Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood has told lawyers not to see their profession as a gold mine but rather one that requires them to shun greed and avarice.
Mrs Wood said measuring professional success in monetary, material terms as well as the trappings of wealth and power would rather blind them and throw them off gear or lead them to doom.
The Chief Justice gave the advice during the enrolment of 250 newly trained lawyers at the State House in Accra.
She said commitment to ethical ‘lawyering’ and hard work would not only earn them rewards and good financial harvest, but also win them public trust, respect and honour.
Mrs Wood urged the new lawyers to do away with arrogance and self-importance so they could receive “a good foundation on which to build the practice of law”.
The Chief Justice said it was also imperative that lawyers remained steadfast to the core values and ideals of the profession with an unwavering commitment to rule of law and justice for all.
She urged the lawyers to be mindful of the fact that having sufficient knowledge in law alone was not enough for them to play useful roles in society.
“You need to understand the political, socio-economic, cultural as well as international context within which you will function effectively as good lawyers. This is because the law does not function in a vacuum,” she said.
The Chief Justice said as lawyers, they occupied a unique position to contribute to the building of Ghana’s democratic credentials which are built on the foundation of the rule of law.
She said the legal profession was not exactly what it used to be, adding: “This is why we expect that your future conduct will greatly assist us to shore up the image of this noble profession.”
The Chief Justice said lawyers have always been at the forefront of the country’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality. “Thus, as leaders, you should not only be concerned with whether your decision, actions and omission conform to the laws of the land, but also that they enhance the building of the democratic culture and contribute to political, social, economic, cultural, or moral wholesomeness of our people,” she added.
Mrs Wood urged them to resolve not to become mere additions to the legal profession but be counted as positive contributors, shaping the frontiers of the law and making their trade relevant. The Chief Justice said: “A lawyer is not a private person. He or she is the repository of a nation’s laws, a practitioner or master of the law and a nation’s conscience.”
She said the actions of lawyers had far-reaching consequences on individual clients, families, communities, and the nation they served. “Therefore, our dealings with them must be such as would promote confidence, faith and trust in the law and not otherwise,” she concluded.