Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)
Seventy-two homegrown lawyers have been called to the bar after fulfilling the legal education requirement. The ceremony was held at the Superior Courts Complex in Banjul on Monday, 6th February 2023.
Among the students called to the Bar, 40 are women and 32. 35 of them are Gambians, 32 Ghanaians, and 5 Cameroonians.
Speaking at the ceremony as the guest speaker, Justice A. Bah focused on the ethics of the profession.
She said the ethics of the Bar are not precisely those of everyday life, but they are strict adding that Lawyers must do their work with absolute honesty, according to the ethics of the profession.
“If there is anything more important than any other in a lawyer, it is that he or she should be honest. He or she must be honest with his or her client. He or she must be honest with the court. Above all, he or she must be honest with him or herself.”
She said the legal profession also has a great tradition for competence. She added that one must familiarise himself with all the facts and documents of a given case and the applicable laws.
She added that the advocate must be proficient: he or she must be able to understand all the circumstances of the case and how the principles of the law apply to it. But the effective conduct of a trial involves more than expertise in law and procedure.
“He or she must strive to be a man of letters and would learn the magical and miraculous effect of words. He or she must also be a person of character. The court must be able to rely on his words and which is his or her bond. He or she must exude confidence in his or her work, for a lawyer who shows lack of faith in his or her case is not likely to make a positive impression,” she said.
She said a lawyer must be amiable, polite, and ethical and show respect for the authority of the court, adding that a lawyer must not be timid for the success of his or her case may depend on the quality of his persistence. He or she must be independent and have the courage to stand by his or her arguments.
“A lawyer must be prepared to accept a brief pro bono public for the public good. Lawyers are in a unique position to help individuals, groups, and organizations with their legal problems and further the public good.
She said public interest lawyers champion legal causes for the greater good of society and help those in need of legal assistance who might not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer. Lawyers in private practice often perform pro bono work to help low-income individuals and underserved portions of the population such as the elderly, victims of domestic abuse and children, etc.
She advises them not to be in a hurry to start making money at the expense of lives and properties of the poor clients who seek for your services, adding that successful lawyers, particularly at the Bar, differ from each other to a most remarkable extent, both in their manner and in their methods.
She asked then to be courageous, for courage is the most important attribute of a lawyer. It can never be elective in any law school and it should pervade the heart, the halls of justice and the chambers of the mind.
“When you choose to be a lawyer, you are choosing a path that often requires putting in long hours to study and prepare for each case. Clients can be demanding. Your assignments may seem simple but end up being complex depending on variety of factors”
She advised them to start by committing to taking time off their busy schedule for their own wellbeing, adding that if they are worried about missing out, let them remember that building deliberate moments of rest into your work life may actually end up boosting your overall productivity and performance.
She said there is nothing more fulfilling and rewarding than life at the Bar and pray they will be the same twenty, thirty years down the line and successful and fulfilling careers at the Bar after their enrolment.