Most Nigerians except Nigerian lawyers are scared of lawyers. It really does not matter how highly educated they are. Some are scared because of their past experience and some are scared because of the experience of a friend that was relayed to them. Some feel the fear of the lawyer is the beginning of wisdom and most have reverence for lawyers. But here are seven reasons why everyone needs a lawyer in Nigeria.
- Avoid Pitfalls: Having a lawyer enables you to avoid pitfalls when starting a business or in your existing business. Don’t think for a moment that you have a previous business and as such starting a new business follows the same legal process. The law is complicated and is constantly being updated and only a lawyer knows this. A lawyer would review all your contracts with a view to protecting you from all loopholes both immediate and futuristic. Also all businesses are governed by a particular law or a regulatory body. For instance, in the business of buying goods and selling same, commercial law governs these transactions. Even banking has the law of banking to govern its operations and relationships with customers.
- It Costs More Not Have A Lawyer: A friend once told me that you need five things to engage a lawyer. He said:
While he may not be entirely wrong but not having a lawyer can cost you more. If you unfortunately find yourself in a contractual dispute because you really do not know your legal rights, you end up having financial loss which could have being avoided if you have a lawyer. Take for instance, you bought a land from a Real Estate Company or an individual and after payment no land was handed over to you or no title documents were given to you except a receipt acknowledging payment for the land. You might have asked severally without getting a response from the seller. You may end up ignoring the whole transaction and count it as a loss.
However, a lawyer could write letters to the seller or institute a civil action against the seller, and in some cases petition the seller to the Nigerian Police Force. A letter from a lawyer is weightier and more effective than a letter from you to the seller. In a criminal case you might end up spending time in prison for an offence in you did not commit and this much more expensive than having a lawyer. A lawyer in this circumstances is useful as he or she would defend you and prove your innocence. A lawyer will even obtain bail for you as long as the offence you are being accused of is a bailable offence. A bailable offence is one which the grant of bail is a matter of right. A lawyer knows that you cannot be detained for more than 24 hours and therefore can institute an action for the enforcement of your fundamental human rights when you have been incarcerated for more than 24 hours.
- Going To Court Is A different Ball Game: One more reason to have a lawyer is court cases, litigation is quite tedious and hectic and complicated. And if you do not sue anyone, someone can sue you. The world is rapidly transforming into a transactional hub. Thus, the court has a different language not understood by non-lawyers. Most times, the courtroom and premises is swimming in the technicalities of law and procedure. This is one more reason to have a lawyer to help you solve your legal issues flawlessly when it involves civil litigation, criminal litigation and arbitration. Only a lawyer knows when you have been set up and only a lawyer can successfully prove your innocence. You can’t do it alone; you just must have a lawyer to achieve this.
- Avoid Problems: Most people opt for a lawyer when they are neck deep in problems. But wise people engage a lawyer even before they have problems. A lawyer aids you in avoiding problems. While they are good at solving problems, they are even better avoiding these problems through legal advice, consultations and the lot.
- You Can Never Be Cheated: Having a lawyer by your side means you can never be cheated even when you pay for services. The lawyer knows the law and he or she knows how to use the law to get you what you paid for. Be it a qualitative service or a product. A lawyer would ensure that your product bought is suitable and fit for the purpose it was bought.
- A Lawyer Can Also Help You To Get A Good Deal: A lawyer is good at many things and even better at negotiation and can therefore assist you in getting a good business deal or a good settlement offer. You may have a case which would be more beneficial for you to settle rather than go through the full hog of trial or police wahala and only a lawyer can secure this for you.
- Family Affairs: Sometimes, we believe we don’t need a lawyer to settle our family affairs but this is where we need a lawyer the most. Many families in Nigeria have suffered a great deal when the bread winner of the family demises because they had no lawyer before the demise of the bread winner to advise them properly. A lawyer can render advice on the best form to secure assets for the benefit of your wife and children. A lawyer would advise you whether a will or trust is the best for you. Also when you have family squabbles and intend divorcing your spouse or being separated from your spouse, a lawyer comes in handy by putting you through the matrimonial causes process and procedure. And what of cases of domestic violence?
Written By Ngo-Martins Legal