Manipulation: A Cause For Precaution By Young But Talented Nigerian Lawyers

Just like every person new in any position or office is new and naïve about many things concerning the new position and requires learning in the new field, so is every young lawyer being newly called to the Nigerian bar naïve in many ways about the legal profession, especially, the young but talented young lawyers are most likely vulnerable to being manipulated by either some of those that he trusts or those of his seniors at the bar or the general public due to his naivety, hence, the need for every young but talented Nigerian lawyer to be at alert and take necessary precaution against being a victim of manipulation, hence this topic.

The word ‘manipulate’ as a transitive verb means among other meanings according to the online Webster dictionary ‘: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage’. Therefore, if young but talented young Nigerian lawyers are not careful, they could easily be exploited and or fooled by some of those around them who pretend to be their helpers or their mentors! When young but talented lawyers are manipulated, it is likely to delay them being successful because their resources would have been used by those around them whom they consider as trustworthy to those persons’ advantages/benefits.

In my humble view, there are some manipulations that young lawyers need to be careful of which I advise as follows: a. beware of manipulation in friendship; b. beware of manipulation in neighbourhood; c. beware of manipulation in marriage proposal/ relationship; d. beware of manipulation from seniors in the legal profession; e. beware of manipulation from clients; f. beware of manipulation from miscreants or fraudsters. I shall briefly discuss each of these categories of manipulations that young lawyers need to beware of as discussed below.

1. Beware of manipulation in friendship: On this aspect, young lawyers need to beware of some persons whether lawyers or non-lawyers who would claim or make efforts to become friends with them because they (the young lawyers) are lawyers and they (manipulators) know that they have great benefits to gain from them (the young lawyers). Also, their intention for the friendship would also be to always use the lawyer for whatever legal needs they have either without paying for the legal services or by paying very low amount of money for the legal services. Young lawyers must understand that a person who does not have the success of the lawyer in mind is not a friend of progress rather he is an enemy of progress! I had a similar intention when some persons around me would like to use me to get their legal issues resolved with the intention that they would not pay me or to pay me a token sum of money. I had to categorise such friendship and know how to deal with them subsequently. It is however not good for young lawyers to fall into this kind of bad experiences.

2. Beware of manipulation in neighbourhood:Young lawyers also have to beware of some neighbours who would also intend to use the young lawyer with the intention of either paying very low amount of money for legal services or not paying at all. I had one time heard a senior lawyer who attended a seminar where it was advised that as lawyers, ‘we must operate our law office as a business entity and not as a relationship’!Relationship defers, business defers just like the principles of ‘giving to Caesar that which belongs to him’! So, if a young lawyer must survive, especially the economic pressures accustomed with the private practice, he must be able to wisely separate relationship from business and vice-versa, else, he might be manipulated unknown to him that he is being used and later, to be dumped when those persons get a better opportunity or are done using him or are done deriving benefits from him. I must also emphasise that young lawyers should not look down on themselves because they are young at the bar. One would always be young even at 20 years at the bar because there would continue to be those ahead in year at the bar ahead of you.

3. Beware of manipulation in marriage proposal/ relationship: Young lawyers must beware of relationship founded on benefits, for it is really a dangerous one. For a male young lawyer, you proposed to a lady for a legal marriage, but she rejected the proposal. Nevertheless, she came back to you as a friend because she finds some benefits that she could benefit from you either: financial or intellectual, etc! This kind of relationship is very dangerous! While the young lawyer is always dragged intofeign emotional trauma for love, the lady has nothing as ‘love’ at heart for him than manipulation for her own benefits! The same issue applies to a young female lawyer! So, there is need to review your relationship arising from proposal for marriage if you as a young lawyer must succeed and so that you could avoid any distraction to your progress!

4. Beware of manipulation from seniors in the legal profession: As a young but talented lawyer, you have to beware of some senior lawyers who would always use you for their own benefits just because you are a young lawyer! Anyone who appreciates you would show you the way to a prosperous success and not manipulating your potentials all in the name of you being a young lawyer. Some of the senior lawyers would try their best to bring you to their side and their company so far they find what they can gain or what benefits they can gain from your talents and or potentials. If you spend 1 year with them or with keeping relationship with them, you would not grow than where you were prior to meeting them. So, be very careful and vigilant! The man who sponsored my law programme till my law school fee was not a member of my family and not known to me prior to his helping me! Yet, till today, he has not sent me ordinary ‘get me some water’! he has not looked back at me to gain even the smallest benefit! May God Almighty continue to bless him and his family!

5. Beware of manipulation from clients: Every young but talented young lawyer must beware of some clients who would manipulate him either with sweet mouth or with the fact that the young lawyer is young and requires to meet up with a lot of financial needs. Some of the clients would also tell you that ‘you have a lot to do together with them’! Please if you hear this statement, run for your success! They are (many times) manipulators! Some of the clients might even tell you that they have some other lawyers who could do the work or render the legal service better than you could do but only that for one reason or the other (that they would tell you), they chose to use you to do the work! Please do not be manipulated! Collect your legal fees!

6. Beware of manipulation from miscreants or fraudsters: As a young lawyer, you must also beware of some miscreants or fraudsters or scammers who would capitalize on your being a young lawyer to defraud you. They know that you need money or well-paying job. So, they might misrepresent facts to you which they know that you can easily fall for! So, you have to be smart and vigilant!

Finally, it is my belief that this brief piece would be useful to the reader and would be a guide to the fulfillment of the career of every young lawyer because manipulations are real causes for a young lawyer to always take necessary precautions against!  Nevertheless, this is not to say that a young lawyer cannot use his discretion to render his legal services either for free of charge or for a reduced fee but this has to be without being manipulated! Also, this paper is not to say that a young lawyer should not be humble!



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