Legal practitioner Sampson Lardy Ayenini has defended the action of a private Accra-based law firm, Legal Ink Lawyers & Notaries, to suspend two pregnant female lawyers after undergoing two and three months pupillage respectively.
According to him, the lawyers could have used the appropriate channels such as the National Legal Council rather than resorting to the media for help.
“If I were aggrieved, I would not go to the press. I would try and talk to him or get a senior he respects to talk to him or even go to the Legal Council for them to work it out. After you go to the press and do this public thing will you be able to go back there to continue your pupilage?” he stated.
He maintained that the decision of Legal Ink was in the best interest of the ladies.
“If I, as a pupil master who is overseeing your pupilage at the end of the day cannot faithfully and in good conscience certify that you have undergone the process in the manner that is expected of you, I should be in the position to advise you. It is not up to only you to tell me you are capable when I know that you are incapable” Mr Ayenini explained.
Meanwhile, he countered arguments by Member of Constitutional, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee and the Judicial Committee of Parliament, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor that the move by the firm is a discriminatory
“I think what is wrong here is that we are seeking to suggest that by mere discovery of preg, then de firm decided to take the decision. Even if you listen to their side of the case it was not just a story of pregnancy”, he said on Joy FM's Super Morning Show, January 15.
This comes after several reactions on social media regarding the plight of the lawyers, with some describing it as ‘discriminatory’.
The ladies are part of the total of six pupils under apprenticeship in this firm to learn the practical law activities before they receive certification as lawyers.
Lawyers who graduate from the Ghana School of Law are expected to undergo a period of pupillage at a credible law firm or court for a period of twelve months.
The law firm, Legal Ink Lawyers & Notaries confirmed that their decision to defer the pupilage of these two lawyers is not based on a medical report on their ability to continue work due to their pregnancy.
On January 2, 2020, they were summoned to a meeting with the Executive Chairman of the firm, Daniyal Abdul-Karim, and the Deputy Managing Counsel (in charge of human resource), Theodocia Naana Bennieh Quartey.
It is at this meeting that the management members proposed deferment to the two until they had delivered.
Given a deadline of January 3, 2020, they gave a negative response after consulting their medical doctors.
On the contrary, the firm insisted that they suspend work with effect from January 10 in a letter.