Ugochukwu Jonathan is an alumnus of the University of Abuja. He was called to Bar in 2017. Jonathan, in this chat with JOHN CHIKEZIE, speaks on his foray into the noble profession
My Name is Ugochukwu Jonathan and I am an indigene of Abia State, Osisioma Local Government Area. I obtained a Bachelor of law from the University of Abuja in 2010.
Since then, I have attended many educational courses both in advocacy, Leadership and Arbitration which has helped me grow significantly as a legal practitioner. I was also called to the Nigerian Bar in 2017 and since then I have been into full practice of law. My areas of legal practice include Property Law, Corporate law, Commercial law and a bit of civil litigation.
Apart from my professional qualification as a lawyer, I’m also an entrepreneur with practical knowledge in poultry and fish farming.
I’m presently the principal partner of Jichrian Legal.
Choice of career
I pursued a career in law because I believe that law is the fundamental of Life and liberty. A career in law is intellectually challenging, financially rewarding and personally fulfilling. For me, personal fulfillment is the most important.
For me, law isn’t just a profession but a medium through which I can serve my nation and people. Law is not just about rules & regulation.
Law is also about rights, justice & understanding of human behavior & society. I choose law because it helps me in improving my standard of thoughts, skills & knowledge. And it also provides me the courage and support on which I can stand for the rights of others and my own.
This is why I chose the legal profession.
My pupilage has been spiced up with various aspects of the legal profession and post qualifications as a lawyer. I had some bites of law at a Civil Litigation and Commercial Law practice firm, P.J NTEPHE and CO.
This actually enhanced my passion in law practice, especially in the aspect of corporate governance where I had to do a lot of legal drafting for corporate institutions like banks and other financial institutions. I also had an opportunity to handle some civil litigation at the High Court on tenancy issues and land matters which also motivated me into real estate business.
Journey so far
It’s been a bitter-sweet experience as the major challenge facing young lawyers is the issue of inadequate remuneration.
This point cannot be over emphasized as most young lawyers are exploited under the popular statement “Gain The Experience.” As an adult, there are many responsibilities to be taken care of.
A young lawyer must feed, pay his or her transport fare, change his or her wears at least, once in a while, recharge his or her mobile phone, etc., Young lawyers are also often faced with the issue of not been able to get the necessary authorities of law when needed because of the poor remuneration, access to relevant books and materials are denied them.
Oftentimes, they are at the mercy of senior lawyers, and libraries, to get hold of such needed materials. Lack of cash at hand also hinders young lawyers from attending programmes which should add value to their avalanche of knowledge in profession as part of the Continuous Compulsory Legal Education.
Many senior lawyers in the position to help young lawyers do not do so except for when they are vying for positions in the Bar or if such support will benefit them.
Many senior lawyers believe that starting hard is the best way to learn and succeed although I have some reservations on that as many of them encountered the same processes before they succeeded in their career.
Weird events in the judiciary
Bullying is a major weird event always experienced by young lawyers at the Bar both by senior colleagues and some magistrates and judges. They do not understand that close to the ethics of seniority at the Bar is the code of conduct that lawyers are to treat themselves with respect.
Some young lawyers are talked down by senior colleagues who are handling matters against them.
And some magistrates and judges are not exempted from this ugly menace that is predominantly practiced in some of our courts. I have personally been bullied by a magistrate because of an application that was filed by a senior colleague. The senior colleague was not on ground to move the application because of health issues, so he asked me to help him move the application. The application was rejected based on some technicalities.
My pain wasn’t because it was rejected but my major pain was how the magistrate bullied me. It was so painful. Well, I hope with the emergence of the New President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, we hope that the issue of remuneration and welfare of young lawyers are handled urgently.
I want to be one of the best and top ranking Christian Attorneys globally in conflict resolution