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Sunday, June 7, 2020

A Tale of Survival and Tribulations of Middle Age

A colleague works at a law firm in Onitsha, earns ₦25,000 monthly and his boss forbids him from taking personal briefs. Another in Awka earns ₦30,000, resumes at 8:00am and goes home at 7:00pm without permission to run personal briefs. Sometimes he doubles as personal driver to madam's kids. The colleague in Nnewi who is about 7 years post call survives on the benevolence of a priest friend who gives him rice and yam every month. Despite working in the law firm of a SAN, he has nothing to show for it all these years.

Can one survive on such payment package in this country? Won't you suffer mental stress while on the job?

While I do not blame the principal in chambers because I understand the nature of creating wealth for a services based industry, I believe they can do more to help young lawyers capture better opportunities.

Most law firms in the east do not have an online presence. I have tried in the past to recommend the legal services of a very good friend who practices in Anambra State to another friend in Detroit who needs something to be processed back home. He was surprised there was no website for him to look up the details of the firm, their practice areas and staff.

Building a website isn't expensive these days. If you can't build one, you can get a landing page. That's a good way to start. If you have a site, one of the junior lawyers can be writing weekly legal articles on the site or be doing something that gives them exposure to the outside world. They need professional digital footprints.

I understand the cost of setting up and running a successful law firm is no walk in the park. I have tried to avoid the argument of how young lawyers are exploited because truth be told, there's always two sides of the divide and you may never know till you're in the driver's seat.

I have seen some lawyers in Anambra who are trying to rewrite this narrative and build a proper brand out of their firm. This is beautiful. I believe more firms can tow this line and give young lawyers under their employ better digital opportunities.

The training to become a legal practitioner in this country is a very expensive and time consuming one. But then the remuneration and career trajectory doesn't balance up in many cases. And then you wonder why thousands of people still apply every year to study law.

I believe things can still get better because we have more tools and opportunities to get it right going forward.

This is a beautiful profession and regardless the many hurdles along the way, it is still worth it.

Till we get to the Promised Land, I shall be waiting for when you will pass me a glass of water and thank God for the gift of grace for the race.
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