Lawpreneur: making the most out of your LLB qualification (1)

“Lawpreneur” adopted from “entrepreneur” simply denotes one who conceives business ideas in the legal fields and work to its actualisation. More than before, the spirit of entrepreneurship is catching up so fast on developing countries whose governments are cutting down drastically on employment. Lawyers by the origins of their training are able to create their own employment and manage their own practice. This article does not focus on “lawyers” as in those called to the “Bar” instead it includes and/or focuses mainly on those who have attained LLB qualification.

The LLB is the most difficult part of the legal education qualification. Sadly, many holders of it are being frustrated by the confused “system” of the General Legal Council. Unfortunate happenings but that is what it is…the bane of a developing country that is refusing to be innovative.

In his celebrated book “The crucifixion of LI 1296: of professional legal education in Ghana and more…” Addy (2018) lamented on the disjointed academic and professional legal education culminating in the high deficiency in legal practice in Ghana. He serendipitously outlined ways by which the problem can be mitigated to the benefit of all and sundry.

Till date, nothing has been done to ameliorate the plight of thousands of LLB holders who through shenanigan means were barred from pursuing the professional legal education (as stipulated by LI 1296) which leads to their call to the “Bar” to practice as lawyers. Not even the Supreme Court ruling in Asare v. Attorney General and Another (J1/1/2016) could bring order. The illegalities remain. It still beats my mind how a country sleeps over such huge educational malaise with seemingly no cure in sight. Utter wickedness by a fortunate few.

It is absolutely preposterous for the managers of Ghana’s professional legal education to remain at post. They have proven by every strand of imagination that they do not have what it take to salvage the situation by effectively managing the high number of LLB holders requiring professional legal education.

My analysis of the situation is simple; if Lawyers practice law, Doctors practice medicine, Engineers practice engineering, and Accountants practice accounting, etc. Who are the most qualified persons to practice education management? It should be professionals with qualification in Leadership and Management in Educational Institutions. Why do government demand teachers to be licenced before they are engaged and yet have non-qualified educational managers to manage educational institutions?

Why have we closed our eyes to the bare truth about the ill-management of the Ghana Law School? As long as unqualified people are managing Ghana’s professional legal education, the country will continue to be plagued in the abyss of its professional legal education; the paralysis of which the ripple effect is an amputated legal system evident in our own eyes. Not enough lawyers to represent aggrieved persons, less state prosecuting lawyers, less legal specialisation, less effective practice in many parts of Ghana, and woefully insufficient legal aid lawyers.

The spate of Ghana’s professional legal education is akin to what Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo aptly described in her African literature classic “Our sister killjoy.” She noted “the chains that continue to hold Africa (Ghana) back from greatness, exposing the tyranny of its greedy, visionless leaders and the parasitism of self-serving foreign powers” (emphasis on Ghana is mine). We have falsefully but joyfully created our own educational monsters that are hampering our development yet we have made songs with it and dancing to them.

Posterity will forever judge that callous “system” that ganged up and maliciously prevented thousands of qualified LLB holders from pursuing their professional law qualification at the Ghana School of Law. That monstrous deception manipulated by the shackles of “evil” that perpetrated and still perpetrating wicked educational crime against innocent qualified LLB holding citizens who sought and still do seek to acquire the professional law qualification are doing a great disservice to the development of Ghana.

Worst still some who sought to study abroad with reciprocity from the Ghana School of Law are subsequently frustrated to pursue the post call at the Ghana School of Law. In comparing Ghana Law School training to the Legal training of other countries, one noticed the outmoded form of legal practice education at the Ghana Law School. To quiz:

  1. How many moot court sessions are held as part of the legal practice education?
  2. What is the course content on advance legal research?
  3. How many computer sessions (if there are) on online advance legal research?

In other jurisdictions, professional law school students are made to watch legal movies as part of their legal practice development. One of those movies was “Philadelphia” and after was asked to discuss their opinion on “direct” and “cross” examinations, and the importance of legal research learnt from the movie. If the current management of the Ghana Law School remain, the day they will inculcate these methods of training and/or become this innovative will be the day of Armageddon.

Legal practice education in Ghana lacks activity based learning making the education not competitive to global best practices. Yet it is held as sacrosanct by those in authority.

My epistle to affected and those to be affected (as the system remain) LLB holders is never to give up but rather apply their high sense to other areas that their knowledge in the law will equally earn them a living and help develop Ghana. In his album “Uprising” released in 1980, Robert Nester Marley echoed “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

In the foregoing paragraphs, I will craft some lawpreneurial pursuits for your pursuance:

  1. Insurance Claim Management

LLB qualification is as good as any respected educational qualification; it is much appreciated and a notch higher if it is a post bachelor LLB. The equivalence of a post bachelor LLB is what the American educational system cherish so much and refer to as Jurist Doctor (JD). It is the equivalent of medical school qualification.

I have no doubt at all that with the stringent processing to obtaining LLB qualification, it should be possible for LLB holders to succeed in the world of insurance claim management if same level of educational seriousness is applied. It can be a two-way strategy where the LLB holder partners a qualified insurance professional or the LLB holder spends another year to undertake courses in insurance certification so as to have a better appreciation of insurance practice.

It must be said in no ambiguous terms that insurance claims in Ghana is not as effective as it should be. Reasons alluded to poor insurance claims management are many. I am strongly of the opinion that the aggressiveness required for insurance claims are not exhibited by the insurance brokers. In other jurisdictions where agencies pursue insurance claims for clients, they do so aggressively because “no claim, no commission.”

A lawpreneurship approach to insurance claim management will give the insurance claim agency both the legal urge and management skills necessary to pursue the claim with the needed aggressiveness it deserves. Aggressiveness is the combination of possessing the right knowledge and applying it to achieve the claim agency’s goal. This is embedded in the legal training; it equips the future lawyer to be knowledgeable, influential and fearless.

It is trite law that when a client enrolled on an insurance policy and diligently obliged to the regulations of the policy, it is the responsibility of the insurance company to pay claims as and when they ensue.  I maintain that the laxity in claim payment is largely because of the lack of aggressiveness from the insurance agency to collect the claim.

These are some of the frequently occurring insurance claim management challenges recommended for LLLB holders venturing into lawpreneurship:

  1. Settling Claims Management

Because insurance companies have a posture of forcibly turning a blind eye on settling clients’ claims, an agency established to enforce claims payment will be a good business move. This niche practice will give hope to many insurance policy holders.

An aggressive marketing in this direction will require that the Claim Settlement Agency will have to acquire the database of insurance policy holders and get on the phone or send field staff to them to inquire of their pending insurance claims which are not attended to. Then the agency will pursue the claim for a commission.

Sometimes, insurance policy holders are either not aware of their right to claim and/or because of the cumbersome administrative process involved in claims payment, many policy holders do not pursue it. In such instances, the Claim Settlement Agency will have to probe clients in their database to mould reasons as basis tenable enough for claim pursuance.

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