…occasionally, even the Law gets wet!
Yea; its knotty business and Lawyers are a stiff crowd. But on this spot the ties droop a notch and the starch comes off the collars to allow some hilarity seep in. This weekly buffet will be freely served and the bar is all set with the right spirits. WARNING: Any minute, we may suddenly disappear from your screen without notice, locked up “at milord’s pleasure” for Contempt.
I have many friends at the Law School. I
sit out with them now and again over some drinks (Is that not what the bar is about after all?) and recount my
own Law school days.
Of course the genial hands of time are steadily
moulding my memories of the place into an idyllic monument, so at the slightest
push; I wax lyrical about it. But these friends of mine never get caught
up in my enthusiasm. Most of the time they listen with a woe-begone expression
and subtly change the subject. After much prodding, they finally let me into their reservations and I
am most tempted to reproduce them on this page, but of course they swore me to
secrecy…it is infamousconduct to harbour thoughts of that hue
about the revered institution.
On closer reflection, I am inclined to hold
that the vehemence of their feelings might be a bit exaggerated.The issues are purely based on a conflict of
perspectives and a break in communication. In this regard, I think that the liable
party is the Council itself. There must be something faulty with the
orientation programme they package for the entrants. Oh, forget that charade of effusive speeches
and polite applause. These rehearsed monologues hardly enter one ear before
leaving through the other.
They fail to understand that the new
applicants to the bar are usually at their most impressionable, thus a well
delivered message goes a long way. You can see that from their willingness to
jot down any sound that escapes the speaker’s throat. (Coughs and sneezes not
exempted.)The council should make their policies
known from day one so that the new students can understand what they are up
I hate arm-chair critics, so I have decided
to contribute actively to correcting this anomaly by sketching a model welcome
address for the D.G. that will serve to make the new intakes understand better the
probable perspective from which the Council sees legal training.
The speech shall run a little like this:
We use the above term with no apologies whatsoever
to the gender hyperactive ones among you. The term has subsisted these long
years to cover both sexes and we do not see any reason for it to be tampered
We must point out that we do not accede to
the ludicrous version “gentlemen in skirt” when referring to our females
members…As this is not Scotland, the very picture of a gentleman in skirt wakes
up disturbing images which thankfully our laws have not yielded to yet.
That said, we proceed now to offer you our
congratulations for having scaled the tortuous hurdle of tertiary study. While
we are impressed that your numbers soar with the passing years, we fail to
quell the nagging suspicion that the lecturers in our universities are growing
less imaginative in setting exam questions. For
what good does a sieve serve when all the grains make it through? But then, that is matter for another day.
As I look into your midst, I see a sea of eager
faces, eyes glittering with the exhilaration within. I see barely concealed bloats in your egos, no doubt created by
the prospect of being received into our regal fold. I
see holders of certificates that boast of worthiness in the sublime merits of
character and learning. With the above, we shall not be so hasty to
concur; what with the distasteful news that filter daily from our Universities
of today. We strive to believe that your various Faculties
of Law shielded you from the stains, but we cannot be too sure. While we acknowledge your LLB status (it is
surely no mean feat) we shall not forget that the erudite Alexander Pope points
out the perils of half learning. Our focus in this institution is to provide
that missing better half, a task we
shall set about with the stoutest of resolves.
In your university days, you enjoyed
freedom; you were like birds, with the horizon as your ambit. Those days are
now irretrievably gone. Here we recognize the danger in trusting
the notion of free will. Unbridled freedom
negates the very concept of our profession.The Law is meant to effect a coercive order
of human behaviour.The Naturalists may hold reservations about
this but the Council has attained its present enviable status largely because
we choose to stay positive.
Therefore, from henceforth, any nocturnal
stroll between opposite members of the sexes is declared illicit. Likewise, we forbid visits to any hostels
that house members of the opposite sex. While we do not wish to make hermits of you,
we are worried about the effect that the fertility of your minds may have on
your bodies. Mens sana in corporea sana.
We shall observe you closely at all times.
Such public displays of heterosexual attraction as pecks and hugs shall be looked
upon with a stern frown. Gentlemen greet themselves with smart hand
shakes and we shall unwaveringly adhere to that standard.Your ultimate conquest of the world begins
with the annihilation of every unwholesome thought and desire.
We proceed now to the issue of fees.
We gather that there has been an outcry
among some of you against the relentless rise in our fees with every new batch
and that we make the purchase of laptops a stringent requirement.
We are glad that this cry is not unanimous. Our position is vindicated by graduates of
our private universities who consider
what we charge as akin to a tax holiday.
The council proposes to reward such progressive thinking by accrediting more
of such institutions. We also hope to swell the number of our (oh
so adorable) students in the Diaspora, who toe the same progressive line.
The allegation stems exclusively from the beneficiaries
of public schooling.
This peasant category has come to expect
life to be replete with subsidies and gratuitous grants. We wish to inform them that while education
may be expensive, ignorance keeps a dearer school. Our profession is not for commoners, and if
they cannot cope, they should please exploit the open door policy of this institution, literally. We shall not miss
them. And as for the laptops, we have our strong
reasons for them. We have fashioned a do-it-yourself
curriculum. (Your spoon feeding days are over) Your lecturers would be
spared the irritations of your oftentimes naïve questions…With the laptops,
simply google the answer and save the
whole class precious time needed to cover the volumes that make up your
Following from this, we also wish to
reiterate that while we encourage fearlessness and diligent courage as virtues
of the lawyer, they are placed at subservience to the prime notion of order of
precedence and seniority at the Bar. Our predecessors who set this laudable
standard have deemed us worthy to wear this grey wig of wisdom, but you are as
yet mere applicants. So even in the unlikely event of all of you
here eventually making it to the bar, you are by far our juniors and we shall therefore
brook no challenges whatsoever from you with respect to our authority. While we wish you luck in your quest, we
maintain that you recognise your place in the interim; to be seen not heard,
except when you are specifically addressed.
Ah! I see creases of dissent on some of
your faces, you mouth the silent question; are
we breeding timid lawyers? No we are not gagging you, we only groom
you to say the right things and save the profession the embarrassment of
Lastly, I must inform you that over the years,
we have received strong worded protests over our grading system. We are accused of using the lowest score to
determine a person’s eventual grade. Such questions make me marvel at the
phenomenal laziness creeping into the minds of our youth. The law admits no apostles but the
impeccable. On this ground, the test is no more that of
the reasonable man, but of the
you record a mere pass despite a string of 80s and 90s, I hope you understand
that you still possess an Achilles heel…that part of your anatomy, the profession
suffers you to relinquish. Do not give me the quote: “God forbid that a lawyer knows all the law…”
The learned jurist that made that famous dictum unfortunately overlooked
the fact that ours is largely a profession of atheists.
Once again, we welcome you to Law School
and wish you a most enjoyable stay.’
rest my thesis
First published in Thisday Newspapers: March 24, 2009