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    Town & Gown: FUOYE Law students gain rich professional insights….as Ondo Judge, Yusuf Alli share valuable law practice experience

    By Wole Balogun
    SA Media to VC

    Students of the Law faculty of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) will remain eternally grateful to their lecturers and the management of the upwardly mobile University for giving them the rare opportunity of being coached on professional ethics of Law practice by legal icons who have made their marks in lengthy years of professionalism recently.

    The students were treated to professional exposure to law practice in a no-odds-barred chat between Nigeria’s frontline lawyer and Senior Advocate, Prof. Yusuf Alli (SAN) and Judge of Ondo State’s High Court of justice, and a Professor of Law, Prof. (Mrs.) Alero E. Akeredolu.

    Prof. Akeredolu on the high table delivering her lecture, next to her is VC FUOYE, Prof Fasina.

    The two legal icons also fielded questions that bordered on professional ethics and conduct on touchy and sensitive legal cases from the students who were pretty eager to learn from their rich professional experience.

    Dignitaries and students at the workshop

    The foregoing happened during a one-day Capacoty Building workshop organized for the benefit of the students by the Head of Department, Private Law, Dr. (Mrs) Adeola Kehinde. The workshop featured a lecture delivered by Hon. Justice Prof. Akeredolu entitled : “Professional Ethics for Lawyers”. It was an insightful lecture which took the young Law students through a theoretical exposure to the ethics guiding the practice of Law generally with generous sharing of practical experience on the practice and adherence to ethical standards.

    VC FUOYE, Prof Fasina from the left, next is Prof. Akeredolu, next to her is Prof. Alli, and Dr. (Mrs.) Adeola Kehinde, HOD, Private Law Dept

    Prof. Akeredolu introduced her lecture by giving the students germane tips on the significance of lawyers to the society. She said: “Society functions on the Rule of law – Justice and fairness. Lawyers are an indispensible part of the Justice system and play crucial roles in sustaining same, so society’s expectations from the profession are high as indeed it should be. “

    VC FUOYE, Prof Fasina from the left, and Dr. (Mrs.) Adeola Kehinde, HOD, Private Law Dept

    Stating that trust and confidence is key to legal practice, she went on to explain the crucial role of legal ethics, saying : “ Legal ethics plays a crucial role in ensuring the credibility, reliability and overall integrity of the legal system. This fosters public trust and confidence in legal institutions, which is essential for the maintenance of social order and the protection of individual rights.

    VC FUOYE, Prof Fasina and Dean, Law faculty , Prof. Abifarin

    “Lawyers must make ethical decisions at every step of their work, from advising clients to representing them in court. Lawyers are not just advocates for their clients; they are officers of the court.
    Adherence to ethical standards enhances a lawyer’s credibility and reputation. Ethical legal practice not only benefits clients but also the legal profession as a whole.”

    Also stressing the Importance of ethics, she said: “When lawyers violate ethical standards, the consequences can be severe, affecting not only the lawyers themselves but also their clients and the legal system as a whole.
    “Principles of legal ethics ensures that legal professionals maintain integrity, impartiality, and a commitment to justice, thereby safeguarding the interests of their clients and the public.

    She further described legal ethics as a guiding philosophy that shapes the character of legal professionals and the essence of the legal system, adding that It demands a continuous commitment to moral principles, the courage to face ethical challenges, and the wisdom to balance competing interests with integrity.

    “By understanding and appreciating the importance of legal ethics, lawyers can better serve their clients, maintain the public’s trust, and contribute to the integrity of the legal system. The key pillars or foundations of legal ethics around which all the regulations revolve are, confidentiality, competence, integrity, the duty to the court, duty to the justice system, duty to the society, and duty to one another, “ said she.

    She gave the highlights of her lecture by handing out the rules of the legal ethics with copious explanations. According to her, some of the rules included: “ Lawyers must devote time, energy and expertise to service of client, subject to the Rule of Law; inform client if case is hopeless. Negligence in handling a client’s affairs may amount to misconduct; Represent client within the bounds of the law; withdraw if client insists on illegality; restrain client from breaching the law; no advise to client that may lead to breach of the law; failure to advise client on (Alternative Dispute Resolution) ADR options; no false evidence; report fraud of client; Represent client competently; seek association if you lack expertise; prepare adequately to represent client; Disclose conflict of interest to the client; not accept retainership if personal interest will affect his professional judgment; no contigency fees with client; not represent clients with different interests; All communications with clients are privileged and confidential; and Not use clients confidence/secret for his own advantage or disadvantage of his client. Disclosure is allowed where necessary to prevent crime; Counsel cannot be a witness for his client; if absolutely necessary, another counsel should take over the trial, among others.
    Conclusively, she emphasized that : “ As a Minister in the temple of justice, lawyers must exhibit integrity, diligence, fairness in dealings with his clients, the court, his colleagues, and the general public.”

    The excited Law students appreciated the Head of Department of Private Law, Dr. (Mrs.) Adeola Kehinde, for organizing the workshop, one of them said: “ Thank you so much, ma, for today’s legal workshop – it was insightful and enlightening! Your efforts in organizing such an informative event are truly appreciated. The knowledge and expertise shared by the speaker, Hon. Justice. Prof Alero Akeredolu will undoubtedly have a positive impact on my professional growth and understanding of the legal landscape. Please extend my gratitude to the entire team involved in making this workshop a success. Looking forward to more such valuable sessions in the future.
    Another added : “Congratulations! for the success of today’s workshop ma
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet dignitaries directly
    A job well done ma. We’re very proud of you ma.”

    Fielding questions from the University media team on the gains the students have derived from the workshop, Dr. Kehinde said: “The workshop is specially organized to specifically cultivate the minds of would-be lawyers for the conception of a balance perspective on the ethics of the legal profession and, also, to crystallize a new generation of dynamic lawyers who will serve as springboards for the projection of the expected professional ethics of the legal profession. The workshop impacted them positively and will surely make them better legal practitioners in the near future

    “It is a program that will leave an indelible mark in the lives of the students. Having two legal icons/giants speak to them about the legal profession is a great privilege.
    With the help of God, we plan to always organize programs that will enhance their career as legal practitioners of repute in Nigeria and across the globe.”

    Alli, who is FUOYE’s Professor of practice in Law, who also joined Prof. Akeredolu to illuminate the students on the importance of adhering to legal ethics. He thumbed up for the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina, for always fulfilling his promises to make the University the best among others in Nigeria and also competing healthily among other Universities globally.

    This was just as the VC appreciated the two legal giants for ensuring that FUOYE law students had a very sound experience of the Town and Gown. Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor , Academics, Prof. Olubunmi Shittu, the Registrar of the University, and the Dean, faculty of Law, Prof. Femi Abifarin among other prominent members of the University community.

    Photo credit “Ashabi Shots”

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