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Friday, 18 March 2016

I became a lawyer to fight injustice – US based Emmanuel Olawale


Emmanuel Olawale
 In 1997, Emmanuel Olawale left the shores of Nigeria, West Africa for the United States of America.After graduating with Honors from the City University of New York, College of Staten Island with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Communication, Media studies and Journalism, Olawale headed for Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio in 2002 where received his Juris Doctorate degree.Emmanuel Olawale, lawyer, writer, husband and father is a recipient of several professional, leadership and academic awards such as Super Lawyers’ Rising Star (2013, 2014); Who’s Who in Black Columbus (2013), Excellence in Appellate Advocacy Award (2004), Dean’s scholarship (2002-2005),and David White Scholarship. Emmanuel was also inducted into The Order of the Curia, a Law School honorary society. He was a candidate for judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Delaware County in the 2014 elections.The trial lawyer, who has successfully litigated several personal injury and other civil cases before juries and judges spoke with The Immigrant on his motivation to study law, challenges and rights of residents in the United States.

LawI have always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child because of some of the experiences I had while growing up which has to do with injustice. I knew from then that I wanted to do something that has to do with fighting for other people.When I came to the United States of America, I enrolled in college about a year and a half later. To become a lawyer in the United States you need a Bachelor’s degree in any program. For my Bachelor’s degree, I really was not sure of what I wanted to study. I was also good in writing and I did a bit of journalism in Nigeria so I declared a major in communication and journalism. After that, one of my Professors wanted me to do an internship at the New York Times. Then I started thinking if that is all I wanted to do. But I told myself I still wanted to become a lawyer. I applied for Law School, I got accepted and three years after college, I became an Attorney.I applied in my final year at the City University of New York  to Law school at the Capital University, Columbus, Ohio in the Spring of 2002 and everything was finalized in Summer of 2002.
ChallengeThe first challenge was to acclimatize myself with Columbus, Ohio. I didn’t know anyone when I got here. I have never been to Ohio before. I needed a job, quickly so as to be able to pay my rent and take care of my basic needs.
When you have a problem don’t do it on your own. Consult an expert who can lead you. Sometimes the consultation fee you will pay will save you thousands of dollars over time. The best thing is to consult an expert immediately there is a problem you know you can’t solve yourself. It could be an accident, mistreatment at work, starting a business, or going through marital issues and you need to know what your rights are.
LawyerLuckily, I was clerking for a Law firm which offered me an attorney position. The day I got sworn in, the next day they had me arguing before the Court of Appeal. Within five months they had me doing my first jury trial. They really threw me into the fire of litigation. I was filled with trepidation initially but then I got used to it that it was a baptism of fire. The time most of my colleagues were still making coffee for their Senior Associates, I was already doing what the Senior Associates did. So I grew fast in the legal profession.
PracticeAfter about four years of practicing with the legal firm, I could feel my experience was much more than my years in practice and my confidence was so good. All that they did at that firm was just personal injury and workers’ compensation. But naturally, I loved to be involved in a lot of activities. I am not a kind of person that focuses just on one thing because I am very versatile. I wanted to do more. I wanted to bring other areas of practice to the firm so I decided to go on my own and started my own practice.When I left the firm, I didn’t take a single client from them. But when I was at the firm people in the community have known about me and what I do. Even before I started my practice, I did what you might call self-marketing. When I meet with anybody, I tell them what I can do. So when I went out on my own, I doubled on that by going to stores, churches and meeting people.
JudgeAll options are on the table. It depends on the right opportunity and the right time. I am still ready and willing to serve the community and the people that reside in it.
CitizensAs a citizen of this country, you have to embrace the place you live in. That is the place you are sleeping and waking up every day, you have to embrace it as your home. You have to get involved in the government, have to vote, and have to participate. Participation is what will guarantee that your views, ideas and your needs are met. If you don’t participate or you are not at the table when a discussion about what will affect you is being made no one will consider how you feel or what your needs are. My advice is to participate.
NeedsIt depends when they have a problem. When you have a problem don’t do it on your own. Consult an expert who can lead you. Sometimes the consultation fee you will pay will save you thousands of dollars over time. The best thing is to consult an expert immediately there is a problem you know you can’t solve yourself. It could be an accident, mistreatment at work, starting a business, or going through marital issues and you need to know what your rights are. It is best to consult an attorney to help. Residents must be aware of their right. Just that someone is here legally or illegally, doesn’t mean they are not protected by certain laws. The Fourteenth Amendment gives everyone equal protection under the law and it guarantees due process regardless whether you are an alien or a native born citizen.


Culled from The Immigrant, USA


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