By Bayo Akinlade Esq
I am increasingly finding it nearly impossible to interact with my own colleagues on WhatsApp forums because of how we respond to issues.
Lawyers insulting other lawyers for a view they hold or even just forwarding someone else’s opinion is risky without an insulting reaction from others.
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What bothers me the most is that respect and decorum which are the hallmarks of this profession (a noble profession… Gentlemen of the Bar) is thrown out of the window.
The two saddest things about this is that 1. Seniors on these platforms do not correct the juniors and 2. Many of these lawyers think there is nothing wrong in the way and manner they attack each other on a personal level instead of debating the issue.
We complain about the decline in the legal profession but we ourselves have not improved ourselves and we think because we are lawyers we can use foul language as we please.
The art of advocacy is lost on us, the culture of our profession is lost to us and there is very little transfer of ethics and knowledge of our history to the younger ones or remembered by the older ones.
There was a time that I would tiptoe within the corridors of the courts so that older lawyers wouldn’t complain about how loud my footsteps where. I dared not enter a courtroom while a judge was sitting nor leave unless after my case was heard or called.
There was a time in this profession we bowed in the presence of senior lawyers as we do before judges and wouldn’t dare to put our hands out to shake a senior unless he stretched out his hands first.
Today, we chat as we please and express ourselves as though we were in a real bar and half drunk.
It is expected that this writeup will enjoy same, as our colleagues will ignore the issue and start calling me names for daring to point out this development that is killing our profession.
It is so unfortunate that in discussing law, religion or politics, we speak as laymen instead of weighing opinions for reform purposes, instead of critical analysis, we jettison our training and let loose our bias.
We need to practice self restraint as we respond to issues and avoid getting personal.