8 Common Misconceptions About Nigerian Lawyers, Corrected By Real Lawyers

June 15, 2020

If like me, you had these misconceptions about what it means to be Lawyer, I welcome you. I gathered a couple of lawyers to help clarify what it means to be a Lawyer.

Here’s what they had to say:

1) “People think that being a lawyer is about going to court. Quite similar to what they watch on legal dramas like Suits or even in Nollywood movies. Practicing as a lawyer is more than that – there are many fields under law, and litigation (which involves court) is just one of them. You can practice as a lawyer and never appear in court, at least I haven’t. I don’t plan on ever doing.”

2) “People think that if you argue a lot, you will make a good lawyer. ‘Lawyering’ is more than being able to argue. In fact, the important thing is not being able to argue but being able to put your point across in a concise and intelligent manner. More importantly, lawyers should be analytical.

For example, they should be able to provide solutions when faced with issues clients might have, or pick out pertinent points from various sources. A bit of common sense will help too.”

3) “People might feel that consulting a lawyer is expensive. But, if shit goes wrong, you’d wish you had a lawyer to advise you in the first place because now you’d have to spend more money + time you’d have saved. Even things that are seemingly simple such as agreements or getting licenses for your business may prove difficult because you refuse to engage lawyers.

You can’t compare the experience a lawyer has in drafting/reviewing various agreements to your lack of experience in contract drafting (even though you have a template and it looks good to you).

It’s more than that. Every clause has a meaning, every line is important and should be tailored to your specific case but you can’t know that without someone who has experience in these things advising you. I’ve had people come to my law firm countless times because they sought to acquire licenses for their businesses but got stuck. Yes, we got them out of the quagmire but they spent more money + time than they bargained for.”

4) “Litigation isn’t exactly as it appears in movies/series. LMAO, it’s a scam. It isn’t anything like that and it’s much worse I would say. First, no one shouts “objection, my lord”. Cases take forever to conclude and it’s boring as hell. I’m not about that life.”

5) “I wonder why people think lawyers are well paid. Basically, you could have good grades and still work for 30k per month because jobs are few. You’d see lawyers going into other professions like tech, banking, consulting, entertainment, or entrepreneurship.”

6) “People think that lawyers are liars(the most apparent I guess). It’s ridiculous.”

7) “We don’t all like being called Barrister. At least all the ones I know of. It’s crude.”

8) “We smile when people crack all those ‘let me commit crime jokes’ to keep the peace. Deep down, we don’t find it funny.”

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