Noel Joseph Arthur is an alumnus of Igbinedion University, Okada. Arthur was called to Bar in 2018. He shares his foray into the Law profession in this interview with JOHN CHIKEZIE
My name is Noel Joseph Arthur, an indigene of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. I graduated from the premier private university – Igbinedion University Okada, Edo State in 2017.
While still a student, I was elected the President, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers State Students’ Association (AKWACROSS) in 2016.
Immediately after my degree programme, I proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Yola Campus for a compulsory one vocational training after which I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2018.
Choice of career
As a young man, the legal practice was not very appealing to me, particularly due to incessant abuse of the rule of law.
However, my perception of the legal profession changed drastically when I got admitted into Igbinedion University, Okada to study law after pressure from my mother who always wanted her last son to be a lawyer.
I observed closely how unique, beautiful and amazing the legal profession is. It is the only profession that cuts across all areas of life and has a great influence on the society itself – this influence was the driving force behind my change in perception of the profession and one that I wanted to be a part of.
My pupilage experience has not been without its own challenges but very rewarding as I have found practice to be quite different from what was taught within the four walls of the Nigerian Law School. I thank God that so far I have been able to learn from two masters in the profession which has helped enormously in finding areas of practice that I want to specialize in.
NBA electoral process
Even before my call to Bar, the NBA elections was heavily ridiculed and many of the outcome questionable. My assertion of the process did not change after being called to Bar in 2018.
However, credit to whom credit is due, the Paul Usoro (SAN) led administration has set the benchmark in the NBA general election having conducted one of the best elections ever witnessed in Nigeria and Africa at large. It was free from controversy and was fair and credible
I want to believe the Mr. Olumide Akpata’s administration will go a step better.
Also, I think the Nigerian community can learn something from the just concluded NBA general election that technology if properly used can reduce electoral disputes in the country.
Challenges of young lawyers
As a young lawyer, the first challenge is always the pressure of experience. I had faced this challenge and have through my years of pupilage been able to learn the basics of practice which has placed me in good stead to solve many legal issues.
Also, another challenge many young lawyers face is the challenge of poor remuneration. I find it very ridiculous that there are sales personnel in supermarkets (apologies to these individuals) who earn more than members of this distinguished profession. Away from the challenges being faced, I am pleased to have been mentored by differ- ent experts in the profession including but not limited to Obong Ini Ekpo, Imoh Umoren and currently Mr. Iseoluwa Abiodun-Johnson.
Lawyers, ADR justice system
I agree that lawyers are not given adequate training in Nigerian Schools about the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ARD) models and this goes to show the level of our educational system.
ADR is one of the most effective dispute resolution mechanism and by far better than litigation with regards to cost (financials and time), privacy, speed of resolution and maintenance of existing relationship (s) amongst others. I strongly recommend that ADR be added to the university’s curriculum to enable prospective legal practitioners have a firsthand knowledge of this unique area of practice.
It remains to be seen that till date, ADR is only brought in as a topic under Civil Litigation as well as Professional Ethics at the Nigerian Law School which goes to show how much this aspect of law is being undermined.
If we must have the judicial system in which we all dream of, ADR must be taken seriously and lawyers encouraged to take advantage of the same as such stringent penalties should be meted out to legal practitioners who fail to encourage their clients to explore ADR.
I hope to go far in legal practice and will one day become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Apart from that, being a legal practitioner comes with its own responsibilities and I hope to use my platform to positively influence the judicial system in practice, philosophy, administration and by promoting the application of the rule of law.