Life has shown us in different times that more than we need anyone, we need a doctor. Medical or traditional, a doctor is our best friend whenever our human body fails us. And bodies like every natural thing have moments of failure. This body failure moment of our life is naturally inevitable. And no matter how strong we suppose we are, we have all had a cause to take some drugs either prescribed by some hospital guys or by our native fathers. Needing or having a doctor is as good as having a ‘mechanic’ to work on your car whenever you feel it is malfunctioning and it is only on this note that it could be pointed at the outset that this is no attempt to check
out who is more important between a lawyer and a doctor or any other professional for that matter, because if I am faced with this poser, I would definitely shelve my sentiment and keep my professional pride to give the vote to a doctor. This seems settled.
Taking a cue from the above rhetorical argument, one could safely answer the question; ‘when do we need a doctor?’ by confidently answering that we need a doctor when we are feeling sick and particularly when we are sick. But to make a fool out of the learned man, all you need to ask him is when one needs his services. The answer is neither here nor there. It is like a scenario-based question, the answers depend mostly on the understanding and view of the situation at hand. It would not totally amount to a complete error to say that we need lawyers when trouble is approaching or when we are already in trouble. This is because trouble is what a lawyer’s work is all about. A lawyer is trained to be a trouble warrior. But what happens before trouble?Troubles like illness take you to a doctor, but you need a lawyer before you fall sick or before you fall into trouble.
Although a lawyer would entertain your problems no matter how complex, in so far as it is legally probable, nevertheless, you need him more when your body mechanism is running at the optimum and maximum level and you are in good control of yourself. Your psychological stability is very much needed before you consult a lawyer, because an unstable mind cannot effectively discuss all his issues with someone who will take care of them. In fact the instability of some clients is one of the reasons why lawyers a times get it all wrong. A lawyer is better as your friend when all is well, as this is when he can best serve and advise you. It is a wrong and a lay perception to hold that you need a lawyer when a problem arises.
This is even more wrong in the sense that lawyers would hardly get you out of trouble when they do not know you before you got into the trouble.In an attempt to practically drive home this point, a landlord for instance needs the service of a lawyer more when he is entering into a tenancy agreement with a tenant than when he is having troubles to recover possession of his premises from a stubborn tenant who has refused to quit and deliver possession after the supposed expiration of a faulty tenancy agreement. Research has also shown that only two out of ten people get their legal issues resolved by a lawyer they never met until the issues arise. This analysis is more evident in criminal matters where some accused persons meet their lawyers in court or their family members hire a lawyer on their behalf. At this stage of client desperation, the best a lawyer could do is to manage the situation as it is.
All a lawyer would seek is to ensure that the matter does not degenerate and whenever his professional might is exhausted and he feels he has fulfilled his professional obligation to the client, he rests his case in the court.The court is the place that many laymen have over the years misconceived as a lawyer’s workshop. It is even striking that some people think lawyers work in the court from morning to night, just like a doctor does in a hospital. Some elderly men have also not washed themselves from the laughable childhood presumptions that lawyers are same as judges. These funny misconceptions and many others like the age-long ‘lawyers are liars’ belief’ have led many into problems that a simple understanding of the legal profession would have easily solved.
This situation is not also helped by lawyers whose professional carriage makes people to only know and admire them from afar. The truth is that we cannot put our pride aside and start advertising our practice, in fact our professional ethics forbid it, but we can educate and inform people about what lawyers do and how we do it in the simplest form that they would find interesting and comprehensible. As lawyers, we can keep our Latin legal maxims and tell a man that ‘you cannot give what you do not have’ instead of saying ‘nemo dat non quod habet’ and saying no more. This is our responsibility as members of society as just as we benefit from the society by buying produce from seller or at Shoprite, the pepper seller also has a right to benefit from what we sell and of course, at a reasonable price.Perhaps the legal education could start from stating that the bulk of a lawyer’s work is done not in the courtroom, but in his office.
By his training, a lawyer rushes to the court only when it is the last resort or when the court is the only option depending on the circumstance of the case. A lawyer uses more of his time in his office as there are days that he will have no matter in court and there are also days that the court may not sit either due to a public holiday, vacation or the unavoidable absence of the judge. The law office is always the best place to consult a lawyer and discuss all matters with him. The fact that you have a lawyer as a family member does not give you the leverage to knock on the door of his house to consult him, just like you won’t rush your feverish son to the house of your doctor-brother, when the road of the hospital is not blocked.
The office of a lawyer apart from the fact that it commands professionalism attracts some sense of convenience and privacy to your discussion. And there are some issues that a law book standing on the office shelf could easily solve, while a lawyer could also there and then beckon on another professional colleague to put heads together all in your service and best interest.However, as grown men, we know as a matter of fact that our best interest includes that of our dependents. We find ourselves not only working for our own needs, but also for others. We see ourselves planning for others, taking them into consideration in our daily activities. We come to understand the fact that some popular African prayers like ‘God protect us from all issues (problems)’ is mere rhetoric in the face of the evident burden of manhood.
The realization of the emergence of this period in our lives makes it necessary for us to have a lawyer by our side. We acquire properties, we erect structures, we put some monies in bank, we secure a job, we leave a job, we enter into a business contract with another, we intend to marry, we desire to divorce, we borrow some money, we give some loans, we differentiate between our bon a fide children and the adopted ones, we make wills and we do all the things that qualify us as men. A cursory look at all these activities would evidently show that they are mere issues and not problems, and it is at this stage that we best require the counsel of a counsel (another way of referring to a lawyer, especially in the law court). Because when any of these issues eventually degenerate into problems, whether or not you are alive, the job of a lawyer will be easier and you will also enjoy a fine legal service.On a final note, the benefits that accrue from having a good relationship with a lawyer are inexhaustible, however, a fine legal service is no doubt a function of a fine price.
Lawyers like many professionals desire and deserve good fees for their services. But it is good economics to retain a lawyer when you have no immediate need for him, because you end up paying little or nothing whenever the need for him arises. He is a friend in need and in deed. And what more, his friendship is very assured because he has professional obligations to you; obligations which are guided by a body of enacted rules that he is conversant with; obligations that make him a constant Jonathan to your David. Retain one today.
Prepared by: Oloanrewaju Oloyede Esq.