Globalization of Legal Practice in Nigeria: Challenges and Obstacles



Globalization is a highly contentious concept because it means different thing to different peoples. It is perceived either as a panacea to the underdevelopment of the Third World or as a tool of neo-colonialism by the West. Globalized legal practice which implies the provision of legal services within local jurisdictions by foreign or offshore law firms suffers from similar controversy as the genus globalization. Legal practice is generally national in character because a lawyer enrolled to practice law in one jurisdiction does not have an automatic right to practice law in another jurisdiction. The relaxation of this basic rule of legal practice which may permit the penetration of the legal market within local jurisdictions by foreign lawyers must take into consideration the level of industrial development within the local jurisdiction and the need to protect its economy against shocks arising from likely massive repatriation of funds charged as legal fees by foreign lawyers particularly where the major sectors of the economy are controlled by foreign investors who may prefer the legal services of foreign lawyers. It is argued, therefore, that apart from the extant legal rules which bar foreign lawyers from engaging in any form of legal practice in Nigeria without express authorization, the level of industrialization and the development achieved in information communication technology cannot sustain globalized legal practice in Nigeria. The liberalization of trade in legal services in Nigeria at the present will not only jeopardize the professional interest of domestic lawyers who are already disadvantaged in terms of access to the global legal market but will also imperil the local economy.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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