Chams PLC ,Intel Corporations , Technology Advisor and Veda have come together to deploy the use of Information Technology (IT) to improve the efficiency of the legal practice in Nigeria.
The President, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made the announcement that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was working with technology partners to revolutionise the NBA environment with Information Technology (IT) saying that lawyers were not left out in the Information Technology trend.
He added that an IT revolution tagged Digital Bar Initiative (DBI) recently launched would help to stern most of the problems facing the legal practice in the country.
He stressed that the initiative would help eradicate fake lawyer syndrome, cumbersome verification process and the non-accessibility to legal resources and general information.
While explaining DBI, Managing Partner, Technology Advisor (TA) and Chairman, DBI Mr. Basil Udotai said that the DBI was specifically developed and would be implemented with its technology and services partners to deliver a number of functionality such as identification and authentication of lawyers, access to legal resources and general information, communication and interaction.
He also stressed that it would help in transaction and payment, access to remote services, technology acquisition scheme and Internet connectivity
He added that more than 60 per cent of fake lawyers were individuals who undertook various stages of legal education, but without completing to the point of call.
“Some even took law school exams a few times and being frustrated with their inability to pass very tough and rigorous exams, decide to move to remote parts of the country to practice law. Others are just bold faced criminals who never even came close to the corridors of the Faculty of Law or the law school,” he said.
“No matter how close you come, unless you are called to the Bar, you are not eligible to act as a legal practitioner in Nigeria. This is not just a professional limitation but also a question of law as the Legal Practitioners Act makes this point abundantly clear,” he added.
According to him, the DBI was aimed to eradicate lawyers in the country through its system of identification and authentication via credential of an immutable, traceable bar card.
“We are happy to partner with Chams Plc in this regard whose reputation and expertise in this area is unquestionable,” he said.
He also added that the initiative would also deliver on a portal that would host a large repository of legal contents where members could access to enhance their research and legal services delivery as well as specialisation.
Also on the portal, he said that general information of interest would be made available to members as well as links to unlimited array of resources that lawyers would find interesting, personally and professionally.
He emphasised that the portal would explore all available communication technology to ease communication amongst lawyers adding that several web-based communication solutions like Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) would make communication easy, cheap and possibly free for lawyers on the portal.
He said that one key deliverable of the DBI was the ability to make payments such as professional fees, conference charges, cost of legal training or materials and other transactional needs.
“We understand from the NBA that it will help a great deal if they can check and immediately confirm how many members have paid their professional fees. This is possible and will be delivered through the DBI,” he said.
On access to remote services, he said that DBI would approach the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and seek a technical integration of its systems to enable lawyers on its portal access and conduct a range of services at the CAC without having to physically present at the CAC’s headquarters.
He stated that the DBI was a programme that was built for every lawyer in the country and said that the capacity of the country’s lawyers to acquire computers to be able to use the initiative was a crucial concern for TA adding that efforts had been made to develop a workable arrangement in which every lawyer would be able to acquire very sophisticated and sleek VEDA computer systems, not only at affordable costs, but also through various schemes to make it easy for both their employers and the lawyers themselves.
The Chairman said that TA had developed a programme for bulk purchases of Internet access that would be distributed across the country to lawyers at discounted rates so as to strengthening the efficiency and the effectiveness of the legal practice.
“It is a thing of great pride for me to live and see this day that our profession is making a well-coordinated in-road into the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) environment,” he said.