Ethics of The Legal Profession for Aspirants to The Nigerian Bar
Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN Publications
I was indeed elated when I received the invitation from the Faculty of Law of this citadel of learning, to speak to the students. This is because I consider every speech made to young people (not just aspirants to the Bar) as an opportunity to contribute positively towards shaping their future.
I therefore take such opportunities with all pleasure. I am very grateful to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Tahir Mamman, OON, SAN and the entire management of Baze University for the very positive roles they are playing in the lives of the younger generation. I am particularly grateful to the Dean, Professor Chris Ohuruogu, the management and entire staff of the Faculty of Law of this great institution for the opportunity and rare privilege afforded me to address Nigeria’s future leaders and to speak at the 1st Lecture in the series. I must also commend the Dean of the Faculty, for this initiative as it introduces law students to the adjectival aspect of law well ahead of time, as against the substantive aspect, which is what they are primarily used to.
It would be apt to also point out from the onset that, when I made up my mind to accept the invitation, the next puzzle that readily came to my mind was what topic should I speak on? So many topics came to my mind, each as important as the next. The first topic I considered was introduction to Arbitration and ADR. The clincher for me however, was the question I asked myself; how best to prepare aspirants to the Bar for the desired future? After careful thought and brainstorming, I chose the topic ‘the ethics of Legal profession for aspirants to the Nigerian Bar’ because, I sincerely believe that for a beginner in law, what I describe as a legal “foetus”, the foundation is always critical and of essence. The worth, quality, value and durability of a building is determined by the depth and strength of its foundation. If a builder gets it wrong at the foundational level, then everything else will be wrong. If the foundation of a legal career is mired in moral or ethical deficiency from the commencement, then such a person will likely not remain in our profession for long and even if he/she does remain, the person will likely remain a reference point for ‘how best not to be a lawyer’.