Saturday, October 31, 2009


On 28th September 2009, no less than two hundred lawyers turned up at the Cathedral Church, Marina, Lagos, for the Christian service marking the new Legal Year Day for 2009/2010.

A particular barrister stood out of the lot but for negative reasons. While most of his colleagues at the occasion looked sharp and clean in their suits, Mr. Olusesan Aknalaja (called 1991) cut such an extremely shabby appearance, that he could easily be mistaken for a tramp about loud or an academic who had just embarked on a journey of innocuous insanity.

Akinlaja’s shoes were a pair of black; he of course had no socks on. His trousers a blue khaki jeans no shared no affinity with his jacket and was dirty. But the light blue stripped jacket Akinlaja had on was even dirtier, 'grimy' actually is the word. His shirt had lost its whiteness may be as far back in time as 2007 and his bib, wrinkled and browned as it were, would serve as fair camouflage for an aparo (patridge).

Akinlaja had a bag in his hand; that was about the only neat item on him, but it was simply out of place, being more like a small travel bag or a woman’s hold-all than a male lawyer’s bag.

To complete the story picture Akinlaja presented an unshaven cheeks and chin that sprouted short white hairs.
Indeed Akinlaja was an unsightly figure on the said day but most just kept their thoughts about him to themselves yet this was a legal practitioner, who for the sheer terrible sight he presented on that day, properly deserved a suspension from the profession, except it be proven that he was suffering from insanity!

Concerned members of the legal profession are worried about the slovenness and general inappropriate dressing of many practicing counsel these days.

There are some lady lawyers including magistrates and even judges who, in the course of their jobs practice various forms of undress and imbibe the practice of loud jewelry wearing including leg-chains, heavy multi-coloured face make-up, drop ear-rings, big brooches, punk hair styles, multi-coloured braids, etc.

For the men folk, quite an increasing number are finding it difficult to appear before the court wearing suits and shoes of colour black. Many also find it almost an anathema to sport starched, crisp, all white bibs as they are more at home with dirty, stained, crumpled ungainly bibs, which flop dejectedly on their chests.

Male lawyers, particularly those on the Main-land are more guilty of poor dressing than their female whose fault mainly lie in being unnecessarily and inappropriately showy.

There are many male counsel, whose constant excuse for poor, clients-chasing-appearance is “you know I am not appearing in court today” and they truly believe that is good enough excuse to appear like a palm-wine tapper or a rustic thrift collector, or just a plan old “Lagos stroller.”

This magazine believes a legal practitioner should endeavour to look his best all the time, not only for reasons of personal benefits but as part of the effort to maintain and sustain the high reputation of the legal profession.

We also believe that it is the duty of the seniors and elders in the profession to discourage legal practitioners from indulging in care-less or even worse, care-free dressing which tends to put to ridicule the noble profession.

1 comment:

onyema said...

Honestly, more write-ups like this should be done, and each time the focus should be on a lawyer who has no such word as 'decent dressing' in their dictionary. A magistrate friend of mine once told me that she's 'very happy' whenever she sees a well-dressed lawyer. The import of that is that badly or inappropriately dressed colleagues abound.
I salute your courage Learned Squib. Even some senior colleagues are a disaster to behold. Let them go to court; after all, fair comment is a defence !