Good afternoon learned Silks, Seniors and
colleagues, as a guest speaker at the NBA section on the Legal Practice
conference live in Port Harcourt, here are a few of my thoughts which I believe
will go a long way in giving an uplift to your practice.

These are practical observations using my
practice as an example.  Firstly it is a
good pointer that the quality of your work determines what you earn.  We as lawyers are not always good at
planning, we try to go into everything and that is what makes “Jack of all
trades the master of none”.

When the GSM auction was to take place,
argument was canvassed that no Nigerian has ever done it before which is true.
We did it and it was internationally rated as the best. The same argument was
also canvassed when we were drafting the communication Act. Since 2003 that the
Law has been passed, there has not been a single amendment to it because the
law is adjudged to be the best.

When I was to prepare the telecommunications
law, there were doubts whether a Nigerian lawyer can do it and the conclusion
was that Nigerians cannot handle it. 
Eventually, I prepared d it and when they went through it, it became the
best in the world. Since 2003 that I prepared the law, it has not been challenged
anywhere and it has never been amended.

The quality of your work determines the fee
you will earn and by planning this helps you to be at the top level of your
earnings. “Aim to be at the top level of your practice and that will determine
the fees you command”.  Lawyers really
must have a safety valve when dealing with clients and companies in particular.
If you do not keep records, it will be very difficult to put a cost to your

One of the challenges in litigation is timing
(the time it takes to complete litigation). When negotiating, it is good to
have a safety valve which will enable your ability to renegotiate if the time
exceeds what you had expected.

It is also good to point out that your
environment also plays a big role in determining the type of fees you charge.
If your office appears tattered, the client is likely to price you the way you
appear.  So appearance is very key in our
practice. In a scenario where a client enters your office and it looks well
taken care of, it automatically determines your fees.

The issue of fees is essential because it is
from the fees we are able to take care of our juniors. It cannot be ignored or
taken lightly.

Your ability to create and maintain client
relationship is very critical to your practice. Client service relationship
also goes a long way to determine your fees. If you take home anything I have
said today, understand that a relationship with your client is very
important.  Make clients your friend;
update them on the level of their cases and quite naturally you will have a
good working relationship.