An aspirant for the office of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Welfare Secretary, Mr. Ikechukwu Maximus Ugwuoke has commended Bar Leaders, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN and Chief Anthony Mogbo SAN for their support for young lawyers.

Noting that some senior lawyers “are doing their best” to ameliorate the challenges facing young lawyers, Ugwuoke said: “I was delighted to learn of the recent opening of application for Afam Osigwe SAN Courtroom Mail Prize for Young Lawyers.

“I am also aware that earlier this year a member of the Inner Bar in Enugu, Mogbo SAN paid the practicing fees for all young lawyers from all the branches of NBA in Enugu State. Such gestures are highly encouraging to young lawyers.”

Describing the initiatives as “quite commendable,” the aspirant said that “More of such gestures are expected from very senior members of the Bar and more especially the Senior Advocates of Nigeria towards encouraging the young lawyers.”

He noted that the challenges that young lawyers face in legal practice are well known to all senior lawyers “many of who passed through same challenges in their early days of practice,” and said that “it is unfortunate that many successful senior lawyers tend to either forget to render assistances to young lawyers or concentrate only on the welfare of the young lawyers that are working under them.”

According to him, “The challenge of one young lawyer anywhere should be a thing of concern to all. The young lawyers of today are the senior lawyers of tomorrow and their welfare need to be taken care of so that they can realise their aspirations.

“Many young lawyers face situational challenges that make them veer off the track in a bid to survive. The kind of foundations laid for young lawyers will determine the kind of Senior Lawyers they would grow to become.

“Senior Lawyers in Nigeria by the special privilege they enjoy in the Bar are highly priced in the profession. By that privilege they handle most juicy briefs that make them financially viable. We know the legal profession is like a wine, it gets better as it gets older.”

Pointing the way forward, Ugwuoke said: “It would not be a bad idea for successful senior lawyers and members of the Inner Bar to set up a trust fund for the welfare of young lawyers. They could set out a specific sum of money that every successful senior is expected to be contributing to the trust fund annually as part of their support for the growth of the younger ones.

“Funds from such trust funds could be used to pay monthly stipends to all young lawyers of less than 7 years post call irrespective of their place of practice. This gesture will go a long way in cushioning the effect of the hardship young lawyers are subjected to. Some professions like the medical profession have a system that rewards their new entrants during their housemanship and internship programmes.”

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