The abode of a law student is usually bombarded with literary shelves housing voluminous books both leathered and hard covered. Engage them in an argument and watch your blood levels rise with unperturbed provocations. The feeling of being the only learned fellow and other professions.
All other professions including business to arts require the services of a lawyer for some legal backings, thereby making the profession a huge sort after and lucrative career. A little time in the company of a legal mind and one is intrigued by the charisma and carriage with which they bend issues with the only tool they have “Words”.
For a parent with a vibrant ward budding in the Nigerian secondary school fast approaching the point when they’d choose a path in life’s choice careers, the bar comes to mind. Every house wants to shelter and boast of a learned fellow and a distinguished member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Howbeit, this title does not come cheap. To become a certified Lawyer and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) one must go through a lengthy and rigorous incubation period.
STEPS TO BECOMING A LAWYER IN NIGERIA.
To make this a reality what could be the first step to take that would set the journey being called to Bar on course?
- Participate and finish an undergraduate LLB degree in any Nigerian Univerity. Usually a 5-year course, by the end of this undergraduate curriculum the student is expected or required to study 12 compulsory core law courses namely; Legal Methods, Nigerian Legal System, Contract Law, Constitutional Law, Company Law, Law of Torts, Commercial Law, Law of Equity and Trusts, Criminal Law, Land Law, Law of Evidence and Jurisprudence.
N/B: However, as a foreign student who had schooled outside the shores of the Nigerian borders and held an LLB degree from a foreign University, it is expected that such student should first register for and complete the Bar 1 programme. These programmes are usually slated to commence in June and run for 3 months.
- The next step after (1.) For both foreign and local University graduating students is to enrol for the Bar (2) provided they meet the required pass level after successfully acing the Bar 1 examinations.
With vocational knowledge and practical training, all compulsory courses are;
• Criminal Litigation
• Civil Litigation
• Corporate Law & Practice
• Property Law.
• Law in Practice (Ethics & Skills).
N/B: During the Bar 2 programme, they must attend 3 dinners (still beats my imagination every time I think about it) and what’s even more confounding is the fact these dinners are held in the afternoon. Who goes out on a dinner in the afternoon, or why wouldn’t they just call it lunch like every other normal person?
- After this time in the Law school for the Bar 2 programme, it is expected that the law student equips himself with a bit of fieldwork to get practical knowledge (experience) of how the legal system works besides the theories in a classroom. This is done by completing 2 periods of internships
• In a law firm.
• In a Court.
- The last bottleneck before the main event is the examinations. All students must be tested for the last time with an examination after the Bar 2 programme. Only determined students who have met all these set hurdles qualified for the main event which is the call to the Bar.
- The main and final event is the handover of the certificate of the Call to Bar after which the students are asked to appear before the Supreme Court of Nigeria where their names would be enrolled into the Roll of Legal Practitioners. This roll is kept and maintained by the Registrar of the Nigerian Supreme Court of law.
So ask yourselves ladies and gentlemen have you got what it takes, the patience to become a certified Nigerian lawyer?
- 5 years in the University when your mates in other professions are doing 4 years.
- 2 Years in Law School.
- 1 Year Internship.
Before being called to Bar, bear in mind that by this time, your counterparts are already 4 years deep into their professions and making progress.
ADVANTAGES OF BEING A LAWYER
- Proven to be among the most lucrative and well-paying job. As a sound lawyer, private and government established firms would sort for your services and would pay handsomely too.
- In these parts of the world (Africa) Lawyers are held with such high esteem. Hugely respected and consequently seen to hold seats of power.
- They bring Justice, swinging the sword when needed and cleaning the wounded. Balancing the scale of law and order in society.
- Law is the most branched profession in the history of man. It extends from Criminal law to Medical. All facets of professionalism require the services of a lawyer.
- Asides from working with a law firm, a lawyer can still earn passively as consultants, mediators etcetera.