I don’t know whether I can call myself a lawyer. I know I read law at Ahmadu Bello University, my law school at the Lagos campus of the Nigerian Law School and was called to the bar (not the beer parlor bar for those who dont know) but inspite of all these I still find it hard to call myself a lawyer and my reasons are not far fetched
1. I hate the wig and gown. Its already hard enough that I have to wear a suit even when I’m sweating like a Christmas goat but to add insult to injury the noble profession insists that I must punish myself some more by wearing the outrageous wig and gown. We all know Nigerias hot weather is harsh, whenever I’m driving to court in my car (which has no functioning AC) dressed in my suit I’m left to battle not just my fellow road users especially the commercial bike and tricycle drivers who either do not know simple traffic rules or do not care to obey them but also the sweat the suit leaves me drenched in. God bless Fela for his song “gentleman” as it always ironically consoles me whenever I find myself in these type of situation. Then I get to court and have to put on my wig and gown in a courtroom where the air conditioner is either not functioning properly or not functioning at all and where the ceiling fan sometimes blows more heat than the hot weather. I remember a particular day in court when I was arguing my case and the power supply went off the judge who was visibly feeling the heat too asked the court clerk why the generator was not on only to be informed that there was no fuel to power the generator. I swear to God the heat was so much that day I was almost tempted to do the outrageous, and by the outrageous I mean take off my wig and gown and tell the law to shove it up its ass.
2. Lawyers love money or to put it more fairly most lawyers (and by this I mean 99%) love money. For some reason I can’t seem to understand money doesn’t really freak me out. I’m not saying I don’t like money (everyone does) I just need enough to live a simple life not the extravagant lifestyle lawyers love. Which reminds me of the joke about the lawyer who has an accident in his BMW while mourning the loss of his car a passerby informed him he has lost his left arm only for the lawyer to look at the spot where his arm used to be and shout “my rolex watch is gone”.
3. I hate police stations and we all know lawyers and the police are supposed to work hand in hand either as adversaries or allies. There is a rotten stench of corruption I always perceive whenever I’m forced to go to the police station that makes me want to puke, I will never go there voluntarily. As a private lawyer you cannot avoid the police either while securing a clients bail (where money must change hands even though bail is free) or in the courtroom where you can humiliate the police during cross examination and if you are in the public bar you become frustrated when the police during criminal investigation mess up a case you are handling which often leads to an accused person being discharged or acquited. The police as it is today is not and will never be my friend.
4. I don’t like been forced to pay for anything. Just because I don’t really dig money doesn’t mean I want to be cheated out of the little that I get. First the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) makes lawyers pay annual practising fees (even if I don’t go to court throughout the year I’m still expected to pay), then the local branch of the NBA says I have to pay branch dues and now the NBA is saying all lawyers must pay for stamp and seal, I mean common isn’t it all too much. I’m afraid that very soon with the way things are going the Muslim lawyers association of Nigeria (MULAN) will say I must pay my dues as a Muslim lawyer just as the Christian lawyers association will demand same from Christians.
5. Law practice involves long hours and thorough legal research, it doesn’t help that I don’t like work, you can call me lazy I don’t care. I know I love reading for pleasure or fun but when it comes to reading because of a court case I’m handling I find it boring. I just wish there is a profession where you do nothing and get paid for doing nothing. Sometimes in court I find myself reading a novel or busy with my phone rather than paying attention to what is happening in court.
6. Lawyers have this habit of making their clients cases take forever with adjournments, injunctions, stay of proceedings, preliminary objections (all legal mumbo jumbo) the logic is the longer the case goes on the more money the lawyer gets paid but as I mentioned earlier I’m just not that into money, I’d rather open and close my cases in a day or a week, just get it done with once and for all. I already hate the work so why will I want to torture myself some more by making it last longer than necessary.
7. People say lawyers are liars although I don’t entirely agree with that, the truth is that it is the clients who are liars lawyers only help their clients to color the lies and make them believable. Personally I find it hard to lie and even when I do lie (occasionally) people I lie to say they know am not telling the truth something about the way my face looks or the way I act whenever I try to lie gives me away. I think one of the reasons I can’t lie well is because as a child I was told that liars will end up in hell. A mortuary attendant once told a friend of mine that whenever a corpse is bought to the morgue they can tell if the dead body is that of a lawyer or a police officer because they tend to look really black in dead (even light skin lawyers turn black within hours of dying) and decompose faster than other dead bodies (see what lying can cause).
8. Lawyers are aggressive and ruthless especially in the courtroom unfortunately for me I’m the meek type (sometimes I even forgo some arguments even when I know I’m right simply because it isn’t worth it) although I have hope that one day the meek shall inherit the law.
And so until the day when I can love the wig and gown, worship money, be good at lying, until the meek inherit the law I reserve the right to call myself a lawyer.