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  Afro Law

The Ideal Lawyer
by Mankind Olawale Oyewumi

"The best check on the excesses of litigation is not the rules of the profession or even judicial oversight but the values and character of individual lawyers."----Joseph G. Allegretti

I must begin, I know, with an unwithered remembrance of a God-year old substance, which had since lubricated my memory with creative spirituality and consciousness. On it, men had logically argued and won the perfect respect and admiration of principled people. Because of it, fine poems were placed on the hard and electronic archives of the wise. Naguib of ancient Egypt, Nigeria's Achebe and American Tony Morison made prose of it, and it was as if their intelligence was the only guide for man.

My grand mother maimed my foolishness with the strokes of her doting cane because I missed it. Father and mother expressed contempt for their confidence in me because I wretchedly betrayed it. In earnest and honest pursuit of it, I looked for the wealth I wretchedly lacked in others.Ask Shakespeare, Soyinka, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Ndibe,Eghagha, Kperogi and Ralph Waldo Emerson, even immortal Jesus and our ever-relevant Mohamed (Saw), this is the reason I love them.

And if the devil, with any of his idolatry disciples, feels a fraction of animosity towards me, it is because what Hitler and all morally lusterless colonial masters did to fetch our race some immeasurable dosage of pain, through his vicious virtues symbolically came to man. What is this thing that I so soufully remember with grateful gratitude? Behold it is beauty; it is the gross obsession for universal affection, from which all just laws, breeders of reliable justice and freedom, have emanated!

Law, justice and freedom, as beautiful and useful as they appear to man, have countlessly been used to construct and destroy the cause of man. Not through history, never because of our acquaintance with formal logic, but through a network of splashes from our sane conscience, from which our annals and logic fetch their resources, we have learnt that laws are rules made and kept by man for the sure survival and guaranteed happiness of man in all possible existential chores of man. Only the extent of the moral and mental fertility of the makers, the commitment to eternal principle of the custodians, and the courage and intrepidity of the upholders of the law, determine, not just the quality of justice available to the society, but also the level of freedom possible for man. It is an indispensable truism that men are made more virtuous by morality than by law, but laws made with absolute dependence on morality and righteousness, visionarily collated and kept sacrosanct, only to be periodically re-assessed by the collective intelligence of man, has been found to be more superior to any individual moralist in the history of planet-earth!

If premium is placed on justice and freedom, it is not to demean the necessity and fine grandeur of the law; it is to insist that the use to which a thing is put determine its greatness. Anatole France says, " The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." If a man whom the law has shot its redeeming door against runs his body and soul with stolen bread, or the man which the law, at least tacitly by the refusal of the makers to provide or insert a provisional clause that guards against homelessness, sleeps in gutters, laws become fraud or odds, and justice can never be accused of being just! Justice therefore is the object of the law, freedom the gauge-metre of its fruitful availability and operational functionality. And, according to Marcus Tulius Cicero, The fundamentals of justice are that no one shall offer wrong, and that the public good be served." Lord Gordon Hewart authenticated this when he wrote, "It is not merely of some importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done."

So because it is so, and that asserting it so shall incandescently glow the human hope, let us boldly announce that our wealth of woes as inhabitants of a significant segment of the globe, had stayed in our vault of misfortunes owing to the awful betrayal several scholars had served their callings with in man's joint history. While I do not wish to rubbish the relevance and worth of others' endeavours on the excuses of the inexplicable inspirations and professional charm I often feel in me as a lawyer-to -be, the legal profession, bordering on societies' socio-economic and political and cultural cohesiveness, and enabling an atmosphere of peace and order in which war may be decisively dulled or hugged--in which undue haters of humanity may justly pay, or undue payment for others' animality may be ethically converted into some penitence in damages or reparations from the soul--represents for unbias, the platform upon which other platforms stand for the service of man.

The law is best preserved and made operational by lawyers. The ideal lawyer is the crimeless custodian of the law: his or her instincts and intellects create, learn and stand for the preservation of the most complex muses of past sages, cases, social critics, politicians and activists whose entrenched interests had culminated in written and unwritten laws and precedents which offer to millions, basic controlling systemic mechanisms for healthy interactions among citizens, institutions and even nations. The ideal lawyer is the loyal legal practitioner with adequate knowledge of the law: passionate passion to absolutely bury interest in it, brilliance to identify it, wit to apply it, eloquence to illustrate it, boldness to express it, and integrity to insist on, and stand for it, let heaven fall!

The ideal lawyer, knowing the laws that bind and unbind the rights and limits of individual citizens, of their relationships with fellows in corporate and diplomatic capacities, is the referee in all seen and unseen social matches in any well-defined state with population, territories, authority and sovereignty. Himself or herself a mortal, this profession confers the moral rituals of immortality on the lawyer devoted to the humble service of cautoning dealers of evil with the verdicts of the law. His or her little life being a continuation of the unceasing sense in the tedious sense of existential engineering, nothing else matters to the man or woman called to the Bar of reason to interpret and explain the law as appropriate without any indecent dint of patronage, without any iota of perjury and prejudice.

The ideal lawyer is not the man or woman with restricted sources of applicable laws, he or she knows that although the constitution is a major source, several sources exist from which aptly apposite laws may be found. The ideal lawyer cannot be deceased of integrity; he or she possesses an intellectual purity prodigally purred into the business of justice and freedom for collective peace and progress. Mr. Joe Igbokwe's striking statement that " There can be no peace without justice" makes this function a specifically fantastic one.

They are several in number, modern mortals who think and forever hold that lawyers are liars. This thinking and belief points to bias or insanity, or both. While it is possible that lawyers may exist who include lies in the concrete-making of their exhibits as valid evidence, lying is not an attribute restricted to the lawyers alone. Engineers and drivers, doctors and tailors, analysts and psychologists, philosophers and footballers, all may lie if their souls are sick enough to deem it an ineluctable escape-route in their various avocations.

Liberty is far from those who misconstrue logic for lies; ample dishonour is the destiny of those who deploy logic to aid fraud. Logic is a tool, tailored for sanity, instituted for progress; and like lawyers and writers, every man is invited to dance with, and accordingly respond to the timeless tunes of logic. Often in times when esoteric complexity characterizes knotty circumstances, logic is the saviour of man. It does not matter if the world mistake the ideal lawyer for a superb lier; let him or her follow logic from the first to the last wrung on the tall ladder of thought, to the bearing of the truth, convinced that the truth alone loans the words and proofs in use (like a scholar which the ideal lawyer is) ideal judges shall rule in his or her favour, and where ideal judges are scarce and have his or moral health filled with plague, time shall appeal the misjudged case. Justice shall rear its head still!

Not being logical for the sake of pedantic impressionism and cheap popularity, but for the survival of the truth and timeless sanctity of the legal profession, the ideal lawyer must be boundlessly logical. Let the ideal lawyer distinguish between the widely used logic of his or her profession and the universal logic dedicated to universal truth. Truth is the object of any variety of logic. Not legal logic, but truth's logic alone is worthy of his fidelity. Let him or her advance a healthier set of rules through books, based on the truth, to replace all ethics that are not qualified for any space in the eternal abode of reason. The world shall be reluctant to accept them I suspect, but the ideal lawyer must persist on them for a sanity,both of his soul and of his earth.

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© August 2008 by Mankind Olawale Oyewumi || [TOP]


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