HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE PROGRAMMES
The pride of a lawyer, in-house or in private practice, is in the application of his skills, knowledge and workmanship for the promotion of the rule of law, attainment of justice and protection of his client, followed by the attendant economic reward and benefits. This underscores the importance of knowledge, skills and human capital development. My plan therefore is to foster that pride by lawyers in the legal profession, irrespective of their mode of practice, livelihood and legal career, using the instrumentality of the NBA.
A. An All-Inclusive Bar
Nigeria boasts of a sizeable number of lawyers even as more lawyers are passing out of the Nigerian Law School every year. However, not many lawyers participate in NBA activities partly because emphasis seems to be placed by the NBA more on the lawyers who are in active private legal practice. Hence, corporate/in-house counsel, lawyers living with disabilities, public sector lawyers (mostly in civil service and government parastatals) and female lawyers, are generally not given the opportunity to participate in nor encouraged to attend NBA activities and as a result, they do not derive or even see any membership benefits from these activities. It is my candid view that every lawyer and member of the NBA should identify with the Association and derive some benefit therefrom.
One of the ways to sustain the interests of our members in these different lawyer-groupings is to address issues directly affecting them. If I get elected President, the NBA would offer a clear value proposition for the inculcation of an inclusive bar to our members, be they in private legal practice or not. I am indeed for and will champion the entrenchment of such an inclusive bar. There is no reason why corporate counsel, for example, cannot take up appointments or membership in NBA Committees (at both National and Branch levels) provided they are available and committed to the course for which such NBA Committees or offices are set up. Some groupings of lawyers have historically been short-changed in these appointments even though they have eminently qualified persons amongst them who can occupy these positions and acquit themselves very well. If I am elected as President of the NBA, I will address that imbalance.
PAUL USORO, SAN, FCIArb