The Future of the Legal Profession in Nigeria Rests on Young Lawyers, Says Arthur Obi Okafor SAN

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Chief Arthur Obi Okafor SAN making his remarks at the summit

One of the key facilitators of the just concluded Eastern Bar Forum Young Lawyers Summit held in Port Harcourt Rivers state, Chief Arthur Obi Okafor, has described young lawyers as the building blocks for a virile and vibrant legal profession in Nigeria. Chief Okafor stated this while fielding questions from National Newstrack Correspondent at the end of the one day Summit with the theme, “Litigation and Auxiliary Aspects of Law: The Young Lawyer Inside and Outside The Courtroom”.

Chief Okafor maintained that any society that neglects the training of the successor segment of its population stands the risk of a stunted growth. He called on young lawyers to always take advantage of such continuing legal education opportunities to adequately horn their practice skills and become the confident successful practitioners of their dreams. He charged young lawyers to build up their capacity by embarking on a rigorous self development scheme that would place them in the strategic readiness for opportunities that would present themselves on their career paths.

“Young lawyers must of essence train and retrain. They must build their career through a rigorous self development regime to be able to cope with the fast changing face of legal practice. He must be attuned to modern trends, he must build capacities to become a global player in a fast geographically and spatially shrinking world. The young lawyer must get the necessary professional skills needed to survive in the competitive world of legal practice. His growth and success depend on how well prepared he is for the profession, so there are absolutely no two ways to a targeted education for a serous young lawyer,” the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said.

The Learned Silk hinted that the Nigerian Bar Association would have so much to gain in terms of sustainable development of the profession by giving priority attention to the career and welfare needs of young lawyers, adding that a well rounded association is one structured to produce generations of well trained, competent and forward-looking professionals.

“As an association, NBA cannot help but continue to train and retrain her young lawyers, expose them to global trends, give them the opportunity to peep into the future by opening the space for young lawyers at every level of the association. What our Association grows to become tomorrow is dependent on what we sow into our young ones today,” he emphasized.

Earlier in his remarks at the summit, the Governor of the Eastern Bar Forum, Chief Arthur Elvis Chukwu, stated that the Eastern Bar Forum was determined to continue to support young lawyers on the path of career growth. He admonished young lawyers to see themselves as the Future of the profession and embrace all the programmes set out by the EBF for constant training. He thanked Chief Arthur Obi Okafor for his support in ensuring that the summit held, and urged participants to make good use of the opportunity provided by the summit to learn.

Participants were exposed to the rudiments of litigation and given a rundown of ancillary career possibilities in a well received paper by National 2nd Vice President of NBA, Monday Ubani Esq. Mr Ubani charged the young lawyers to seek a robust and integrity-driven legal practice first and wait for the result which would necessarily translate to success and wealth. He warned that the urge for quick money would lead to unpleasant consequences, which most often truncate what would have been a brilliant legal career. He urged participants to develop career-wise, build up a name etched in integrity, confidence, deep knowledge, honesty and competence; and watch the world beat a steady path towards them.

The session, which was chaired by Prof. Ogugua Ikpeze also featured discussants. Discussing the paper, Chidi Henry Onyiuke, urged young lawyers to be courageous, be of candor, be cautious, and maintain comradeship, in what he termed “The 4 Cs of a good lawyer”. He maintained that a young lawyer who intends to gain any mileage in the profession must instill the virtues of honesty, courage and confidence, warning, however, that the young lawyer must hit the balance between courage and confidence and humility.

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