The Chairman of Zinox Group, Stan Ekeh, has called on Nigerian lawyers to reinvent in line with current Information and Communications Technology realities or face the threat of losing relevance in the practice of the legal profession in the 21st century.
He made the call at the 2016 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, which held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
While delivering a paper entitled, ?Lawyer and wealth creation in the 21st century powered by technology?, Ekeh challenged the audience to make changes in the legal marketplace and force it out of its protective ?cocoon.?
Noting that the legal profession is one that was notoriously averse to change, he disclosed that the survival of any sector, profession or business organisation was 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.
?The 21st century is for only those who want to be successful. One can alter his destiny and remain a global success,? he said.
The Zinox Chairman further affirmed that the revolutions in the field of Information and Communications Technology put a lot of pressures on the legal profession which made it imperative for the contemporary lawyer to retool in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things.
?The law profession must embrace this change and properly align itself to 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 in line with 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,? Ekeh said.
He said, ?Law 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 added, ?Hence, as long as the status quo served the lawyer, there is no need to innovate or provide cost-efficient services. It is a closed market. But whereas the seller (the lawyer) appears comfortable with the status quo, he fails 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.
?But now, there are strong and compelling circumstances necessitating changes in the legal market place and forcing it out of its protective cocoon.?