Chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has called on Nigerian lawyers to re-invent in line with current technological realities or face the threat of losing relevance in the practice of the legal profession in Nigeria
Ekeh gave the advice at the 2016 annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State last week.
While delivering a paper titled: Lawyer and Wealth Creation in the 21st Century Powered by Technology”, Ekeh challenged members of the bar association to wake up to the strong and compelling circumstances necessitating changes in the legal market place and forcing it out of its protective covering.
Noting that the legal profession is one that is averse to change, Ekeh disclosed that the survival of any sector, profession or business organisation is directly dependent on its ability to innovate and align itself with the present digital revolution.
“In our present society, technology has permeated almost all sectors, industries and several human undertakings. Many sectors have been overtaken by the internet, mobile phone apps and people’s ability to find free information as against situations they used to pay for. Any organisation or sector that refuses to innovate and embrace new technological realities will eventually die.”
Ekeh, who posited that the 21st century is a century for only those who want to be successful, noted that one can alter his destiny and remain a global success. According to him, this is a century of knowledge and style. The Zinox Chairman further affirmed that the revolutions in the field of ICT puts a lot of pressures on the legal profession which makes it imperative for the contemporary lawyer to re-tool in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things.
“The law profession must embrace this change and properly align itself to the benefit maximally from the present digital revolution. In this 21st century, a lawyer’s wealth shall be determined by the application of digital technology to his work. It is either the lawyer reinvents himself to the technological realities of the 21st century and its impact on service delivery to clients or the lawyer would eventually disappear from the radar of the legal profession,” said.
He explained that the law profession has been something of a protected industry spared from some of the general business realities applicable to almost all other industries. Lawyers occupy a unique place with monopoly of access to legal knowledge, and no real competition. For instance, the relationship with the client is controlled by the law firm which decides almost entirely by itself how the services are to be delivered, and dictating the costs, pricing, and strategic direction.
He said lawyers who do not want to innovate and appears comfortable with the status quo, failed to realise that his earnings can greatly be increased by innovation and technology which invariably would cause a disruption of the status quo in the legal marketplace.
According to Ekeh, today’s lawyers stand a better chance of building new and sustainable wealth, only if they upgrade their knowledge and leverage on the numerous opportunities available through technology.
He urged lawyers to explore innovative business approach to legal practice, which is increasingly being embraced by discreet but very successful clients.
In addition, the Zinox boss disclosed other areas such as set-up of virtual/digital law libraries, cloud-computing, e-form and drafting templates, digital law reporting, e-conferencing, as well as networking and the use of social media, which could help the lawyer lend further technological refinements to the practice of the profession.