The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Samuel Tembenu SC, has advised law students to uphold the legal profession with honest and integrity once they graduate. Mr. Tembenu was speaking on Monday afternoon when he was a guest speaker during the Clinical legal Education seminar organized by fourth year law students at Chancellor College.
The Minister advised the students to uphold the legal profession and portray an image the society expect from lawyers. “Honest and integrity are the hallmarks of this profession, to me; both honest and integrity are two sides of the same coin. Honest is paramount in law and as future lawyers; understand that money or no money you still have to abide with professionalism” Tembenu emphasised.
Tembenu also advised the students on the importance of respect in the legal profession. He gave his own example where he did not adhere to the advice of his own senior colleague of settling the matter outside court, only ending up embarrassing himself in court after filing a weak case.
Samuel Tembenu is one of the lawyers that most law students held in high esteem at Chancellor College together with the likes of Kalekeni Kaphale. Most students adore the two gentlemen for the honesty and integrity. It was not therefore strange when a question was posed to him on what advice he can give to a law student aspiring to go into politics. Tembenu admitted that he went into politics by default.
During the seminar several students presented their papers on Ethics and professionalism in the legal Profession. Monica Namondwe, a fourth year student emphasized on the importance of ethics in the legal profession. She observed that standards have gone down as the public hear cases of lawyers misappropriating clients’ money. Gomezgani Solomon Mchawi pondered on why we need a code of ethics among prosecutors in Malawi. Kondwani Tembo also tackled the importance of ethics among judicial officers.
It was the first year student Bentry Nyondo who kept the audience alive with his well-prepared presentation on ethics in adversarial system. The first year student had researched brilliantly for his presentation and the audience marveled at his presentation. He tackled on the importance of lawyers owing a duty to court and not the client.
Most Malawians have another view concerning lawyers. Most ordinary people believe that a lawyer must be a good liar to win cases and that lawyers lie in court to win cases yet a court is the last place you can tell a lie. This ignorance has led many to label lawyers as liars.