303 views | Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq. | March 16, 2021
There is an observed conduct in some law offices which have junior lawyers as staff. The employment of the junior lawyers in some of these law offices is seen as a relief by the seniors or the principal to be free from legal research, hence, the determination to always refer majority (if not all legal researches) to be carried out by the office to the juniors in the office, especially those offices that are into litigation. This paper is of respectful advice that legal research is the backbone of litigation. And a lawyer is to ensure that he creates time to study the law and this is achieved by a continuous legal research so as to be abreast of the law. Therefore, seniors in the office should not as a matter of fulfillment, assign legal research always to the juniors in office so that they too can be abreast of the law. In fact, this paper has not left the judicial officers (judges) out of this discourse who might feel fulfilled to always assign legal research to their legal research assistants in chambers without participating in the legal research.
In my humble view, legal research is closer to having an effective legal writing. The importance of legal research in the legal profession no doubt cannot be overemphasized. And according toWikipedia online, ‘legal writing’ involves the analysis of fact patterns and presentation of arguments in documents such as legal memoranda and briefs. One form of legal writing involves drafting a balanced analysis of a legal problem or issue. Another form of legal writing is persuasive, and advocates in favor of a legal position. Another form legal writing involves drafting legal instruments, such as contracts and wills’. Lawyers in law offices (private or public or judicial) must therefore ensure that they acquire a good skill in legal research. In my humble submission, the engagement of junior counsel in the office or the engagement of research assistants should not make the seniors to delegate absolutely, all matters relating to legal research to the juniors while it would be the business of the seniors to only go to court to defend the brief, legal arguments and submissions prepared by the juniors in office or chambers. Even if the juniors are assigned to carry out legal research, it is still a good idea for the seniors to still conduct their own legal research to be compared with the findings of the juniors in office.
Legal research must be seen as we see ‘food’ that is taken to quench hunger. Therefore, at every particular time, a lawyer is desired of legal research, if he is not lazy about his prominent function as a lawyer! Legal research must be a joint function of both the seniors and the juniors in office and in my humble view, no one can be older above legal research because it is a path to knowledge, information and reformation. Therefore, we must not deputise this role absolutely for the purpose of our intellectual capacity building.
Finally, it is my humble belief that the message of this brief discourse is well received and that the recommendations would guide us all as lawyers.