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Over 200,000 lawyers in Nigeria but the sky is big enough for every lawyer to fly

Over 200,000 lawyers in Nigeria but the sky is big enough for every lawyer to fly

I read a post on Twitter from a user who posted a picture from the recent call-to-bar ceremony where thousands of lawyers were inducted into the Nigerian bar. She asked, “Where do all these numerous new lawyers will see work?”. 

Well, statistically speaking, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) welcomes at least five thousand (5000) new members on a yearly basis and records available show that there are over two hundred thousand (200000) active lawyers presently in Nigeria. So the poster is not wrong to have curiosity asked where these enormous numbers of new lawyers recently inducted will see work as it appears that the market is already saturated. 

To be fair, it is not just the Nigerian legal labour market that is saturated, every field of endeavour is saturated, and both white-collar, brown collar and even red-collar markets are all saturated. There is an enormous amount of workforce birthed into the Nigerian system annually for them to scramble for the meagre jobs available. 

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I recently sent out a public post that we have a vacancy for two new lawyers to join our firm and I got over a hundred applications from both young lawyers and older lawyers for that advert. That’s how saturated the market is. 

This is why I found it ridiculous when I read that the Nigerian government is working with the British government so that UK-trained lawyers can practice in Nigeria. If it worked out, it would have been suicidal for every Nigerian lawyer practising in Nigeria, including the bigwigs. (More on this later). 

But without the risk of sounding harsh, it is embarrassing for you as a lawyer to be applying for jobs or submitting your CV up and down. As a lawyer, you have been trained to literally do anything legal to feed yourself and survive. You can excel in any human endeavour you find yourself. If there are no jobs for you, as a lawyer, you have been trained to create jobs for yourself and by extension create jobs for other persons. 

The good news is that the legal market will never be saturated and lawyers will never go out of jobs despite any technological invention or any AI, no matter how sophisticated it gets, there will always be a need for human lawyers. The two hundred active lawyers currently in Nigeria are not even enough to cater for the Nigerian legal market of over two hundred million customers/ clients. So the sky is big enough for all the two hundred thousand lawyers to fly and to excel individually. The better news is that we are not just servicing the two hundred million persons market, we are servicing an international market of over 7 billion clients. 

Foreign investors have been penetrating Nigeria aggressively and Nigerian lawyers are the ones advising and sealing the deals. Recently Udo Udoma and Bello Osagie law firm (a Nigerian law firm) was the one that advised Universal Music group on their recent acquisition of Don Jazzy’s Marvin record label that made the news some days ago and they were paid handsomely for it. I too have numerous foreign clients scattered in different nations of the earth. When investors of foreign clients come into Nigeria for some deals, they must engage a Nigerian lawyer or a lawyer who has been licensed to practice in Nigeria. So we are not in the market for just Nigerian clients, we are in the market where our clients are in every part of the world. 

More so, for those dealing with international legal issues, such as the complexities of Interpol notices, seeking the expertise of an Interpol Red Notice lawyer can be crucial. These specialists can help navigate the legal intricacies and work towards the removal of such notices.

Interestingly, some big law firms in Nigeria are even already branching out and dominating other countries. Templars recently branched out to the Ghana, Olaniwun Ajayi LP already branched out to the UK, my former boss, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has a branch in Gambia and Ghana and numerous other law firms have presence in other countries including non-English speaking countries like Cameron, France and even China.

So as a young lawyer, don’t ever feel agitated that the market is already saturated and you will be bereft of jobs, believe me, even if there are ten million lawyers in Nigeria, it won’t still be enough because (for the umpteenth time) we do not just service a market of two hundred million persons, we are servicing a global market of over 7 billion persons.

There is even more money in the Nigerian legal market now than it used to be. Now Nigerian lawyers bill in millions of dollars. Nigerian lawyers charge billions of naira as legal fees. It couldn’t be heard of that any lawyer from the early 2000s downwards would be paid a billion naira or a million dollars as legal fees. 

The sky is big enough for all of us, Just carve your niche for yourself and excel in your area, that’s all it takes. 

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