The argument, “Lawyer and doctor, who is more important in the society?” is one of the trending debate topics that has not been given a specific answer or conclusion till today. On one hand, it is undisputed that lawyers are very essential in the society because they help to protect the rights of the people. On the other hand, doctors are very essential set of professionals in every society because the protect the health and lives of the people in the society.
Many people have given different answers or argument on the topic but from the totality of the argument made, I found out that their answers were based on personal experiences and upbringing.
Nonetheless, in this article, we will critical examine the topic to see who is better between a lawyer and a doctor in the society.
Who is a lawyer?
A lawyer is an attorney or person who practices law as an advocate, barrister, counselor, solicitor. He/she is a person who having passed through law school is a licensed professional, being called to the bar, and advises or represents others in legal matters.
The origin of the term “lawyer” dates back to ancient Greece, when orators spoke on behalf of their friends on their request. This they did without oayment, even when they acted as legal counsels. Then in ancient Rome, around 204 BC, the profession became legalized by Emperor Claudius, and these orators could hence receive payment for their services.
In Nigeria, for one to become a lawyer, or to be addressed as one, it is imperative for the person to have studied law in a university for five years for the law degree, and one year at the Nigerian law school, after which the person would be called to bar, or licensed to practiced law in Nigeria as a barrister and solicitor.
The following are the duties of a lawyer:
a. Researching information for the purpose of a case, or client.
b. Drafting legal documents to be used in contracts or in court cases.
c. Giving legal advice to clients when such is needed, take for example when a prospective client wants to sue another person, it becomes imperative for the counsel to give legal advice to the client, concerning the strength of the case, and if the client has chances of winning.
Also, where the client wants to enter into contract, the lawyers advice is needed in drafting documents and terms of the contract, legal implications of the terms and whether or not certain moderations be made to the language used in the terms of the contract.
d. Mediating disputes: Before cases are brought to the court, the court first of all asks the parties to see if they can settle the matter outside the court setting, before litigation commences fully. There is also the ADR, short for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Here, the parties come together under a less formal setting, and the cases are ironed out. Most times lawyers are involved as mediators and make decisions on behalf of their clients. This is usually preferred to litigation as litigation is time consuming, and trade secrets are usually exposed to the public due to the openness of the court. Hence, most trade companies choose ADR.
The legal field is very broad, and there are several areas under which lawyers can specialize in. A few of them are:
Divorce lawyer: These lawyers handle mainly divorce cases, under which issues like child custody, legal fillings, division of assets, separation, and payment of child support come in. Throughout the divorce process. The lawyers try to ensure that they are protecting their client’s and that they are given their due settlement when the marriage is eventually dissolved, legally.
Criminal lawyer: these are usually defence lawyers. The represent the charged with criminal charges eg charges of fraud, embezzlement, sex crimes (rape, attempted rape, defilement, sexual harassment), and drug related crimes. The job of the lawyer is to research for evidence and the position of the law, then build a defence around the stipulations of the law, in such a way that the defendant goes in for a lesser charge or is even acquitted and discharged of the accusation.
Corporate lawyer: these lawyers focus mainly on agency and employment law, contracts, business organization, sales etc. They usually assist companies with the drafting and reviewing of mergers, help new companies in negotiating business deals.
Employment lawyer: these lawyers are basically interested in the employer- employee relationship which includes protection against discrimination, sexual harassment, health and safety of the workers, wages and hours expected for the employee to work, and defending the employees when the employers are in default of their duties.
Human right lawyers: These are lawyers interest in human rights. They defend the poor and downtrodden (usually probono cases, that is, for free), they also defend people whose rights have been taken for granted by either government or other people who infringe on the rights of others. Gani fawehinmi for example, was a human right activist and lawyer.
Who is a Doctor?
A medical doctor is a professional who practices medicine which is concerned with promoting, maintaining and restoring the health of patients through the study and application of medicine.
Basically, a medical doctor is one who examines patients, diagnoses diseases, prescribes medications and treats disease and injuries in the body. Usually, students study medicine for six years, before they are licensed to practice as doctors in Nigeria.
There are several fields under medicine and a few of them are:
Dermatologists: According to Wikipedia, Dermatologists are doctors that focus more on diseases, and conditions of the skin, nails and hair. They also treat conditions like skin cancer, skin reactions, eczema, acne etc
Ophthalmologists: these doctors specialize in eye and vision. They treat diseases of the eye, and perform surgery when needed, on the eye. They also prescribe eye glasses to patients with sight issues.
Obstsetrician/gynecologists: These are doctors for women. They deal with mostly women issues like female reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth, infertility, menopause, cancer prevention etc.
Cardiologist: these doctors deal mainly with the cardiovascular system. They treat high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure etc
Urologists: they treat conditions of the urinary tract in both the male and female gender and also on the male reproductive health.
Importance of doctors in the society
Doctors are unarguably important to the society and their role can not be over emphasized. Before the discovery of modern medicine, life was fleeting for people, as people died of sicknesses and medical conditions which, are curable now with cheap and effective medicines. The following are the roles of doctors in the society:
a. Saving lives: Accident victims, victims of war, injuries, death sentencing sicknesses all need a doctor to save lives, and absence of the doctor could mean death.
b. Research: Doctors conduct research for sicknesses, especially when diseases break out and killing people, it is the duty of the doctors to help check the spread of the disease by providing information as to the sickness, how the patients respond to treatment and factors that might cause the spread of the disease.
c. Humanitarian work: Doctors perform humanitarian duties by creating and funding advocacy groups to help disseminate information as to particular diseases, and to advise people on how to put those diseases in check, take care of their health and prevent contracting the diseases. They also work as volunteer for communities with little or medical personnel or hospitals.
d. Preserving lives: Not every sickness has a cure; however certain sicknesses can be curbed, in order to extend the lifespan of the patient. Sicknesses like HIV, diabetes, have no cure, but with constant checkup and medicines, can be managed.
Importance of Lawyers in the society
a. Help defend human rights: It is the duty of the lawyer to uphold justice. Hence, when the rights of people are being trampled upon, it is upon the lawyer to defend them in the court of justice.
b. Preservation of Rule of Law: History is replete with lawyers bravely speaking for the downtrodden and demanding that the rule of law be followed to its latest.
c. Lawyers are excellent communicators: this skill is out to use when drafting documents, especially contract documents for their clients. Without the lawyer, most people would use the language to their disadvantage and end up losing their properties to a contract due to the fact that they used ambiguous words. Hence, it is the duty of the lawyer to ensure the terms and language used in a contract is favourable to his client.
d. Lawyers are professional negotiators: want to make a business deal? contact a lawyer. You have been charged of committing an offence? Contact a lawyer. Lawyers are great at negotiating deals and sentences that you might get a lower term or even get your case dismissed.
Who is more important between doctors and lawyers?
Having examined the importance and role of lawyers and doctors in our society, it is no doubt that they are both important in our society, and the pillar upon which a society is built, for without law, there is no order and without medicine, everybody dies.
However, it is my opinion that in comparison to the lawyer, the medical doctor is almost more important, as everyone falls sick at some point, needing the services of a doctor, but the same cannot be said of lawyers, as people live and even die, without knowing what a court room looks like. Hence for the preservation and saving of lives, a medical doctor always comes first.
I hope this answers and concludes the argument on the topic “Doctor and Lawyer, Who is More Important in the Society?“. You can drop your comments on this topic below so others can hear from you.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ChMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.