VP stresses importance of top quality lawyers to democracy

Vice President YemiOsinbajo has stressed the importance of the quality of lawyers to democracy and the administration of justice.

Professor Osinbajo spoke at the SimmonsCooper Advocacy Development , SCAD, competition in Lagos, South West Nigeria.

If we are not able to improve ourselves, if we are not able to do better for our profession, then our democracy, in fact our whole system of justice and governance is at risk, he said, adding that the law profession is the very fundamental of democracy.

Osinbajo, who is one of the founding partners of the SimmonsCooper Advocacy Initiative, which is a biennial competition for law students in Nigeria, said the idea was to give back to the law profession.

At the back of our mind is the fact that we want our law firm to be one that is able to give back to the law profession.

At the end of the day, yes, money is important, profit is important, but we felt that institutions such as law firms have a duty to do something for the profession, to give something to the profession.

And we felt that this would be our special way to give back to the profession and encourage young lawyers, young advocates to really do the best they can do especially in presenting their arguments, presenting their cases to panels whether those panels are the distinguished panel that we have today or individual judges or judges of the appellate court.

He noted that the quality of lawyers being trained in Nigeria is improving, despite the fact that the number of those who are doing well in the profession is low.

The point that I would also want to note is really the fact that today when you look at the quality of the profession, the quality of advocates, the quality of legal practitioners, you can see that we are doing a lot better than many years ago because we have perhaps better trained people.

But in terms of actual numbers, we are still falling far behind. So, if you have ten lawyers, you might find two who are doing well, who are able to present their cases in a way they ought to present them.

The vice president said the competition provided important building blocks in ensuring that our society is better and also our system of justice is also the better, and expressed hope that with the great quality that we have seen today the legal profession and our system of administration of justice will greatly profit and benefit by all of this.

He commended the 10 finalists at this year’s SCAD, whose dispute scenario focused on federalism, competition and anti-trust law, administrative law and electricity law among other legal perspectives.

He also thanked the panelists for the for the time they devoted to the competition.

Source: Voice of Nigeria