Worried by unethical practices in the bar particularly among young lawyers, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mrs Folake Solanke, on Saturday called on lawyers to exhibit a high level of ethical standards to preserve judicial integrity.
Solanke made the call in her opening remarks at the maiden dinner of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) held in Lagos.
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.
Specifically, she admonished “new wigs” (junior lawyers) to strictly observe the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners, describing the ruled as the guiding light for every lawyer.
Solanke, however, chided lawyers, who showed insubordination to judges and their seniors at the Bar or who those in the habit of employing derogatory remarks, saying such disposition constituted a breach of legal ethics.
She said:“In 1981 when I became the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, I was just one out of over 30 others, but today I am no more lonely as there are now a good number of female senior advocates in the country.
“As Senior Advocates, it is important we have positive influence on the younger ones so as to checkmate their conduct.
“The young lawyers who point fingers at judges or address them as “you” should be informed that the correct way of addressing a judge is: My Lord, Me Lord, Your Lordship or simply, the Court.
“It is an abomination to be rude to a judge; the legal profession has no room for nonchalance and so, lawyers who like to say “yeah, yeh men, or yah, should understand that these are not legal languages but unprofessional slangs.
“It is unethical to point fingers at judges, or exhibit conduct which tends to put the profession in the bad light; lawyers must seek to maintain judicial decorum.”
Solanke urged senior advocates to be shining examples to junior lawyers and also strive to preserve the legal profession.
Highlight of the event was the induction of the 29 newly appointed senior advocates into the body.
Other dignitaries at the event include a former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UK, Dr Christopher Kolade, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe, Dr Paul Usoro among other senior advocates.