Law and Practice: Why Learning the Practice of the Law should be a Young Lawyer’s Priority

Learning the practice of the law is not the same as learning the law. In my humble views, I am of the views that it might be the presumption that all lawyers know the law (since they passed through the higher institution of learning where laws have and or must have been taught) but it would be a wrong conclusion to presume that all lawyers know the practice of the law. More so, since the practice of the law is determined by the time and energy invested in the practice by the lawyer, I am of the considered advice to young lawyers by this paper, to always prioritise learning the practice of the law to money, especially lawyers in private practice.

In my humble view, there are many career opportunities in law. A young lawyer determines his ambition, even though in some occasions, the ambition turns out to being different from the initial ambition. Money is destined by God Almighty to come at its own destined time. However, practice is what has to be learnt and acquired with some potential. I also view that no one or law firm is capable of paying a lawyer salary and other emoluments that would make a lawyer fulfilled in private practice. That is why I view that it favours a lawyer to learn some practice trainings or pupilage in a law firm or a law office. The economic situation in Nigeria though has a great negative contribution, which makes it a matter of urgency for a lawyer who is called to bar to be in need of money as he is now seen as a lawyer, a noble man, a rich man, etc, by some of his family members, his parents, friends and others, because he is a lawyer. But unfortunately, he disappoints them by not having money to win their hearts. Also, I have observed that to some persons or families, the worst in-law to ever have is a lawyer. That is because a lawyer called to bar hardly makes money for some years, except by God’s grace. Medical practitioners are friends of the family because at least, he can make some money higher in percentage compared to a lawyer. Nevertheless, all these situations should not discourage a lawyer from his determination to learn the practice of the law.

Furthermore, it is important to note that there are lots of risks attached to a lawyer practicing the law without having learnt or learning the practice and the practice is better learnt by doing the practice, the situation which makes it very important for a lawyer to find a law firm or law office to first learn the practice of the law for at least six months and to find an instructor or mentor from whom he gets instructions or mentorship on how to proffer solutions to his challenges in practice. Nevertheless, I agree that there are some lawyers that are gifted of the practice of the law and who can actually cope along the way, but these persons are in very few numbers. So, on these facts, I would advise young lawyers to find a law office or law firm to be attached to for his pupilage even if the law office or firm does not have any money to pay, though it might seem very difficult to survive in such situation, I view that it is better than for a lawyer to remain in search of a job for six months without any. Even where the lawyer gets a job, he might be frustrated where he has no practice knowledge of the law. More so, it is still very uneasy to find a law office or firm to be attached to whether on paid or non-paid relationship. Then, he makes his money as time goes on, especially when he establishes his own law office or law firm either alone or in partnership with other lawyer(s).

Finally, I hope that this very brief write up is really understood and not misconstrued and that it would guide a young lawyer to be encouraged in learning the practice of the law at all costs.



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