Globally, the legal profession is regarded as one of the noblest professions to have. It is not only prestigious but very rewarding, well it is supposed to be rewarding if you get successful at it. The goal is to become a successful lawyer at a relatively young age. This would mean that you handle big cases from high-paying and top clientele or being a senior or principal partner at a reputable firm. You can even own a firm of your own. However, all of these juicy achievements do not come in a day, this article provides you with steps on how to become a successful lawyer in Nigeria.
Read on below:
Graduate with a good Law degree
Your first step to becoming a successful lawyer is graduating with a good law degree from a reputable university. This will help make the journey to success faster and less stressful. A good law degree in this sense would mean either a first-class or a second-class upper. A second-class upper is a minimum requirement for most law firm vacancies. A good degree will grant you the opportunity to work in an established and reputable law firm.
Get a Job in a Reputable Legal Firm
Getting a job in a reputable firm as a young lawyer will grant you access to the essential factors you need to be successful in your law career. Such factors include skill acquisition and development, mentorship, and networking. A young lawyer should always thrive for self-development in any way possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is by setting yourself up in an enabling environment. Having secured employment in a reputable firm, a young lawyer should try to garner as much knowledge as possible as this will give him or her an edge in law practice. Many young lawyers want to set off on their own but one must never undermine the importance of experience as it is golden in the legal profession. Most clients would prefer that their cases are handled by lawyers who have experience working in law firms, rather than newbies. This assures clients of competence.
Get a good mentor in the profession
It is very important that a young lawyer has a mentor. A young lawyer working in a big law firm will have the advantage of learning under well-experienced lawyers such as Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Having the tutelage and mentorship of an experienced senior counsel can help a young lawyer break through in the legal profession. Many successful lawyers have attributed their success to the advice of their mentors on what aspects of law to focus on or specialize in.
Network with others in the profession
Another important factor to success for a young lawyer is networking. Young lawyers should not downplay the value of a good network with other learned colleagues and firms. Meaningful interpersonal relationships with other lawyers can come in handy in difficult times when one needs advice, mentorship, or guidance.
Membership of Professional bodies
One of the surest ways to develop and maintain a robust network is by taking up membership of recognized legal professional bodies such as the Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association and Commonwealth Lawyers Association. There are many benefits associated with being a member of legal professional bodies such as insurance covers, network opportunities, etc.
A young lawyer must maintain an outstanding standard of ethics, integrity, and honesty. It is important that you make a good name for yourself by avoiding all corrupt practices and fraud. A lawyer must always appear neatly and smartly dressed before the court. In accordance with best practices, (s)he must be well prepared with sound arguments so he does not get on the bad side of judges and make a bad reputation. A young lawyer must always remember that customer service is key. Since the advertisement is not permitted in the legal profession, it is one’s work and treatment of clients that will continue to speak for him or her. A lawyer must handle client’s cases properly because happy and satisfied clients will refer the lawyer to other clients.
Lawyers are commonly called practicing lawyers for a reason, they must keep learning. There is no stage at which a lawyer is certified to have reached the apex of learning and needs no more learning. This is because the nature of the law is dynamic and so is the profession. A young lawyer who wants to be successful in the profession must be willing to learn throughout his life. He must read on recent legal trends so he can handle cases well when brought to him. The knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the legal profession are not developed overnight, they all require long-term learning. Some of the skills that a lawyer needs to learn are Advocacy, Legal Drafting, Critical thinking, Communication skills, Research skills, etc.
Choose your clients wisely
If you really want to become a successful lawyer who has top clients who pay well, then you must be determined not to be a cheap lawyer. You cannot always accept every case that comes your way especially when the pay is demeaning. When a lawyer has a pattern of taking low fees than accepted in practice, he or she will be known for such and that will lower his or her reputation. A low reputation has a negative effect on a lawyer’s reputation in the long term. This is why a long lawyer must choose clients carefully so as to earn the respect of other colleagues and the public.
Use your time wisely
One of your greatest assets as a lawyer is time. A lawyer has to make lots of research so as to do an excellent job. Therefore, a lawyer cannot afford to be unnecessarily slow so as not to affect his or her efficiency. If a lawyer is unable to manage his or her time well, such will find it difficult to do well in the legal profession.
These are ways to become successful in your profession as a lawyer. By imbibing discipline and a learning attitude, you are set to find opportunities for success in the profession.