Oluwatosin Adesioye is an alumnus of Houdegbe North American University, Benin Republic. In this chat with AKEEM NAFIU, he speaks on his first appearance in court, pupilage, challenges, judiciary and varied issues
Oluwatosin Adesioye, obtained his LL.B from Houdegbe North American University, Benin Republic in 2011. The Ondo state indigene was called to the Bar on November 28, 2013. He told New Telegraph on how his journey in the legal profession began this way: “My name is Oluwatosin Adesioye and I am a legal practitioner actively involved in litigation practice amongst other areas of law practice in Nigeria. I attended May Day School, Isolo, Lagos state and obtained my First School Leaving Certificate in 2001. “I had my Secondary School training at Hallmark Secondary School in my home town, Ondo State and passed out in July, 2007.
I was thereafter admitted into Houdegbe North American University, Benin Republic, for my undergraduate studies wherein I obtained my Bachelors of Law degree in 2011. In 2012, I completed a three month Bar One programme at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus before proceeding on the Bar Part Two programme at the Nigerian Law School and thereafter I was called to the Nigerian Bar on November 28, 2013. In 2014, I was privileged to undergo the compulsory twelve months National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme under an astute and senior member of the Nigerian Legal Profession in the person of Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson, Senior Advocate of Nigeria. I currently practice as an Associate in the law firm of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa & Company in Lagos State”.
For a fact, I have always had that compelling urge to garner knowledge and involve in deep research. However, without any fear of contradiction, I strongly believe that the reason one opts to undertake a career in the legal profession cannot supersede the realities of a legal practitioner tasting and experiencing legal practice.
With the benefit of hindsight, I am of the firm conviction that my cravings for an admission into the Nigerian Bar were merely for the general prestige and reputation accruing to such accomplishment. Entering into the legal profession, I have found a deeper meaning and understanding of this great privilege to impact lives, institutions and generations unborn. I see the practice of the legal profession as self-sacrifice for the good and benefit of the society and that is why one of my greatest motivations in this profession is in the words of Nigerian’s first indigenous lawyer, Late Christopher Sapara Williams, which is that “the legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and for the advancement of his own country”. This, I dare say, is the deepest meaning to the legal profession.
First court appearance
Like most new wigs at the Bar, I cannot be said to be found wanting in the hilarious scenes usually created by young lawyers at their first appearance before the court. In my case, I was taken by surprise when my senior colleague, the head of department in chambers, decided and directed (right there in court) I should lead him and take a motion ex-parte to serve a court process via substituted service. I remember vividly the first issue I struggled with, the words to be used in announcing my appearance before the High Court judge. My heart began to race when I was unable to decide on the most profound and respectable way to address ‘My lord’. The second hurdle was announcing my senior colleague with me. In panic, I only announced myself as counsel for the claimant/applicant and hurriedly said to the court: “My lord, I move in terms of the motion paper”. Luckily for me the Honourable judge, in his kind discretion granted the application, without probing my noncomposure in taking the application.
My embarrassing moments are surely not few, both in chambers and outside the job. One thing is clear, as a young lawyer failure to prepare and treat with serious attention any given task or assignment is tantamount to breeding unwarranted embarrassment and risky mistakes. One of my embarrassing moments was during my National Youth Corps Service in a reputable law firm in Lagos. It was on a Friday afternoon sometimes in 2014, during the law firm’s weekly case review and chambers meeting. In the course of the chambers’ meeting, the principal partner of the law firm walked unexpectedly into the meeting and it was at that point, upon taking his sit, I was asked to give a summary on a particular case that I appeared in that week. Although I was actively involved in that case, I suddenly developed cold-feet and was unable to make a meaningful sentence on what the case was all about. I stuttered all through the short sentences I made and appeared as a stack illiterate, learning the use of English Language. Eventually, I was cut short from making further charade of myself and queried for not being abreast of the facts of the case.
I actually have a collection of experiences forming my memorable moments in law practice. One of it was in 2014 after the completion of my National Youth Service Corps. I was handling a criminal matter bordering on stealing as a defence counsel for some people free of charge and it was my first criminal trial. Since I was not in the employ of any law firm, I took my time in preparing my cross-examination questions for the trial. That day was one of the most elating moments for me in my early days in law practice as in the course of cross-examining the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), the allegation of the offence was totally discredited. The admiration alone from other counsel and observers in court was really wonderful and enhanced my zeal for legal advocacy and litigation practice. It is indeed the first memorable moment of the early days in my career. As a lawyer, nothing is more elating than meeting the needs of a client especially when it is done for free. That was my way of giving back to the society. I found encouraging and inspiring memories in researching on novel and complex areas in law practice wherein I had little expectation on any chances of succeeding in the case. Shockingly, we ended up delivering a strong and credible case in those recondite areas of law.
The bitter sweet truth of the realities of young lawyers at the Bar is that despite a series of arduous training as law students, we come out of the law school as an empty vessel in urgent need of filling and steering on a future path; it is mostly where we commence our legal practice that shapes our career path in the profession. For me, my practice as a legal practitioner commenced slowly but began to take a form of dedication and deep concern for clients whilst under the mentorship of Olawale Balogun & company law firm. At the place, I was able to appreciate the need to have the strong mentality of rendering humanitarian services and sacrifice in meeting the demands of a client. A fundamental requirement of any successful legal practitioner is to bury one’s self in research and hard work on any legal concerns you are faced with and I am happy I came to the understanding of this principle in my early days in the legal profession. I also must take pride in attributing my exposure to a series of complex commercial and litigation practice to a leading commercial law firm in Nigeria, Strachan Partners. There I tapped from the wealth of deep understanding, technicalities and practice experience of a learned silk in the person of Mr. Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson. This will further propel me into taking a key interest in active litigation as area of practice in the legal profession. The next and most fundamental aspect of my pupilage is my current legal practice under the direct mentorship of Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a renowned human right scholar and activist in Nigeria. It is in the course of practice in the law firm of Ebun-lu Adegboruwa & company that I have been most courageous and dauntless in my career as a legal practitioner. Here, I have discovered the need, regardless of the unlikelihood of success, to never relent in pursuing the course of justice for a client. One thing that also resonates in mind is my achievement in handling client’s brief successfully with minimal form of supervision from my superiors.
mincing words, my dream for the last hope of the common man is for the common man to find hope, prompt and satisfying justice in the Nigerian judiciary. Starting from the lowest court to the Supreme Court, all appointed jurists therein are to, without familiarity, decide cases dispassionately without fear of intimidation by the executive arm of government. One of the ways this can be achieved is securing the full independence of the judiciary from other arms of government, thereby providing for the welfare and maintenance of the courts in all states in Nigeria.
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