A TOTAL of 248 lawyers who sat for practicing examinations at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) in December, 2014 have failed, Chief Justice Irene Mambilima revealed yesterday.
She said out of 323 lawyers who sat for the examinations, only 75 students passed and were yesterday admitted to the bar.
Justice Mambilima congratulated the 75 new advocates saying, it was proof that they had worked hard in their pursuits to become lawyers.
She urged the new lawyers not to appear before a court of law to handle their client’s case, without having done adequate preparations.
“Study your client’s case carefully; read the relevant documentary evidence; have pre-trial briefings with your witnesses and conduct adequate research into the law. This is the open secret to being a meritorious and successful lawyer,” the Chief Justice said.
She said lack of preparation could have very distressing repercussions for a lawyer.
“The obvious ramifications of lack of preparation are that you can suffer embarrassment in court; you can lose a straightforward case; you can cause delays in the disposal of your client’s case, and ultimately you can end up becoming a degenerate lawyer in whose hands no member of the public would risk entrusting their legal issues,” she said.
Justice Mambilima advised those admitted to the bar that at their earliest point of their professional career, that if they were a person who could not live by the dictates of the profession, they should consider joining another profession where adherence to professional conduct and ethics could not be an important factor in maintaining good professional standing.
She warned them to always bear in mind that they held their certificate of admission to the bar subject to immaculate professional conduct and ethics.
She said any legal practitioner who had passed through ZIALE would attest to the fact that Legal Practitioners’ Qualifying Examinations were the most rigorous and challenging examinations for all the lawyers in Zambia, adding that any admission to the bar was an enormous professional achievement which should be applauded and cherished.
Justice Mambilima assured the new advocates that despite the many challenges and pressures associated with ZIALE studies, they would never regret having joined what she termed as noble profession if they abide by the professional and ethical requirements that made everyone deserved the prestige of being called ‘learned’.
“The oaths you have taken today should guide your career away from professional misconduct if you desire to enjoy the professional journey that you have started today,” Justice Mambilima said.
She urged everyone to resist, any temptation of getting involved in unprofessional acts because the consequences of professional misconduct could be calamitous to their budding careers.
Justice Mambilima further reminded them that their admission to the bar had kindled a lot of expectations in the members of the public.
She said lawyers were expected by society to play a leading role in promoting peace, order and stability, and in enhancing constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law.
“I entreat you not to erode that trust and confidence. I beseech you, in the conduct of your profession, to by all means, pursue nothing less than excellence. I urge you to handle your clients’ cases to the best of your professional abilities. If you are not sure about a legal point do not give legal advice to your client until you have done ample legal research and consultation. Always remember that hard work is an inescapable attribute of a good lawyer,” Justice Mambilima said.