Nigerian Law School: As an aspirant of the Nigerian Bar, it felt soothing to know that every essential step needed to actualize my dream of been a lawyer ended after the glamorous graduation from the university.
I still remember the joy that filled my heart and by default splashed my face as I submitted my exam script (my last paper as an undergraduate).
The world felt different and the breeze came with a strong sense of agreement puffing my shoulders; however, this ecstatic feeling was short-lived as enlightenment for the need of proceeding to the Nigerian Law School was advanced.
This was actually presented as the icing for my cake. It is therefore trite that the procedure for becoming a lawyer starts at the university, but it doesn’t end there.
Actually, a law graduate in Nigeria, who does not proceed to the Nigerian Law School, is like a brand new car without an engine. Hence Law School is an integral part of a lawyer’s journey.
What is the History of the Nigerian law school?
The Nigerian law school was established in Lagos state under the Legal Education act 1962 now the Legal Education (Consolidation) Act Cap L10. This body has existed for over 57 years and has its headquarters at Bwari Abuja.
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Prior to its establishment, the law was taught using informal techniques such as tutelage and subsequently, an aspirant to the bar had to study abroad to be certified to practice in Nigeria.
This posed a lot of challenges amongst which is the obvious difference in the legal systems.In 1959 a committee was formed to look into the Nigerian legal profession and how it could be improved.
The committee popularly known as the unworthy committee took some decisions amongst other things that had driven and still driving Nigerian legal profession till date. Some of these decisions include;
- Nigeria should establish its own system of legal education.
- Faculties of law should be established in Nigerian Universities first at University college of Ibadan
- Nigerian law school to be established and train, for one (1) year, a graduate of the law of any qualifying University in Nigeria, and one (1) year three (3) months for a graduate of law in a qualified foreign University.
- A Council of legal education should be established.
Council of Legal Education is the body that regulates the activities of the Nigerian Law School.
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL?
The aim of the Nigeria law school includes but is not limited to the following;
- To Adopt skill-based, interactive and clinical methods of learning that would adequately prepare the graduates for their roles as lawyers to function as teachers, advocates, solicitors, advisers, leaders in private enterprises and public service.
The Nigerian Law School conducts its program in two (2) parts. Bar Part I and Bar Part II.
CAN A FOREIGNER STUDY LAW IN NIGERIA? (BAR PART I)
The Bar Part I program is open to graduates of law from foreign countries, especially from common law countries. Such candidates must have a qualifying certification from a university approved by the Council of Legal Education.
The courses taken at this level include Criminal law, Constitutional law, Legal System and Nigerian land law.
BAR PART II.
This program is for both students trained in Nigeria and foreign students who have sat for and passed the BAR I examination. The courses taken are Criminal litigation, civil litigation, Property law Practice, Corporate law Practice and law in Practice.
These courses are taught by academic staff of Nigerian Law School after which examinations are taken and successful candidates are called to the bar by Body of Benchers as prescribed by the Legal Practitioners Act and this is followed by enrollment at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The Bar part II program entails some weeks of lectures, a period of externship (where the students are exposed to practical aspects of the law through court and subsequently chamber attachment), moot trial, three compulsory dinners and examination.
HOW MANY CAMPUSES DOES NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL HAVE?
Nigerian Law School has six (6) campuses. They include;
- Abuja Campus.
- Lagos Campus.
- Bayelsa Campus.
- Kano Campus
- Yola campus.
- Enugu Campus.
I’ve seen a lot of questions relating to the best campus among the six (6) campuses. It is worthy of note that the various campuses have at different points produced excellent students both in paper and in practice.
Hence, what speaks volumes about a successful campus is the attitude of the students and I dare to say a hardworking student actually attaches glory to the campus where he or she is admitted.
What is the Duration of the law school program?
The law school program is for a period of one (1) year after which examination is taken and a certificate is awarded to successful candidates.
What degree does the Nigerian law school offer?
The Nigerian law school offers BL (Bachelor of laws). The certificate gives you license to have the audience in any court in Nigeria. At this point, the brand new car can be said to have obtained its engine and hence can move.
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Myths about Nigerian Law School
- The curriculum for Law school is very difficult.
- First-class is for the selected few.
- You need to be on a certain campus to perform excellently.
- Buy as many books as you come across.
- You need to work until you are fagged out.
- No relaxation is allowed in law school.
- There is no time to washcloths, hence, the washing of clothes is prohibited.
- You can miss the lectures and still pass your exams excellently.
- Law school is very expensive.
- You can’t do any other thing in law school apart from reading.
RESPONSE TO THE MYTHS.
It is better to say that the curriculum for law school is bulky. For the Bar Part II, each of the five (5) courses have a maximum of twenty topics and the point where the problem begins to arise is when you pile up your work.
At this point, you will struggle to balance previous work, work currently treated and the task for the next day. A task is a form of Assignment that cover a topic(overview), Outcomes for the topic and Activities to enhance understanding. Hence the true representation is bulky and not difficult.
No! In law school, First Class is not for the selected few. You can graduate with a second class lower (2.2) from your university and still make the First class or at least a second class upper (2.1) from the law school.
THE KEY TO EXCELLING HERE IS WORKING SMART. Ask lawyers questions (lawyers who were recently called to Bar and had good grades), study every day, attend your lectures, be attentive in class, DO YOUR TASK, Work on past questions and above all trust God.
You don’t need to be on a certain campus to perform excellently. As a matter of fact, every campus has a good set of lecturers. (I wonder how Council of legal education works that magic).
If you are still sad that you were posted to the campus where you are, brace up, rest is what matters and It’s just for a few months.
Invoke the excellence within you and trust me during “call to bar”, nobody talks of the campus he or she went to. The unifying factor is the long-awaited moment “you may now put on your wig and gown”.
Buying books is a matter of choice. I would advise that you buy authorities in every course and work with your RULES and LAWS. You might never open some of the textbooks you’ve gathered. (Experience would explain this better)
Really! Work until you are fagged out? No. You need to work smart and that’s all. Back then in law school, I remember students who felt the way to pass was to work until you are tired, restless and even begin to feel sick.
Well, it paid very few however, I can boldly say that the first class students were not in this category. They worked smart. No wonder we’re shocked at most of the names.
If you work smart, you will have time to relax.
Well, the program is time-consuming; however, you can make time to do your laundry during the weekends. This will actually save some stipends for you.
Failure to attend lectures is the beginning of a lot of confusion. You cannot rely on textbooks because law school has a unified position on matters and these are communicated during the lectures.
Most textbooks are too bulky and are merely the opinions of the authors. If you signed up for the program, give your best, attend lectures and make it once.
The word expensive is relative. That is, what is expensive to you might be very affordable to another person. I would advise that you be mindful of your background.
The tuition and other necessary expenses are already quite demanding (for some students). Hence, spend smartly.
Find out where you can get good food for a reasonable amount, do your laundry when you can (don’t always give them out to be done), Get some provision as compliments and don’t just follow the crowd to buy things, materials, books etc.
- You can actually live a balanced life in law school. As soon as you get in, draw up a plan involving God, your books, exercise and every area that positively influences your success.
The keyword in all of these is smart. Don’t just work do it smartly.
What have you heard about the Nigerian Law School? Has fear and fright-filled your mind even before arrival? Ask yourself “How many lawyers do we have in Nigeria? Wao! Shocked right? If the curriculum is that difficult, how then do we have so many lawyers?
The Nigerian law school is not an enemy, it’s an icing that if utilized properly, will usher you into your dream of becoming a lawyer.