Stories by IKECHI ELENWOKE
Chairman of Zinox Group, a leading Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has called on Nigerian lawyers to re-invent in line with current technological realities or face the threat of losing relevance in the practice of the legal profession in this century.
Ekeh who spoke at the 2016 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from Tuesday August 23rd to Friday August 26th 2016.
Delivering a paper titled: Lawyer and wealth creation in the 21st Century, Ekeh challenged the audience including, Learned Silks, Honourable Body of Benchers and distinguished Members of the Bar, among others to wake up to the strong and compelling circumstances necessitating changes in the legal market place and forcing it out of its protective cocoon.
Noting that the legal profession is one that is notoriously averse to change, he disclosed that the survival of any sector, profession or business organisation is directly dependent on its ability to innovate and align itself with the present digital revolution.
“In our present society, technology has permeated almost all sectors, industries and several human undertakings. Many sectors have been overtaken by the internet, mobile phone apps and people’s ability to find free information as against situations they used to pay for.
“Any organization or sector that refuses to innovate and embrace new technological realities will eventually die.” He stated.
He also srated that the 21st century is a century for only those who want to be successful, noted that one can alter his destiny and remain a global success.
According to him, this is a century of knowledge and style, and the revolutions in the field of ICT puts a lot of pressures on the legal profession which makes it imperative for the contemporary lawyer to re tool in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things. “The law profession must embrace this change and
properly align itself to the benefit maximally from the present digital revolution. In this 21st century, a lawyer’s wealth shall be determined by the application of digital technology to his work. It is either the lawyer reinvents himself to the technological realities of the 21st century and its impact on service delivery to clients or the lawyer would eventually disappear from the radar of the legal profession.” he added.
He likened Law to a protected industry spared from some of the general business realities applicable to almost all other industries. Lawyers occupy a unique place with monopoly of access to legal knowledge, and no real competition.
“ For instance, the relationship with the client is controlled by the law firm which decides almost entirely by itself how the services are to be delivered, and dictating the costs, pricing, and strategic direction.
“Hence, as long as the status quo served the lawyer, there is no need to innovate or provide cost-efficient services. It is a closed market. But whereas, the seller (the lawyer) appears comfortable with the status quo, he fails to realize that his earnings can greatly be increased by innovation and technology which invariably would cause a disruption of the status quo in the legal marketplace.
“But now, there are strong and compelling circumstances necessitating changes in the legal market place and forcing it out of its protective cocoon.” Ekeh stated.