By Isidore Abah & * Bessem Ebai Nchoung
Some 23 newly admitted lawyers into the Cameroon Bar Association have been warned to desist from the excessive quest for money and fame.
Rather, they have been admonished to provide justice, even to the average Cameroonian.
The note of warning was sounded by Justice Nkeng Fonjock at the Appeal Court in Buea, On Wednesday, July 16, while presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of some 23 Cameroonian lawyers from the Nigerian Law School into the Cameroon Bar Association.
Justice Nkeng urged the new “wigs” to dissipate the notion held by the public about lawyers as people who lie for a living.
According to Justice Nkeng, lawyers are not liars, but people who advocate, counsel and educate humanity on their rights, responsibilities and obligations.
“The intention of the law is not litigation. Do not think that lawyers make their money from litigations. As a lawyer, you make your money from the contract you land from parastatals and other corporate bodies as legal adviser. Litigation should be your last resort and, most times, litigation is often undertaken by recalcitrant lawyers”, the learned Justice at law stated.
Justice Nkeng further exhorted the newly sworn-in lawyers to perform their duties with dignity, honesty and probity, not being intimidated by senior colleagues because “you too have been properly grounded and armed with the law.”
The 23 advocates were urged to take advantage of their era, in which, information and communication technology has made law simple and more lucid than in the past years.
Earlier in his address, Justice Augustine Nkongho schooled the new contingent of lawyers on what the law demands from them. He indicated that a true lawyer must always be bounded by the oath of secrecy with the client; even if the latter fails to pay him or her and that a lawyer should not on any account charge a client, if such a client has been handed to him by the Government to be defended in court.
Any breach of these ethical values and the deontology of the profession, Mr. Justice Nkongho said, may attract sanctions which include; a call to order, warning, temporal suspension or total disbarment from the bar, depending of course, on the gravity of the offense.
For his part, the representative of the Bar President, Barrister Charles Njualem, said the Cameroon Bar was very pleased to welcome brilliant and great minds into the legal corps. He advised the new lawyers to abide by the rules and regulations governing the Bar and to be subject to the values the association incarnates.
Barrister Njualem urged the new “wigs” to always seek advice from senior colleagues when they encounter problems and to distinguish themselves through hard work in serving the public. Meanwhile, Barrister Nicholas Keme said the new breed of Lawyers has come to beef up the number of Lawyers in Cameroon. This, he said, shows the determination of the Cameroon Bar to welcome new members who have studied in foreign countries and that every Cameroonian can practise in Cameroon no matter where he or she studied.
Barrister Keme beseeched his junior colleagues to develop love and passion for their vocation and defend justice at all times.
The new advocates and solicitors on their part swore to perform their duties in total independence, dignity, humaneness, conscienceousness, probity and the fear of God.
*(NPB Journalism Student On Internship)