“THE First thing we do, let’s kill all lawyers,” is a famous line from Shakespeare’s play “Henry VI”.

The phrase which was understood then to be in praise of a lawyer, when uttered today, will certainly mean something different. The complicities of law, its practices and the growing frustration of the society against some lawyers would make Shakespeare’s line sound and mean different.

This is because it is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the legal profession in the face of growing extortion allegations levelled against some lawyers by clients.

The indiscipline displayed by some lawyers has been allowed to go under the radar, but it is time to collectively deal with such negative actions and inactions of the few bad nuts in such a noble profession.

The General Legal Council (GLC) that regulates the practice of law in the country, within the past year, has slapped several sanctions against some lawyers for professional misconduct.

An Appeal Court Judge, Charity Irene Larbi, earlier in the year, noted that some lawyers were encouraging clients to pursue litigation as opposed to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure which is comparatively cheaper, faster and reduces the financial burden of disputants.

Justice Larbi said that to secure their personal monetary gains, some court officials deter their clients from seeking the easier alternative when they are faced with land dispute issues and have to choose between litigation and ADR.

She said they rather aggravate the level of tension between both parties just so they can make some monies for their “daily fuel”.

She condemned such acts and described it as “ethically incorrect”.

This is why the Ghanaian Times finds the Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo’s caution to members of the bar that the GLC will not countenance acts of indiscipline, corruption, infractions and misconduct of lawyers as timely and appropriate.

She was concerned about the increasing number of complaints against lawyers, mostly juniors, which was tainting the profession, noting that “the GLC will not close its eyes to any infractions by any member in the pursuit of your careers if such is brought to its attention.”

It is important that the leadership take the appropriate steps to weed out the few who are working assiduously towards destroying a noble profession.

The legal profession is the bedrock of every aspect of our lives; business, education, health, politics, social among others.  Without it life would be chaotic.

The nation requires the services of a clean judiciary as it strives to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens as well as ensure the security of lives and properties.

The integrity of lawyers is crucial in building a peaceful and democratic state and therefore, it is crucial for lawyers to be professional and make the interest of their client their foremost priority, including protecting them from the pain of having to go through an inconvenient litigation process and helping to save financial resources.

The Ghanaian Times urges all lawyers and non-lawyers to support the Chief Justice and the GLC in cleaning the legal profession in order to restore it to its noble status.

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