*Emanating from the desk of Olatunji M. Dawodu Esq. (NBA IKORODU BRANCH)*
*PAUL USORO SAN PUTTING YOU FIRST*
REFLECTIONS: PUC ALUMNUS
ECHOES FROM NSIFIOK ETUK-AKONJOM
Everyone privy to my journey as a legal practitioner would know that I have the learned silk, *Paul Usoro SAN* and his wife to thank for their excellent mentorship. It is therefore no surprise that I strongly support his ambition to become the next NBA President and I have actively lent my voice by sharing circulars and posts circulated by his campaign team. Every time I share these posts, the predominant question by my colleagues and friends has been “Why”? Why is *Paul Usoro SAN* the best man for the job?
I have decided to summarise my response to your countless questions in one post with the hope that it will steer you to do what is right for this generation of lawyers – and the next. I must add a disclaimer that this post is not motivated by *Mr Usoro SAN* or his campaign team. I have just decided to recount my experience as a young lawyer in *Paul Usoro and co*.
After graduating from the Faculty of Law in UNICAL, I was petrified when I heard how much lawyers were earning in Nigeria. I could not imagine that after painstakingly cramming law books and working tirelessly day and night for 5 years (scratch that – with strikes and UNICAL wahala, 7 years), I would be paid 10k or less as a youth Corper. It didn’t resonate with me so when I went to law school, I heard that law firms in Lagos handsomely rewarded their lawyers. With my long throat, I prayed to be posted to Lagos to see things for myself.
I got my heart’s desire but my first place of primary assignment was one law firm like that in Victoria Island. When I resumed, the Senior Partner told me he would pay me 20k monthly and gave me very stringent working conditions. Mind you, at the time I was living in the suburbs of Lagos which was about 2 hours from Victoria Island without traffic. Imagine that I had to leave my house at 5am every morning and get home at 11pm every night for 20k! That was not what I bargained for and I clearly did not come to Lagos to count bridges!!!
Well….I heard *Paul Usoro & Co (PUC)* was recruiting lawyers so I just jejely carried my load and went to hustle to get a place there. To God’s glory, I was employed as a junior associate and I got to live the Lagos dream with a fair remuneration. Before you accused me of being motivated by monetary gain alone, let me add that I was positively engaged. I worked on landmark cases and the quality of legal brief PUC churned out are in a class of their own. I secretly prayed that God will grace me with the ability to write like the learned Silk. Reading *Mr Usoro’s* Written addresses and Brief of Arguments reveals the wisdom and knowledge that abound in him. The learned silk has his way with words and has a very articulate train of thought. His flow was truly captivating.
Anything less than perfection was unacceptable in PUC. I remember clearly how we were enthused with “PUC Style” and had to work hard so you wouldn’t be regarded as the weakest link. The learned silk was committed, diligent to work and put in long hours in this regard. It was a case of “do as I do” and “do as I say”.
*Paul Usoro SAN* is a seasoned administrator. I recall how we prepared reports to update clients about their progress in court. It was important to put the interest of the client first and was a taboo to handle a case without the client having first-hand information about what transpired in court within 24 hours. I also recall the strategy meetings and the fact that the firm was deliberate at succeeding. Line upon line, precept upon precept – that is how PUC has stayed relevant.
I spent a little over 3 years in *PUC* but it was like family to me. The firm blessed me with lifelong friends – note that I didn’t say “colleagues”. 9 years later, I still respect *Mr Usoro SAN* and his lovely wife for providing such exemplary leadership. I speak from experience and testify that *Paul Usoro SAN* is a visionary leader with the clout, experience, capacity and will put the interest of every lawyer both young and old – first. You know that he is ready to lead our noble Association when you read his manifesto. I must say it isn’t flooded with unrealistic and unattainable campaign promises but he has shown everyone that cares to listen that he has a heart to do the work. And yes, he has highlighted the ways in which he can improve upon the existing structures in the NBA or build new ones if required. He has submitted himself not as a leader but as a servant and I have no iota of doubt that will put in the time and resources to do the job.
My friends and colleagues, I have not asked you to support *Paul Usoro SAN* based on zoning sentiments but because he has intimidating credentials and it would be an honour to have him lead our prestigious association. He will walk the walk and talk the talk. I watched him put his heart, soul and might into this profession as Principal Partner of PUC – it’s now time for you my friends to watch him do all the awesome things I have bragged about through the years.
*Central Bank of Nigeria*