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YLF annual summit Abuja: My experience

The summit kicked off 12 noon on the 25th with registration of participants, unfortunately around 4p.m. or soon thereafter we heard of a bomb blast at Emab Plaza Maitama, the bus conveying delegates to their hotel thought of taking that route before the blast but decided otherwise to follow an alternative route  (thank God). May the soul of the departed find peace in the bosom of the Almighty.
As Paul B. Daudu Esq put it “this summit was a manifestation of the importance attached by the Bar under the leadership of Okey Wali (S.A.N) towards the enhancement of the capacity of the Nigerian young lawyer”.
The Young Lawyers Forum is a platform for young lawyers in the country to reflect and understand proffered solutions to the seeming challenges confronting the Nigerian young lawyer in the profession, indeed this was what the summit was geared to achieve.
On the 26th of June, 2014 young delegates were welcomed by the chairman of the YLF Governing Council and addressed by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Thereafter, the summit was declared open with Funke Adekoya (S.A.N), Dapo AKinosun Esq expanding our horizon on ‘Mentoring, Leadership and Succession in Law Firms’, while AIT Kakaki’s Linus Okere motivated us on personal discovery, personal development and self-mastery. Not to forget a leader of the Bar in the person of Chief Awomolowo (S.A.N) who tutored the delegates on managing clients’ relationship. It was a good and educative session, wished all young lawyers were there.
Young delegates from different recognised branches of the YLF were glad to discuss ‘Reconsidering the compensation and remuneration system in the Legal Profession’ with A.B Mahmood  (S.A.N), Deacon Dele Adesina (S.A.) and Austin Alegeh (S.A.N) who chaired the session.
 One school of thought believes the workings of law firms should be regulated and a benchmark be created for the minimum wage of a young lawyer depending on the jurisdiction while another school of thought is of the view that we stop trading blames between the young and seniors but rather focus our energy on reclaiming some of our briefs now in the hands of non-lawyers. Austin Alegeh (S.A.N) even said he doesn’t pay very well at his law firm but pays a minimum of N80, 000 to his lawyers in chamber. I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard this; if most firms could be like this.
One young lawyer even complained that from her 300 level in the university, seniors of the Bar had been promising that things would change, but that now she is a lawyer and things are yet to change {laughs}.  Young lawyers were advised to insist on terms of employment so they could know what and what is their entitlement from the law firm and not just working blind.
 This I totally agree with, but the truth is how many young lawyers earning below N20,000 per month can walk up to their principal partner and ask for terms, the fear is the principal might ask you to leave the office all because you insisted on your right.
The following day, 27th of June 2014, we had a breakfast discussion on ‘Marketing strategies for raising partnerships and retainerships’ with Agada Elachi and Seun Abimbola, after which Hon. Justice O.A. Adeniyi spoke on ‘Court room etiquettes’ with Mazi Afam Ezigwe insisting in his speech that preliminary objection should be taken at address stage after a full trial and the winning side be compensated with cost for the proceedings. Some young delegates didn’t agree with him on the issue, nevertheless he maintained his position.
Participants of the summit earned 10 (ten) credits continuing legal education units.
The downside to the summit, however, was at the YLF annual general meeting where discussions were made on minutes of the last summit’s meeting . I had no knowledge of its content and when a point of order was raised on the issue, the secretary said there were no more copies and we should share with those close by. Ironically both delegates on my side didn’t have a copy. One young lawyer even brought to my notice that no financial report was attached to the minutes, so I left.
The NBA Young Lawyers were beaten 1-3 by the Nigerian Law School students in a friendly football match, though our excuse was that we spend most of our days in the office and the night relaxing, so we are heavier than them.
This young wig would try to enlighten young lawyers in this column about certain things I learnt at the conference that my fellow colleagues due to one reason or the other missed.
Do send your comments, observations and recommendations to danielbulusson@gmail.com

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