Members of the Cameroon Bar Association nationwide are currently building their capacities on strategies for the development of a law firm thanks to funding from the Bar.
The general objective of the capacity building workshops under the theme “Strategies for the development of a law firm” is to strengthen the capacity of lawyers on the creation, operation and management of law firms. The series of workshops started in Bamenda on February 17, 2023 for lawyers in the North West Region. On Friday March 31 2023, the synod office in Buea hosted lawyers of the South West Region for the same exercise.
The Secretary General of the Cameroon Bar Association, Barrister Ngo Minyogog Anne Yoland who set the ball rolling for the workshop in lieu of the President of Bar, Batonnier Mbah Eric Mbah who later joined participants elucidated on the context and rationale of the capacity building workshop.
The Secretary General of the Bar disclosed that, the lawyer is recognized in Cameroon as an ” auxiliary of Justice”. The profession is governed by law No. 90/059 of December 19, 1990 which organises the conditions to access, the content of training, the framework of professional practice and ethical rules as well as rights and their duties. She said inter-alia that findings reported by survey and other studies often commissioned by the professional organization themselves are relatively unanimous: today’s lawyer faces major challenges, stemming both from the lack of commerciality intrinsic to the profession and from the accelerated modernisation of the society.
The profession, which was once a priesthood requiring rigorous education, quality training, a solid general culture, an irreproachable morality and above all an undeniable love of the profession she noted is today in dire straits. The Bar Secretary went further to note that globalization, decreasing state of finances, liberalisation of legal services, increased competition, and digital development, the profession is facing profound transformation of its environment. A few years ago she disclosed, it was hardly conceivably to talk about a law firm as a business. Then things gradually changed under the influence of several factors: a certain cultural ascendancy exercised by powerful foreign law firms established in our Cameroon, increased competition between ever more numerous colleagues, new demands expressed by less loyal clientele, a certain dire to deregulate liberal activities, the appearance of new technology and new players. Even if efforts have been made in terms of training and capacity building, Barrister Yoland said, there are still areas for improvement, particularly in terms of the practical management of a law firm and the understanding of the challenges in future.
The law firm she observed must know how to question itself both in form and in substance in other to adapt to its social, economic and human environment and to come closer to today’s value. In its questioning, she hinted, the law firm’s approach must be defensive, but also offensive: beyond the need to adapt, the firm must innovate. The Bar Secretary concluded that to address this difficulty, that the Cameroon Bar Association in accordance with its mandate decides to organise capacity building workshops for lawyers of the 10 Courts of Appeal of Cameroon.
The President of the Cameroon Bar Association Batonnier Mbah Eric Mbah on his part amongst other issues highlighted on the expected results of the workshop. He narrated that at the end of the capacity building Lawyers will be grounded on the criteria for choosing the geographical location of the law firm; regulations related to opening a law ; the strategy and objectives of development of a law firm,steps to optimize the relationship between a law firm and legal department; the importance of developing the visual identity of a law firm; the tools for cost control and management of a law firm; the elements for successful business development; the criteria for choosing partners and collaborators for a law firm; the tax planning tools and social protection of a law firm, and the collaboration contact and statutes of an association of lawyers in a law firm.
During the seminar that saw valuable and thought provoking inputs and contributions from Past Batonnier Eta Besong Jnr, the over 100 participants received lectures on Creating a law firm: generation evolution and a law firm model, development of a law firm and development of clientele from sound facilitators in the likes of Barrister Jing Paul Takwiand Barrister Zangue Serge’s Martin who doubles as the Assistant Secretary General of the Bar.