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Few years ago, the Nigerian Law School
restructured its curriculum to accommodate the present realities of Law
practice. The courses were restructured and a bit of digitalised learning were
introduced. Today, that generation of lawyers who went through this training
are practicing law and they form the majority of lawyers described as young
Lawyers. Lawyers who are 1-7 years  post call.

These are lawyers who were in secondary
school in the first decade of the third millennium. The decade the internet and
the Global system of mobile communication became popular in the country. The
decade the manual type writer finally met its waterloo, the decade the post
office began to succumb to the incursion of emails and text messages, The
decade facebook came into being, the decade life practically became easy and
faster.
These were the times of these young lawyers
who will be called to the Nigerian Bar to meet a system totally strange to what
they grew up with .A law Profession that is still living in the Stone Age and
still gives the impression that the young ones are lazy and in such a hurry. It
is not true. They are just a generation of lawyers who grew up differently.
This group of lawyers are less
conservative, more practical; more outspoken and in fact more progressive
minded but unfortunately found themselves in a system that constricts them.
They met a bar association that still
expects them to queue in the banking hall to renew their practicing fee using a
special teller only obtainable in the bank. They met a system that requires
them to file hard copies of processes in court and make loads of photocopies, a
bar association that still conducts its meetings like a town union meeting.
They met a system where cases cannot be tracked, where lawyers and their clerks
still dissipate energy like labourers in the practice of law. In fact, they met
a hard life.
In 2014 a Senior Lawyer named Austin Alegeh
was elected as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. He was the last
President to be elected through the delegate system of election which the NBA
operated at that time; by the end of his tenure in 2016, the NBA had a new
revolutionary constitution that provided for Universal Suffrage and electronic
voting. The constitution had its pitfall but one fact remained constant, it was
a great and bold leap forward. It created an inclusive bar that brought every
lawyer including the young ones closer to the affairs of the NBA.
In 2016, the new constitution was put to
use. Many describe it  as a test election believing that the 2018 election
will be the first real election since 1990.
In the race for the NBA Presidency is Paul
Usoro SAN who was a former President of the Law society of the University of
Ife in his university days. He has made a success of his law Practice with many
Junior Lawyers driving the Law Firm. Paul Usoro and Co, a law firm he founded
is well known for its successes and tragedies. In March 2006, the legal
community in Nigeria woke up to the terrific news that the law firm of Paul
Usoro and Co situated in the Bank of Industry building has been raised down by
fire. Millions and Millions of law assets were lost in the inferno. It was a historic
tragedy that will remain indelible in the annals of lawyers. The worst case
scenario any law firm can find itself.
Few years later, the law firm bounced back
and became even bigger. It is one of the few law firms in Nigeria that maintain
an IT department. The young lawyers in PUC are chauffeur driven to courts and
operate in a clean corporate environment. This background excites the young
lawyers who are progressives and desire mentorship. The Welfare of young
lawyers in PUC is one of the reasons   why they are gravitating
towards him. They believe that if he is taking care of the welfare of more than
35 lawyers in the firm, he will know how to do it for young lawyers. That is
how practical this generation of lawyers can be. Out of all the candidates who
have expressed their desire to lead the NBA, Paul Usoro SAN employs the highest
number and pays young lawyers the most with a minimum salary of N150,
000.00
(One hundred and fifty thousand Naira) for the youngest young lawyer
coming from NYSC. Though he still considers this as peanuts but it ranks as one
of the highest  in Nigeria.
Paul usoro’s law firm which now operates
with other partners on board is jokingly referred to as the African Union by
some lawyers while some others have different names for it. The reason behind
these informal names is that the work force of the law firm is made up of
people from diverse region/ethnicity across the country. For this open minded
generation of lawyers, it matters so much in a country like Nigeria.
Another reason why these young lawyers find
Paul Usoro interesting is his commitment to information technology. The
Nigerian Communication Act and many other regulations regulating the telecoms
industry in Nigeria owe their existence to Paul Usoro a top telecom lawyer 
usually referred as the Prince of Telecom. His practice is fully supported by
information Technology and the young lawyers there find themselves in a
familiar terrain.
Paul Usoro in some fora has emphasized on
the need for lawyers, the judiciary and other institutions that relate with
lawyers to be I.T compliant. He believes that it will go a long way in
improving the lot of lawyers .This also appeals to this young generation many
of whom are looking up  to him as someone they can work with.
As the election gets closer by the day, the
generality of Nigerian lawyers are looking forward to a brand new leadership in
July. By then, the younger lawyers must have had their say. However it turns
out, lawyers will have two years to either relish or tolerate it.
Anthony Atata has been documenting the NBA since 2009

From – Courtroom Mail