The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, yesterday swore in 183 newly enrolled lawyers to the bar, and advised them against becoming social commentators.
Describing the trend of lawyers commenting on every issue in the media as regrettable, Justice Wood said, “Regretfully, it is becoming a trend, and one for which you all must be warned against courting quick and cheap popularity by becoming overnight legal experts and commentators on radio and television.”
She stressed that the practice of law in the country, and for that matter the world over, was an essential service that must be performed with utmost commitment and dedication.
She asked them not to fix their hopes on immediate extraordinary returns or rewards, adding that “the fulfilment you are bound to get eventually for being good and honest professionals is immeasurable! I would urge each and every one of you to rather make this your aim and focus in life.”
The hardest work about to start
Urging the new lawyers to brace themselves up for hard work, Justice Wood said “as newly qualified lawyers, your contribution to help build a credible profession is both demanded and expected. Law must be responsive to the needs of society, else it ceases to be functional.”
She advised the lawyers to build their capacity to meet the growing needs of the globalised world, adding that “a legal system that fails to respond to the needs and developmental exigencies of the society in which it operates risks being an impediment, rather than a facilitator of the growth of that society. Even worse, it risks the creation of a lawless and undisciplined society in which the law is trampled upon and impunity is given free rein.”
Justice Wood urged them to be problem-solvers and intimated that “whether you find yourself eventually in academia, politics, on the bench, in private practice or as an international civil servant, you would collaboratively be working with others, and strive to find solutions to the myriads of political, social and economic challenges crucial to our very survival and development as a nation.”
According to her, the greatest virtue of the law was its flexibility, adaptability and its responsiveness as “a driver of change from time to time so that it answers to the growing needs of the hour and order of the day.”
Justice Wood said for the new lawyers to survive, they were expected to “move heaven and earth to live a life of integrity.”
Among the newly enrolled lawyers was Mr Albert Frimpong, a visually impaired, who received a standing ovation from his colleagues for emerging victorious in their training despite his physical challenge.
Thirteen graduands were given special awards for their outstanding performance in the various subjects studied, with Ms Hagar Addo emerging as the overall best student. Eight women were among the award winners.
Justice Wood, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, Justices William Atuguba and Julius Ansah, both Supreme Court Judges, took turns to hand over certificates to the newly enrolled lawyers.
Justice Atuguba was greeted with a huge applause and cheers when his presence was announced by the Judicial Secretary, Mr Justice Alex Poku Acheampong. He acknowledged the applause with smiles.
Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor; his brother, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuour, and the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, whose wife was among the newly qualified lawyers, were also present.