. Ever got the SMS offering legal tips for as low as N50 per SMS? Say messages like “get legal tips by sending legal to 222, SMS cost N50 per sms”. You would say how much is that but for Telecoms companies with millions of subscribers, it’s a lot of money. Majority of Nigerians also see legal fees as being too exorbitant so it’s Telecoms law to the rescue. With N50 you get legal advice through your phones (that is taking the service to the client). While lawyers are barred from advertising, the Telecoms companies are free to advertise their offer of legal consultancy services via SMS for so low a price and strangulate lawyers the more. Serious bad market for lawyers!
PASTORS: They have a hold on virtually all aspects of the members of their congregation’s lives to the extent that the threat “you will be hearing from my lawyer” no longer scares the average Nigerian. Just say “you will be hearing from my pastor” and that does the trick. To recover a debt these days, a pastor does it better than lawyers without hassles; no courts or fights but of course
10% of the recovered debt which is tax-free is paid as legal fees (sorry I meant tithe) to the pastors. When you hear that parties to a suit are seriously exploring settlement, check well for a pastor could be involved. Even in divorce cases, the Judges are bound to ask the parties if they have met their pastors for possible settlement. So seriously consider a theological training in addition to your legal training.
THE FOREIGN JURISDICTION CLAUSE: It’s such a pain in the ummh! where it hurts most. Nearly every big contract contains a foreign jurisdiction clause in the event of a disagreement. Whether such disputes are referred to arbitration or settled by litigation. Jobs and incomes are lost, filing fees too and the requisite experience is exported. Funny enough Nigerian lawyers draft these agreements which export their jobs to foreign jurisdiction. Hmmm! The usual Nigerian spirit of exporting things we need and importing things we don’t need. Lawyers are truly Nigerians.
So now you know why the legal jobs are getting fewer and why our incomes are depleting, the question is “what are you gonna do about it?”