Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. Gbolahan Elias has counselled young lawyers on how to set themselves up for excellence in the legal profession.
Prof Elias gave the guidance while speaking on the topic: “Challenges and Prospects for Young Lawyers in a Law Firm in a Developing Society” at the Annual Valedictory Session for the 2017/2018 graduating set of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State.
“More than 4,000 new lawyers will be called to the Nigerian Bar every year and there are already more than 100,000 leading lawyers who have all been called to the bar.
“When I got called to the bar in 1981, there were only about 500 that were called to the bar then but today, about 4,000 lawyers, that is eight times that number and all of you are competing in the market for jobs, for recognition and for everything else.
“It is a very daunting task. These large number of lawyers work in an economy that is more critical than it should be. Decent work for most of them are not readily available.
“Only a very limited number of organizations stand and do pay young lawyers well and are able to pay them satisfactorily while they are still being trained”, he said.
Professor Elias further cautioned the aspiring Lawyers to be guided by the rules of the game and desists from sharp practices.
“Do not think you will get away with cheating, with lying or in cutting corners or with self-centeredness. People will find you out if you have less than honesty and then you will become a subject of ridicule rather than a subject for emulation “, he said.
Elias further counselled young wigs to identify their area of strength and concentrate on it on it —rather than dissipating energy or trying to cover all aspects of law as it can never be covered.
“Do what you know is most consistent with your primary obligation and also what is within your grounds, things that you can handle and not just all the things that are thrown at you.
”I think passion is important, your primary obligation is also important and your own capability are also very important. These are the three critical factors that you must put into considerations”, he said.
Encouraging the young Lawyers not to be afraid when they make mistakes along the line but brace up as life achievements are not centered on the number of times one fail but how he was able to pick up the pieces together and forge ahead, the Professor of Law also admonish them to look for good mentorship, ask questions when in doubt, read books published by other legal experts to enhance their knowledge.
Earlier, the Vice-chancellor of the institution, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae asked the students to go to the Law School and be a good ambassador of the institution.
On his part, the Dean of Law, Prof. Rasheed Jimoh, charged the students on hardwork and discipline.
He admonished them to avoid acts capable of bringing disrepute to their parents, guardians and the institution that has contributed immensely to their academic advancement.