I will like to open this article with the words of the American Bar Association on its website with the following caption “DIVERSITY MATTERS AT THE ABA- A GUIDE TO
“Those of us in the legal profession share a common calling. We also must acknowledge that each one of us brings an individual background and perspective to our work. This diversity benefits the profession and the public we serve. Our challenge is to recognize that barriers still remain to the advancement of lawyers of color. In today’s world, public confidence in our profession—and the justice system as a whole—is largely tied to whether law firms and the judicial system reflect the full diversity of our society.
These words are apposite to my position that people of color, especially the so called “Foreign Attorneys” are being discriminated against when it comes to filling open Attorney positions in different establishments, including governmental.
It was my dream as a young boy of about four years old to be a lawyer; it seemed like a tall dream at the time since both my parents were illiterates. My dad was a barber and my mom sells all sorts of petty stuff like soda, ice cream, candies and so on.
The Lagos State High Court was behind my house on
I went in search of my dream of becoming a lawyer and will not settle for less, I later got admitted to the prestigious
The Commonwealth (also known as The Commonwealth of Nations or
Britain did not only give us its language, it gave us the Parliamentary System of Government which we later jettisoned for the American Presidential System of Government, it also gave us Federalism and our legal system with the exception of the Customary Law which is the only area of law that I know to be indigenous to Nigeria.
Most Nigerian Case Law Precedents were from
Some State Bar Associations in the
A cursory look at the conditions precedent to taking the bar examinations in four of the states that allow foreign attorneys to take the bar examination will make this point clearer.
The requirements qualifying a candidate to take the bar examination are stated in APR 3 which requires the applicant, inter alia, to be of good moral character and to present satisfactory proof of:
(iii) admission to the practice of law by examination, together with current good standing, in any state or territory of the U.S. or in Washington, D.C., or any jurisdiction where the common law of England is the basis of its jurisprudence, and active legal experience for at least 3 of the 5 years immediately preceding the filing of the application.
SUBCHAPTER B Rules for Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law states:
An applicant who has studied in a foreign country may qualify to take the
(b) Legal education.
(1) The applicant shall show fulfillment of the educational requirements for admission to the practice of law in a country other than the United States by successful completion of a period of law study at least substantially equivalent in duration to that required under subdivisions (d) and (e) of section 520.3 of this Part, in a law school or schools each of which, throughout the period of the applicant’s study therein, was recognized by the competent accrediting agency of the government of such other country, or of a political subdivision thereof, as qualified and approved; and
(i) that such other country is one whose jurisprudence is based upon the principles of the English Common Law, and that the program and course of law study successfully completed by the applicant were the substantial equivalent of the legal education provided by an approved law school in the
Both states require that jurisprudence of country where the Attorney was admitted and practicing must be based on the principles of the English Common Law.
The relevant provisions are as follows:
A foreign nation attorney who has not completed the law study required under these Rules is eligible for an exemption from the law study requirement for admission to take the Texas Bar Examination without holding a J.D. degree from an approved law school if the attorney:
(A) has been actively and substantially engaged in the lawful practice of law of said foreign nation in that nation or elsewhere as his/her principal business or occupation for at least five of the last seven years immediately preceding the filing of the most recent application or re-application
(B) has been licensed for at least five years to practice law in the highest court of the foreign nation;
(C) holds the equivalent of a J.D. degree, not based on study by correspondence, from a law school accredited in the jurisdiction where it exists and which requires the equivalent of a three-year course of study that is the substantial equivalent of the legal education provided by an approved law school
(D) meets one of the following criteria:
(i) demonstrates to the Board that the law of such foreign nation is sufficiently comparable to the law of
(ii) holds an L.L.M. from an approved law school.