Advise for Aspiring Lawyers

TWB: Thank you for speaking to TWB (The WorkBooth Magazine); this is an honour for us. Kindly take us through your professional journey? And most importantly at what point did you know that you wanted to develop a career as a Lawyer?

Barr. Daodu: Yes, things happen. When I was in school, I wanted to join the military since I discovered that as a lawyer, you can do anything. But my orientation changed when I was at the Law School. I was posted to Afe Babalola for an internship. At that time, Afe Babalola was the counsel to the president. I wanted to go there to see the man and know who he was. When I got there, I discovered that the secret of Chief Afe Babalola was hard work. Because he would arrive at the office before 8:00 o’Clock at times. And he worked, read a lot, did research and repeated it every day. He goes on break by 3 PM and he returns by 6:00 PM. And finally leaves by 10 every day. We were attached to the seniors while in the chambers. We followed them to the court and whenever we went to the court, I saw other lawyers and how they argued. I noticed that it was not like what we saw on television. How they shouted, “Objection My Lord and all.”I discovered that it wasn’t proper for lawyers to shout in the court of law.

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I noticed the form of respect that the court accord to lawyers and vice versa. From there, I began to see I could venture into this profession.

I had been posted to that military to serve as a corp member. It was at an organ that was in charge of discipline in the military. There, I became the P.A to the judge advocate of the entire 1 Mechanized Division in Kaduna. I followed him to the court Marshall and I saw how they prosecuted cases and I decided that I’d love to practice and I learnt from Chief Afe Babalola that a good lawyer isn’t the one that has all the law offhand, but one that knows how and where to find it. Once you make up your mind to do something, you will see someone else who will offer you words of encouragement to perfect it.

TWB: What are some of the unforgettable moments in your career? Moments that you describe as turning points?

Barr. Daodu: After service, I was looking for a chamber. I had already gotten a chamber in Lagos prior but abandoned it. It was because of the conductor’s attitude. I ran to Ibadan. Still searching for Chamber, one day, the Reverend in my church preached a sermon and the following day, I dressed up to meet a lawyer I had known and told him about my predicament. I told him that I wanted to practice and needed a chamber. He gave me a letter to give somebody. He said the person doesn’t need a lawyer but I should go to him. I went there and I discovered something about the man. He was someone that doesn’t carry people along. I noticed that while he worked, he didn’t care to call me. Then, one day, I decided to meet him and told him I can do some jobs. He was hesitant at first, then he gave me a file and said, “make sure the court grant you this application and you should never allow it to fail.”I agreed that I could do it. I was able to execute the application and got the order the exact day. When I got to Lagos, I decided to read the file overnight. I was very happy that I found favour before that court at the end of the day. That was the day I knew I can do whatever I set out my mind to do. Things I have witnessed in the court has been my turning point.

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TWB: With the benefit of hindsight, are there things you would do differently if you were to start afresh?

Barr. Daodu: I would like to leverage people’s expertise because of the mentality of most offices in Ibadan. We try to do everything alone. We do not partner with people. But if I want to start all over again, I’d like to get like-minded people, form alliances with them. Because there are people who are good with words but can’t sit down to research. But in Nigeria, we venture in both and that has been a problem. We are both barrister and solicitor which is unlike in the United Kingdom. I’d love to join forces with others.

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TWB: What are the major challenges you face in your line practice?

Barr. Daodu: The only challenge I face in practise is that:

1) I used to have issues when it comes to charging people. I want to portray Christ-like behaviour while being a Christian and a lawyer.

But during my internship, I remember the words of Chief Babalola about preparing for the process. You must charge for all the processes.

2) We were taught not to charge for the work but the owner. You must evaluate the owner before you charge them. You should access your client before you charge them. Don’t overcharge or undercharge a client.

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