Help!!! My Law Firm pays me stipends

Many Law Graduates are looking for jobs…

Do you know the rate of unemployment in Nigeria? I do. Here it is: an unprecedented high. Let’s check out a few figures. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, a record 23.9 percent of the employable workforce was unemployed in the year 2012. The projection for 2013 was 24.3 percent. So what’s the takeout from all of these? Plainly speaking, it means very many qualified people who ordinarily should have a job, are without jobs, lawyers inclusive.

So employers don’t expect you to complain!

Those who are fortunate enough to get a job of any kind and pay hold on to it as if their lives depend on it and it may well be so, at least until they find “greener pastures”. This is because if we realistically look at the situation, we may well discover that the amount of people who are employed in positions below their capacity or paid less than they are worth, are much more than those who are statistically unemployed. For this category of people, though any job is better than no job, they cannot afford to ignore the gnawing sensation that they deserve better.

What can you do?

You may be one of many lawyers who find themselves in this situation. Probably what you take home at the end of the month can hardly cater for your basic running expenses, let alone leave some for little luxuries which ordinarily should amplify your representation of the noble profession of law.

Whether due to the economic situation of the world in recent years which has caused a major financial restructuring within many institutions, or your law firm’s sudden decision to adjust salary scales and other benefits, or for whatever reason at all; if you feel you are underpaid and are asking yourself “what can I do?”, here are a few things you can do.

Five Things…

1. Talk to a financial counselor – Sounds difficult? Not if you plan for it. If you take a fair and square look at your finances and decide whether you need expert help, I believe you will find time to get it. You may well find out that many of the issues you seem to be facing in your personal finances are things you could avoid. Many times we need somebody else to point out to us what we need to do, even if it is considered obvious.

2. Save before you spend – Many Lawyers fall into the well-worn trap of spending before they consider saving. Don’t be a part of them. The predictable endpoint of this is that there is nothing left to save at the end of the day. Don’t ever think that there are things you cannot live without. It is absolutely untrue, because there is no such thing. If you commit to saving a certain percentage of your income every month, before you do any other thing with your pay, you will be surprised at how much you will have saved after a period of time, say one year.

3. Invest what you save – While leaving your money in a bank may be a good way of increasing it, there are other probably better ways of investing your money. Why not find out? Ask colleagues who you think should know. Look for opportunities around you to invest. Open your eyes, they abound. You don’t have to be a guru to do it. However, invest wisely!

4. Improve it! – My dear lawyer friend, evolve your practice. Refuse to be stagnant. Do not be satisfied with what you know, and consciously create time to develop yourself. By doing this, you announce to the world that you deserve better and sooner than later someone (whether inside or outside) will offer you something better. It has been said that the widest room in the world is the room for self-improvement. Keep up to date. Know current trends in the practice of law. Bring your practice up to speed with technology. Become a better litigator. Become a better solicitor. Become a better advocate. Become better at what you do. Strive always to better your last performance. Compete endlessly with yourself.

5. Keep hope alive – Sincerely, A better offer will come. Whether from your current employer or from someone else who can appreciate your legal contributions more, if you keep developing yourself, thus giving yourself better positioning, if you keep working hard and don’t stop believing, it’s only a matter of time before your under paid status changes for good. Don’t focus on how or where, just believe, something better is on your way.

Of course I know these are not all that could be done, and I bet you have some amazing ideas as well. Why not head over to the comments section and share those insights you’ve got? You will be helping a colleague. Have you found this post helpful? We would love nothing better than to hear from you.

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lawpavilion • September 15, 2014

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