HARLEM Solicitors recorded another epoch-making history on Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 when the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, C.O.N, O.O.N, visited the firm and addressed the team, giving them useful tips and pieces of advice, while also explaining some of the legal principles of Law that would ensure success in the legal profession.
The highlights of the Learned Silk’s address are as follows:
- Fortitude (even in the face of disappointments):
The Learned Silk stated that a legal practitioner should not be disheartened by the disappointments he faces, stating that disappointments were building blocks for everyone. She said further that mistakes and disappointments were two unavoidable experiences in life. However, one must endeavour to never repeat the same mistake but instead learn from every disappointment in order to ensure success in the legal profession.
2. Integrity, Ethics and Tradition of the Legal Profession:
The Learned Silk stated that the success and failure of a country was dependent on its laws, and therefore, if the law of a country were to fail the country would also fail. She emphasized these because, according to her, the spate of corruption in the country is unprecedented. She further said that in her over 55 years of practice, the corruption in the legal profession witnessed now has been the most heart-breaking, and that public opinion is that the judiciary is corrupt. She implored the Harlem Team to be imbibe integrity in all of their dealings and to be persons of integrity and upstanding citizens with a strong moral compass.
3. Support for the Nigerian Bar Association:
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, explained that it is fundamental that every legal practitioner hoping to succeed in life should support at the grassroot levels its local NBA branch, stating that the NBA local chapter was the most accessible and the only place most lawyers can make their contributions heard whilst also have a hand in the positive growth of same. She beseeched that each person attend the meetings regularly and also ensure to make meaningful contributions.
4. Focus on Digital Age:
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, stated that a law firm would need to be abreast of the technological advancements to survive in present market, citing the example of the e-filing recently adopted by the Supreme Court. She further stated that most laws must come to the digital age and reflect the times in which we currently live in, admonishing the Principal Partner to get all necessary training to enable him train his team of lawyers to become technologically efficient.
5. Reading Culture
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, explained that reading is one of the most fundamental tools needed for the development of legal practitioners as it helps widen the knowledge of the reader as a person who “cuts and pastes” will never retain the knowledge not worked for. She stated that her compendium on essays is a must read for all legal counsel for proper understanding of the legal profession and the ethics to adhere to in order to attain good success in their career. She emphasized that a lawyer that does not read cannot move forward in the profession due to the ever-changing pace that the laws of Nigeria adopt.
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, admonished the Harlem Team that proper attention should be paid to one’s appearance, stating that impeccable dressing should be woven into the essence of a legal practitioner.
The Learned Silk noted that an early adoption of the principle of ‘Punctuality’ is ultimately helpful for the longevity of a legal practitioner’s career. She emphasized strict adherence to all appointments and deadlines.
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, stated that she values loyalty and gave the example of her personal assistant, Pastor Gbadamosi, who she stated had been with her for over 52 years. She also emphasized the need to aim at perfection and exude competence in all that one sets out to accomplish.
9. Regard Yourself as an Ambassador of Law and the Legal Profession:
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, admonished that one should always remember and act in the manner befitting a representative of the legal profession.
10. Industry, Tenacity and Trust in God for Success:
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, admonished that we work hard, remain steadfast, trust God and with hope for measure of good luck. She added that with all these values embraced, success is guaranteed.
11. Work-Life Balance:
Chief Olufolake Solanke, SAN, advised the HARLEM women/ladies to maintain a healthy work/life balance, noting that she was able to achieve same by sharpening her time management skills. She then advised that they should ensure that they have familial support and also have a determination to succeed. The Learned Silk, in concluding, also commended the Principal Partner/CEO of HARLEM for the employee-friendly practices he is extending towards his staff as well as the gorgeous manner the entire team turned out to welcome her. She also encouraged HARLEM team not to backslide in the high standard and corporate ethos for which the firm is credited.