Getting Legal Help: Lawyers in 21st Century Nigeria
The Ever-Changing Status Quo
It is an established fact that the social, political, financial terrain e.t.c. in the world and not excluding Nigeria, has and continues to grow in complexity and size. As this train of development continues on its progressive track, so too have the number of legal questions being asked and the need to find solutions to an ever increasing set of issues arising.
It is not rare to find a single matter such as a sale over the internet gone wrong, opening new areas previously un-meditated or considered in areas of contract law or laws of advertising. These features of modern life create a whole new challenge to legal practitioners as regards the most important need of 21st century clients namely…PROBLEM SOLVING. Key to achieving this lies with lawyers being completely in tune with the trends and innovations that inevitably collide with the status quo, thus providing answers to questions as they unfold.
The factors that determine where one goes to get help are tied to the needs one has. It cannot be overstated that peculiar clients come with peculiar problems thus needing peculiar solutions. What should be considered includes the firm’s:
- area of specialization
- track record of service
Also quite important is the firm’s ability to deal with present day reality. Though not necessarily a measure of legal depth and competence, a good number of nouveau practice lawyers embark on studies outside the pure legal field. This has proved to be an asset of sorts as it equips the holder of such qualifications with a firm and balanced view of his/her environment for the ultimate good of the CLIENT. This new breed of lawyer is the legal profession’s natural response to the future as it unfolds.
Embracing "Alternative Dispute Resolution"
One of the hallmarks of these new firms has been their fluid embrace of new problem solving techniques that where possible, avoid long drawn litigation. This new trend called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) employs the use of other avenues for aggrieved parties to come together, guided by their counsels to work on ways to solve their disputes outside the courts. Popular forms of ADR include arbitration and mediation. This form of dispute resolution has become quite effective and popular as evidenced in the Lagos State High Court’s multi-door court house which provides it. The embrace of it is mainly to save the CLIENT the rigors of traditional court processes that could prove both cumbersome and time intensive especially in new areas such as cyberspace and telecoms where the courts may spend extra time coming to terms with the concept of what these new trends are.
The New Order In Legal Practice
With the old order in the legal profession gradually leaving the stage for the new, this approach to problem solving is coming to the fore through the resourceful efforts of a new type of law firm in the country. These firms are known for providing solutions to the specific needs of the CLIENT. These firms provide specific professional services for a number of CLIENTS, in a highly specialized environment. They perform works of individual and team effort and provide specialized high quality service that becomes their main competitive edge in practice. Through consistency in service delivery, diligence in legal research and often an IT supported practice, they are focused on providing solutions for their CLIENTS in ways that create value for them.
The underlying strength of these legal professionals rests firmly in their ability to take on and soundly handle CLIENTS needs in their specific industries. This trend in recent times has not gone unnoticed by foreign investors who need quality consultancy services in the area of foreign direct investments and private equity investments. Some firms specialize in the areas listed above and are known for effectiveness in assisting CLIENTS accomplish their objectives in the Nigerian market, and other markets along the West Coast of Africa.
The new global market place has all but erased previous boundaries. Powered by a universally accepted knowledge driven economy it has created a situation whereby a professional is only as good as his ability and his network. A few of these firms are members of world-wide networks of legal consultancies that pass on jobs, share information and ultimately offer solutions to CLIENTS. One of such networks is MSI International a world-wide link of 200 firms across 90 countries.
In choosing a lawyer it is important to seek out and consult genuine problem solvers that will approach your needs from a strategic and effective point of view, this is the future of law practice in Nigeria and the world beyond.