Anthony Atata, the past Chair of International Bar Association – Africa and a Chairmanship candidate in the forthcoming NBA Lagos election has advised young Lawyers in Lagos to take up French as a second language to be able to compete more favorably in the African market.
In a sit out in Lekki on Saturday organized by Young lawyers in favour of Anthony Atata for Chairman of Lagos branch, Atata stated that though Lawyers in the past have opposed the idea of globalization of legal practice but in no time, Law Practice will become completely “borderless” and we won’t have a choice.
He said that the AfCFTA has come with many opportunities that young lawyers can take advantage of them if they show competence.
He also admitted that it has been a struggle for him trying to learn french but with diligence, it will come to pass. He said that the opportunities in dealing with Francophone Africa are enormous.
Atata, who served as the IBA Chair for Africa encouraged young Lawyers to take steps to take their practice international telling them that foreign clients are more likely to brief them if they show competence unlike in
Nigeria where their age could, unfortunately, be a barrier. Atata said that being a young Lawyer in Nigeria is challenging especially if you are doing your own practice.
The mere fact that you look young may make you lose a brief even if you are competent and professional. This he said is less likely to happen in your dealings with foreign clients but you must show competence and professionalism.
Atata has promised to expand the CLE of the branch to a more international and interactive level when he assumes the leadership of the NBA Lagos branch.
The young Lawyers who were mostly young Lawyers who have started their own practice pledged to support Atata in his bid for the Chairmanship of NBA Lagos.
(Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
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