WELFARE IS NOT SOLELY ABOUT STIPENDS
Welfare is not solely about donating stipends and whilst cash donations are important interventions when required, we must look towards the greater task of building the capacity of young lawyers to become practitioners with great skills and the right resources, able to create more value and command respect as practitioners in their own rights.
We definitely need to keep the conversation around fair remuneration alive. In this regard, I have been privileged, as Chairman of the Young Lawyers Forum (YLF), to engage the NBA President, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN on the issue and with his support, also discuss viable options with other relevant stakeholders within the profession.
For the avoidance of doubt, the free LawPavilion subscription for young lawyers made possible by the NBA under the leadership of Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN is one of the most far-reaching and beneficial interventions for young lawyers, regardless of practice areas or location. Such resource will enhance the output of young lawyers in paid employment and the earning capacity of self-employed young lawyers alike.
Many lawyers are rightly concerned about poor remuneration for young lawyers in paid employment and have varied approaches to addressing the problem which has its roots in many factors including the economy, practice models that need to be reconsidered, and of course, individual idiosyncrasies. In the days ahead, the YLF will circulate a comprehensive report of its survey on remuneration and its recommendations based on consultations with young lawyers and other stakeholders.
In the interim, the YLF Governing Council has continued to explore available options for empowering young lawyers to identify and create opportunities for themselves. We have facilitated series of trainings and webinars at no cost to attendees, for knowledge sharing and mentoring purposes. We have also facilitated free subscriptions to legal research tools on LAWBREED and LawPavilion for 20 young lawyers. This is in addition to making cash donations to 50 young lawyers nominated by YLF Branches across the country, with the support of Mr. Oyetola Atoyebi SAN.
Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that we have secured local and international support for the YLF Arbitration Challenge starting in August and designed to encourage young lawyers across the 125 branches of the NBA to upskill in the area of arbitration. On a related note, earlier in the year, we organised an essay contest to encourage young lawyers to critically assess opportunities for professional development, with N500,000 in prize money.
As you may surmise from the foregoing, our approach to the welfare of Young Lawyers is to go beyond the rhetoric and we will keep engaging all relevant stakeholders for best outcomes. Portraying young lawyers as hopeless practitioners does not help the cause. It is also our belief that desired results will not come from needless attacks but from constructive engagement with all stakeholders, however long it takes.
Chairman, NBA Young Lawyers Forum