Private Legal Practice in Nigeria: Beyond COVID-19 by Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, Esq.

The pandemic Corona Virus Disease-herein after referred to as Covid-19- has become a global disease which has affected almost all the global economy(ies). The private legal practice in Nigeria is not left unaffected by the said Covid-19, especially, lawyers in the private practice sector. Both seniors and young lawyers have been duly affected. The Nigerian Courts have been shut down except for very urgent matters, among other negative effects of the Covid-19. This paper is aimed at calling on lawyers in the private legal practice in Nigeria to think, prepare, plan and work beyond the Covid-19. The Covid-19 has come by the grace of God Almighty, it shall in no time be over by the grace of God Almighty!

In my humble view, it is important for lawyers in private practice to use this time as an opportunity to assess their current manners of practice. It is no doubt that this Covid-19 has a great negative effect on the private legal practice. Very soon by God’s grace, the Covid-19 shall be over. After Covid-19, what is next should be what lawyers in the private practice should find answer to.

Furthermore, the young lawyers should not be distracted by this Covid-19 as loss of hopes! No hope is ever lost where there is God Almighty! Everything must have happened according to destiny- whether this destiny was made to happen as a result of natural cause or man’s self-inflicted cause. The most important thing is for all to take up his determination and should not be discouraged in meeting up with the targeted goals. The Covid-19’s period is not a time to relent or be defeated rather, it should be a time for true determination and focus. So, beyond the Covid-19, what focus do you as a young lawyer have?! If you have any focus, please where there is life, there is hope!

Also, this Covid-19 should be a time where the private law offices should further look into the manners of the operation of the office. The office’s lockdown due to the Presidential order must have had a great negative impact on the office. Nevertheless, the office must plan ahead of this situation so as to forestall any devastating effect whatsoever might be the case in the future. More so, it is most possible that some law offices might not be able to fulfill their financial obligations to their staff (both legal and non-legal staff) due to the lockdown’s negative effect on the business. 

Furthermore, the Nigerian Bar Association needs to have more stringent plans for the welfare of its members. It is understood that this Covid-19 had occurred all of a sudden and rendering some institutions handicap. This will ensure that there is plan for unforeseen circumstances like this at any time and to ensure that its impact is not devastating to its members and the Association as a whole.

Finally, it is my advice that there is need for a more proactive plan by individual private law practitioners, law offices and the Nigerian Bar Association beyond this Covid-19. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria! 

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