The uproar that the ‘to be law’ issue has generated is no longer news. More novel is the fact that lawyers to be will compulsorily have to take an extra 2 year pupilage course after graduating law school. According to the National Assembly, it proves to be a strategy for fresh lawyers to garner experience and curb ‘quackism’. But the aspiring lawyers for whom these bill is made are not happy about it.
Many have seen it as a delay in the process of achieving their goal on time, while some believe it just too ridiculous and pathetic since the one year law school programme was designed to after for this. However, some appear to be quite okay with it after all.
Well, Maybe the concept of pupilage was misconstrued by these fellows; maybe the there is more to it than what we are told. However, my opinion about the whole thing is succinctly analyzed below:
Haven read about and understood the issue of pupilage, I have come to decipher that this “pupilage” of a thing is not meant to be a burden after all. It is almost related to what every young lawyer does after graduation from law school. Come to think of it, every lawyer still spend relatively 2 yrs or more as a ‘baby lawyer’ in chambers immediately after law school.
Following big guns to court and helping with menial details though with privileges of getting some allowances. But the conspicuous foul played i sense here is that this pupilage programme have been designed without thoughts of stipulating any renumeration hatch.
It is then note worthy that a young lawyer willingly goes through pupilage under an established law firm to garner experience and also gets paid for it. So now that the Act that tends to impose it is failing to include payment opportunities, is this not a golden occasion for the senior lawyers to use the young ones greedily without payment?? (except the God fearing ones)
Assuming but not conceding that they might eventually come up with a payment passage at the long run, (This is Nigeria) the suffering may have lasted for years before a particular set of Lawmakers decide to ameliorate the harshness…
My worry then is, why can’t the same Act that made the pupilage compulsory also make out payment line so as to ease the affair? I mean who will spend roughly 7 years of his/her life on learning a particular course and would still go serve some people for free for a whooping two more years??
Hence, the Yoruba adage “òrìsà bó lè gbẹ mi fi mí lé bí mó se wá”
Meaning, “if you can’t help ameliorate my ordeal, then don’t escalate my predicament”.
My submission thus is that, the legislators should simply pass the bill alongside a payment hatch that won’t enslave young lawyers under the guise of pupilage. Since, it is meant to be a remedy for lawyers and the legal profession as a whole let it serve that purpose fully and not turn out to be a curse.
M. A Ola-Lawal
Ola-lawal Muazu Abolaji is a student of law at the University of Ilorin.
Edited and published on Muzzammilwrites.