This post contain tips on how to succeed in the Nigerian Law School. The Nigerian Law School is the final coaching place for all would-be lawyers before they are finally called to bar. Law is one of the most prestigious courses to study in Nigeria alongside Medicine and Engineering. In fact, every parent secretly wants to have either a doctor, lawyer or an engineer (or all three) in their household.
And as with anything that is prestigious, it doesn’t come easy. To qualify as a lawyer in Nigeria, one has to first go through five years in a University to obtain a law degree.
It doesn’t stop there, if you then want to practice law in Nigeria, you have to attend the Nigerian Law School regardless of whether you obtained your degree from Owerri or Oklahoma.
The Nigerian Law School was established in 1962 and from that time till 1994, it had only one campus in Lagos.
Presently, it has 6 campuses in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Yola, Yenogoa, and Kano with Abuja as the main campus. All the campuses are headed by Deputy Director-Generals.
Okay, enough with the history lesson…let’s examine what it takes to come out tops in the Nigerian Law School.
Just like the University grading system, the Nigerian Law School grades its students final performance using First Class, Second Class, Pass, and Fail.
The grading system, however, is very peculiar in the sense that a student is graded based on his/her lowest grade in any of the courses.
This means that of a student takes 5 courses and gets four As and 1 C, the student automatically gets a Pass grade regardless of the other As gotten in the other courses.
This is not what is obtainable at the University as this student can still come out with a First Class degree taking into consideration the grades scored in the other courses.
The Nigerian Law School coursework is broken down into two parts: The first part also known as Bar Part I is designed for people that obtained their law degrees from foreign universities.
The courses taken are Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Nigerian legal System, and Nigerian Land Law. The second part is designed for all students, whether locally or foreign trained.
The courses taken are Civil Procedure, Company Law and Commercial Practice, Criminal Procedure, Law of Evidence, Legal Drafting and Conveyancing, Professional Ethics, Legal Practitioner’s Accounts, Law Office Management and General Paper.
The Nigerian Law School is not like the regular school and coming out in flying colours is hard. Consider the figures from the previous results of the Nigerian Law School.
In 2014, which was considered as one of the worst results in the history of the Nigerian Law School, only 2,172 students out of 6000 passed meaning that over 3800 failed the Bar II examinations.
In 2012, the story is even worse as only 1,625 students out of 6000 passed the examinations meaning almost 4500 students failed.
These statistics are not meant to dishearten you or put fear into your hearts but to ensure you understand what you are getting if you decide to attend the Nigerian Law School and become a Barrister.
If you crash read for two weeks leading to the examination and still passed while at the University, that will not work at the Nigerian Law School (unless you are Kyle XY or something).
The Nigerian Law School is a different ball game entirely and requires much more dedication, preparation, focus, and determination to scale through.
Remember that in Nigeria, if you want to practice as a lawyer in one of the top law firms, you must come out with a good grade which means either a First Class or Second Class. Few firms do not consider grades of lawyers when hiring but as stated, there are ‘few’. This means, you must put in your best.
With all these in mind, following the steps that will be listed below will ensure your success in the Nigerian Law School.
1. Prepare: before you begin a journey, the smart move to make is to prepare. Schedule when you are travelling, how you are going to do it, what things to take, and much more.
This is exactly what should happen when you decide to go to law school. You should plan your time and segment every single minute of it.
This doesn’t mean you should be stuck up and rigid, rather it means that you should have a plan. Without a plan, you will definitely flunk out or repeat.
2. Health: As much as you schedule a time for reading, discussions and classes, never neglect the time for rest as it is very important.
Sleep is an important part of having a good health and making good grades. Apart from resting, make sure to engage in regular checkups in order to be sure that you are in a good state of health before taking the exams.
Stories abound of people who prepared well for the exams and fall sick a day to their final paper thereby failing completely.
3. Start reading…immediately: you might have managed to get a law degree by reading a month to exams but in Law School, that will definitely not work for you.
You have to start reading from the first day that you get in and that is not an exaggeration. This will enable you absorb the cases and even apply them to your everyday life instead of merely cramming them and forgetting at the end of the exam or worse, during the exam.
4. Class/Group discussions: attending classes and paying attention to every single detail pointed out by the lecturer is pertinent to your success. Also, do not be a lone ranger.
Work with others as they might have information that you, in all your wisdom, might not have come across.
Organise discussion and tutorial periods and make sure to share ideas, notes, and observations.
5. Focus: just like with the regular University, Law School also comes with many distractions from parties to hangouts and the worst distraction is even closest to you…your smartphone!
This is one of the major reasons that planning and preparation is necessary. You should have a time management strategy to reach your goal or else it will be futile.
This doesn’t mean that you should live the life of a recluse or not form any meaningful friendships or relationships in Law School (people have found spouses while in Law School).
6. Examinations: this is the most important part of Law School and will pretty much determine your future as a lawyer. Revise all you have learnt in the past year(s), hold discussion classes, rest, eat well, calm your nerves and most importantly, pray!
With these tips, I believe you have no excuse for failure once you get into Law School and if you are already in, it is never too late to start applying them.