By Adedoja Adigun
Being a lawyer is hard work. While in school, I thought we were treated with respect, and even our school fees were different – more expensive. We were on the same level as the medical students. Law school was something else; it was tough but we persevered because we thought practise would make up for all the stress.
I couldn’t be more wrong just like an average Nigerian lawyer.
However, lawyers are paid really poorly. For instance, on the mainland in Lagos, you’ll be lucky to get paid fifty thousand naira; if not you will be paid thirty thousand naira. You’ll be extremely fortunate if you have a first-class and get a good paying job on the island.
The treatment lawyers get from their employers is disheartening; maybe because law firms are private-owned. The way the sole proprietors treat their workers is an open secret. No work incentives. You will even be lucky to get paid your salary as at when due.
One would ask: isn’t there a regulatory body? What is the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) doing? Is the body extant only to collect loads of cash from lawyers every year? There is the practising fee, seal fee, NBA branch dues, insurance fee and so on, but the NBA does nothing to help improve the working conditions of their members. That is really pathetic.
It is somewhat understanding that the medical profession whose employers are mainly the government are put in check when the medical practitioners feel that they need better working conditions. The owner of a law firm will plainly tell you to leave if you are not impressed by the working conditions and the circle just continues from one law firm to the other. For how long would this saddening situation continue? It is high time the NBA took the welfare of its members seriously.
We need the NBA to up its game and fight for a better working conditions and increase its activities toward the welfare of its members. What is the purpose of the association if not for the improvement of its members’ welfare? There is no better time for this issue to be addressed headlong than now!