Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 14 November 2013 | 5,110 times
Akoko Law Chambers is located in the bustling third junction area of Benin City, Edo State, a few yards away from the very busy Ekiosa Market. Unlike the buying and selling activities that go on in the nearby area, in the law firm’s office reception room is a serene air that belies the very serious matters that the lawyers working there have to deal with, and these range from settling inter-community tussles about land ownership to going through files on different crime matters.
News Express caught up with one of the lawyers in the chambers, Barrister Matthew Ekhuemelo, to discuss various matters of the law. The conversation got off with the young lawyer touching on a topic that many lawyers would perhaps prefer to avoid. News Express asked Barrister Ekhuemelo’s opinion about the widely held belief that many lawyers are morally corrupt, and that they are liars. He responded by admitting that some lawyers actually do lie in order to win cases, while drawing a link between a lawyer’s honesty in court and his moral upbringing.
Hear him: “There are counsels who, based on their moral upbringing and moral principles of life, are bound to speak the truth at all times. They don’t need to lie, while others, who don’t have basic moral principles that govern them, can lie.”
Many clients see their lawyer as some kind of miracle worker who can turn things around for them positively in a case. Some clients who put their lawyers under tremendous pressure in their expectations and hope of a positive outcome in their case are left terribly devastated and angry with their counsel when they lose.
As regards the best form of relationship that should exist between a lawyer and his client, Barrister Ekhuemelo is of the opinion that a lawyer has to be detached as much as possible from the case he is handling, and that the legal counsel has to maintain a strictly professional relationship with his client.
“The pressure (from clients on lawyers) is always there. But as a lawyer you are not bound by their pressure. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a thorough and professional job. But you have to be emotionally detached as possible from your clients,” he said.
The Legal Aid department contains a body of lawyers provided by the state to provide legal services for accused persons who cannot otherwise bear the costs of such services. However law experts worry sometimes whether these lawyers are motivated enough to offer real professional representation to their clients in a court of law. Barrister Ekhuemelo is positive about the sense of professionalism of Legal Aid lawyers.
“Every lawyer has an innermost desire to win a case,” he said. “The lawyers at the Legal Aids department are no different. They are paid to do a job, and I think their success rate in defending their clients in court has been high.”
•Photo shows Barrister Ekhuemelo.
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