Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa because of its prodigious economy. However in the face of the myriads of blessings the country prides herself with, there still lies an overt chasm when it comes to economic, social, and human capital development and this impacts the citizens’ life negatively, especially with unemployment.
According to Doris DokuaSasu, in 2022, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is estimated to hit 33%. This figure was projected to hit 32.5% in 2021.
Inspite of the failure of the government to invest in quality education and excellent human capital development, it will be a disservice to not appreciate the presence of talented people with exquisite ideas on how to move the nation forward, and subsequently position the country at a vantage point of reliance on its own resources and citizens’ manpower to attract great foreign investments and truly live up to its moniker as “the giant of Africa”.
Encore Africa in appreciating the abundance of hordes of talented professionals in Nigeria who are striving to carve a niche of excellence for themselves across several professions, careers, and businesses, waded into the space of these individuals and got into a chat with a young professional lawyer.
NonsoAnyansi, with the Twitter handle @Oluwanonso_Esq takes Encore Africa on an insight into the trajectory of his professional journey as a young lawyer.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am NonsoAyansi, known as Equivocator on Twitter, a professional lawyer. I was called to the Nigerian bar in 2017.
What inspired you to study law?
Right from childhood, my parents and siblings (I’m the last born of my family) kept telling me that I had been saying I wanted to be a lawyer right from when I was a toddler. It was not until I had become a lawyer that I discovered they had scammed me. Anyway, I had an affection for the arts subjects and debates. I took a compulsory aptitude test organised by the Lagos State Government in my JS3 where the result showed that my best career choice was a Lawyer. I followed the advice on the aptitude test result and chose Law as my first choice course of study in JAMB and got it on my first attempt.
What is the biggest obstacle/challenges you have faced in your career?
I’m still technically a young lawyer and my biggest obstacle is that people – clients, employers, even jurists – are not willing to give you a chance until you have “proved yourself”. Coming from a background where you have nothing and know nobody (e.g. someone like me that’s probably the only lawyer in my generation ever… lol) I felt it. For instance, I started in a core dispute resolution firm. I tried to switch to tech/data protection, nobody was willing to give a chance to a “litigation lawyer” until I had to force my way in. Sometimes, clients also do not trust their briefs with “that small lawyer” and prefer to go to the big names in the industry. This is a major challenge.
Does being a lawyer comes with any extra benefit? If yes, have you ever enjoyed such benefit?
Oh, yes! Firstly, there is a certain level of respect that comes with being a lawyer in Nigeria. Most times, just the NBA sticker on your car can pave the way for you. When you speak as a lawyer, even without introducing yourself as one, people are eager to listen to you.
Secondly, there’s a high level of trust that comes with being a lawyer. Most times, your word or oral promise or representation is enough for you to get something and you don’t need to back it up with documents. This is why lawyers must ensure that they strive to maintain the high level of trust and confidence reposed in them.
What other career path would you have chosen, apart from law?
I think I may have been an economist or a historian.
If given the opportunity, would you gladly change your career?
If the information and knowledge that is presently available was available back then, I would have gone for tech where the blood money is; so, yes.
Any advice to the young ones in the industry?
For those still at the University and Law School: The practice of Law is very interesting and rewarding if you set your mind to it. I enjoy what I do, and I know so do several other lawyers that are in love with the practice of the law; these are lawyers in litigation, corporate and commercial practice. My advice to the students is to learn everything they can learn while they have teachers that are available to answer all their questions. When you make a mistake as a student, you get corrected by your lecturer. When you make a mistake in practice, it can lead to dire consequences such as loss of life, liberty and billions of Naira. Also, good grades give you a great spring board in your career.
For those who are still in the early years of their career: Don’t be quick to label yourself. If you told me that I would love litigation when I was in university, I would never had believed. Try your hands on as many practice areas as you can and also be open to new learning all the time. Also make it a duty to observe the rules of ethics at all times. Greed and even the slightest unethical conduct can lead to very dire consequences. The profession rewards hard work and consistency. Law is also not a get-rich quick profession.
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