Adekoya urges lawyers to com­bat quacks

Daily Trust - - LAW - Sto­ries by Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye

Leading lawyer and Se­nior Ad­vo­cate of Nigeria Mrs. Funke Adekoya has ex­pressed con­cern at the rate in which other pro­fes­sion­als and non-lawyers en­croach on the le­gal ser­vices sec­tor.

Speak­ing at the weekend, Adekoya warned that un­less this is checked, the spec­tre of un­em­ploy­ment es­pe­cially among young lawyers would per­sist and es­ca­late.

Ac­cord­ing to Adekoya who, as for­mer Nige­rian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA) 1st Vice Pres­i­dent, cham­pi­oned the Stamp and Seal project which would have pro­tected against in­cur­sion of non-lawyers into the le­gal sec­tor, “We are wor­ried at the rate of in­creas­ing un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment in the pro­fes­sion, with other pro­fes­sion­als brazenly en­croach­ing on the ar­eas of ac­tiv­ity nor­mally re­served for lawyers.”

She ob­served that es­tate agents now pro­vide le­gal ser­vices through ready-made ten­ancy agree­ments not drafted by lawyers while pro­bate staff have taken over pro­bate work and are the main in­ter­face be­tween ben­e­fi­cia­ries and their lawyers.

The Har­vard-trained lawyer urged lawyers to take up the gaunt­let in the fight against this men­ace, say­ing: “I urge you to en­gage with your Nige­rian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion branch, sec­tion and the na­tional body as to how we can con­front those pro­fes­sion­als who are en­croach­ing on the work of lawyers and re­claim our space.”

Adekoya a two-time NBA Na­tional Trea­surer re­mains added that newly qual­i­fied lawyers “of­ten do not pos­sess ei­ther the soft skills which make them em­ploy­able or the abil­ity to at­tract clients and briefs for them­selves.”

She warned that as an as­so­ci­a­tion of lawyers, “we are only as strong as our weak­est link. An un­em­ployed or un­der­paid lawyer does not en­hance the dig­nity of the pro­fes­sion.”

Not­ing the sug­ges­tion that the pro­fes­sion re-in­sti­tute a com­pul­sory pupil­lage pe­riod for new en­trants “dur­ing which they would fully im­bibe the ethics of the pro­fes­sion in a work en­vi­ron­ment,” the for­mer Chair of the NBA Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee urged lawyers to en­gi­neer ad­vo­cacy to re­dress these chal­lenges.

Adekoya also noted that lawyers “need more ro­bust in­ter­ac­tion on the Coun­cil of Le­gal Ed­u­ca­tion and an up­graded skills train­ing process,” adding that av­enues must be cre­ated by the as­so­ci­a­tion “to pro­mote the use of lawyers within the com­mu­nity, so that se­nior and ju­nior lawyers alike can all ben­e­fit.”

From left: Prof. Peter Akpe (SAN); Prof. Deji Adekunle and Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN), dur­ing the 35th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of the Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Ad­vance Le­gal Stud­ies in Abuja re­cently.

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