My best efforts at injecting every importance into that title usually fall flat, in the face of my more appropriately costumed colleagues. I try to remedy this by taking seats closest to the bar- that inner enclave in courtrooms, that demarcates the real actors from the spectators- and wear a poker-face to sieve the class of commoners I would be constrained to sit with for the day. Again, this ploy fails woefully when the court is filled; a litigant (or litigant’s family) wedges in beside you- ‘Abeg, bros u fit shift small...?’ The nerve!
He settles in, and then flashes you a wide grin of plebeian camaraderie which interprets as ‘we may not be so learned, but at least we share their court’. Most times the Judge chooses this period to appear and thus cuts short the biting adjectives you would have instantly deployed in cutting the oaf to size. And he will continue the mannerisms throughout the proceedings; laughing loudly at wise-cracks, and nodding vigorously in your direction, ‘Kai! these lawyers are too much! My broda, you dey follow me see, so?’ That’s another big disadvantage of not being in litigation: I cannot determine offhand whether self defence avails for unprovoked verbal assault!
First published in Thisday Newspapers: November 23, 2010