My New Wig Experience
My New Wig Experience: To a layman, a lawyer is one who goes to court to represent his client. A lot of persons in Nigeria mockingly address lawyers as CHARGE & BAIL!
The legal profession has lost her nobility, yet for the bar aspirants becoming a legal practitioner still is.
There’s an ancient belief that once a person has been admitted into the Nigerian Bar Association, the young lawyer looks forward to his/her first day in court. This urge is laced with a lot of mixed feelings as a greater number of new wigs flop on their first day; they either end up addressing the court in a rather funny manner combining all the techniques they gathered at the NLS especially during the externship period. For example,
“Respectfully my Lord…”
“With utmost humility to this honorable court…” etc
One of the easiest ways to spot a new wig in court is the way they announce appearance while some new wigs have mastered the art of announcing appearance and moving motions, the other new wigs can neither announce appearance nor move motions. May heavens smile on the few Judges who are always willing to assist the new wigs whilst moving motion despite the fact that it eats into the time of the court. Some new wigs can neither announce appearance nor move the motion, they come to court with already prepared speech usually down in their diaries ranging from how to announce appearance, move the motion and even howto thank the judge after his/her case has been decided.
For some new wigs who never get the chance to appear alone just yet, hang on dear, you will surely get a chance and I bet you’ll definitely have a story to tell on your first day.
Announcing appearance comes with a lot of mixed feelings especially when you are up against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) or a very senior lawyer who has built his court confidence over the years.
3 months after I was admitted into the Nigerian Bar Association, I got the privilege of serving in Kaduna (Kaduna City) and was posted to a law firm. I followed my boss to court every day and all I did was a bow to my lord and take down dates, it took a lot of time for me to learn to file processes in court. One beautiful Tuesday morning, my boss sent me to the Kaduna State High Court for a matter, he had courage in me that I would deliver, the night before Monday, I couldn’t sleep, I kept practicing my speech, I remember ironing my collaret a couple of times that night in a bid to abort my anxiety but to no avail.
Tuesday morning, I set out to JUSTICE ESTHER LOLO’S courtroom, I arrived early enough, went through the court’s list, and found out that my case was number 1 but I wasn’t worried as I believed the seniors would invoke the “SENIORITY AT THE BAR CARD’.
Court session resumed a few minutes after 9 am. All was going smooth and gently as I watched lawyers take turns to argue and make brilliant submissions, surely the legal profession is blessed with ORATORS.
My case was called up and I stood up to announce appearance thus;
ME: “Respectfully my lord”, my name is NWAFOR-ORIZU B.N. Esq.
JUSTICE LOLO: Spell Please
ME: Ok “N…
JUSTICE LOLO: N
ME: YEA, W
JUSTICE LOLO: W
ME: Yea, (the courtroom went agog, poor me, I wondered why there was so much noise suddenly) the lawyer sitting next to me whispered to me that It’s rude to respond YEA to a Judge that I should rather respond with MY LORD (which is the language of the court).
I quickly corrected myself but went back to the same YEA responses whilst she’s still trying to put down my name. She dropped her pen looked at me and said
JUSTICE LOLO: Do I look like one of your friends who you chitchat with?
ME: YEAH! (There was laughter at the courtroom as the Judge got offended)
JUSTICE LOLO: (she then noticed my dressing and signals on one of the court clerks to come and help me adjust my collaret) When next you are appearing before me, make sure you dress properly and learn to address the court, from your appearance and composure, it appears you are a new wig, I will pardon today.
ME: YEA (then suddenly remembers) YES MY LORD.
JUSTICE LOLO: (she smiled softly and begged we proceed) let’s proceed.
As a new wig, my first challenge was mastering the language of the court and I know a lot of new wigs have the same experience or even worse than mine. Thanks, JUSTICE ESTHER LOLO, I guess the new wig card bailed me out.
Surely the legal profession could be likened to tales by moonlight (we never run out of stories), for a lawyer every day is a story.
Every lawyer has a beginner’s story.
Written by NWAFOR-ORIZU NNENNA BLOSSOM Esq.