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The late Christopher Sapara Williams, the first indigenous Nigerian lawyer enunciated what should be the foremost duties of a legal practitioner. Born on the 14th of July, 1855, he was enrolled to practice law in Nigeria on the 13th of January, 1888, and died on the 15th of March, 1915. According to him, the legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his country.

Except for Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SAN that started the cause of Free Education in Nigeria, his (Sapara Williams’) admonition is yet to come to fruition in Nigeria in terms of lawyers holding the reins of power. In other parts of the world, however, it has been holding true. Mahatma Gandhi of India, who started the agitation for social justice for the people in South Africa before continuing the same in India, was a lawyer. Nelson Mandela of South Africa, whose noble deeds need no enumeration, was a lawyer. Jawaharlal Nehru of India was a lawyer. Dr. Fidel Castro of Cuba, a lawyer –he obtained a Ph.D. in law from Havana University. V.I. Lenin of Russia, who changed the whole socio-economic system of the substantial part of the world by practicing the theoretical tenets of the ideas enunciated by Karl Marx and Engels, was a lawyer. In the United State of America, Barack Obama, the former president moved from the law office to the white house. His law degree is from Harvard which, surprisingly, makes him only the second Harvard Law School graduate to become president (the other is Rutherford Hayes). 

Another lawyer has just been elected and will be inaugurated as the 46th president of USA. Mr. Joseph Biden Jr. born November 20, 1942, was a member of the Democrat party studied at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree from Syracuse University in 1968. Biden was raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and New Castle County, Delaware. He was elected a New Castle Councilor in 1970 and became the sixth- youngest senator in American history at age of 29. He served in various capacities before he became vice president to Barack Obama in 2008 and was reelected in 2012. He had various achievements, parts which include overseeing infrastructure spending in 2009 to counteract the Great Recession.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction in January 2020. Will close to octogenarian Biden make a difference (MAD) as a lawyer and be a leader for his people? It is a question that will be answered in days to come if his victory in the election will not be overturned at the Supreme Court

Below is a list of all the lawyers-turned-presidents according to their position in American history:

#2- John Adams (Harvard, then apprenticed as a lawyer)

#3- Thomas Jefferson (College of William & Mary then apprenticed as a lawyer).

#4-James Madison (College of New Jersey, read law)

#6-John Quincy Adams ( Harvard then apprenticed as a lawyer

#7-Andrew Jackson (self-taught lawyer)

#8- Martin Van Buren ( Kinderhook Academy, then apprenticed as a lawyer)

#10- John Tyler (College of William & Mary, then apprenticed as a lawyer)

#11- James Polk (the University of North Carolina then apprenticed as a law

#13- Millard  Fillmore ( Clerked for, and studied under New York judge, Walker Wood)

#14-Franklin Pierce (Bowdoin College, then studied  law)s

#15- James Buchanan ( Dickson College, then studied law)

#16-Abraham  Lincoln (No formal education, self–taught lawyer)

#19- Rutherford Hayes (Kenyon College, Harvard Law).  

#21- Chester Arthur (Union College, then studied law).

#22- Grover Cleveland (Apprenticed as a lawyer)

#23- Benjamin Harrison (Miami University in Ohio, he studied law).

#25- William McKinley (Allegheny College, Albany Law)

#27-William Howard Taft (Yale, Cincinnati Law).

#28 Woodrow Wilson (College of New Jersey, UVA law).

#30- Calvin Coolidge (Amherst, then apprenticed as a lawyer).

#32-Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Harvard, Columbia).

#37-Richard Nixon (Whittier College, Duke Law).

#39-Gerald Ford (University of Michigan, Yale Law).

#42- William Jefferson Clinton ( George University, Yale Law).

#44- Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law).

#46- Newly elected Joe Biden (Syracuse University).

 Judging by the American experience, do you think lawyers are better equipped to lead society?



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