But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
Do what he tells you.
Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 MSG
You are probably wondering why I am writing this now – results for the bar finals 2016 are yet to be released. If I said I was also wondering myself, it would be a lie. It is just my way of testifying to the goodness of God – My God’s Not Dead. He’s Surely Alive!!! Secondly, it is about timing. For most of the aspirants of the 2016/2017 session, you have some questions that you will like to be answered before you step into whatever campus you will eventually end up. I hope I will be able to answer them. Thirdly and finally, I want to help create positive energy around the bar finals and law school – Yes, you can write it only once. Yes, it is not the biggest deal of all times, and Yes, you don’t have to lose your mind because you are in the Nigerian Law School.
So, in this post, I raised some questions and tried to provide the answers like the FAQs you see on some websites. I pray that this really helps in answering questions that are bothering you at the moment. (Amen). Here we go…
- Do I have to go to law school, I am not interested in active litigation?
It depends. If you intend to be the most sought after thespian or life style coach, you may ditch law school. If, however, you would like to give legal advice, and draft one or two contracts, and represent clients outside the court room you have to be called to the bar. All lawyers are called as BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS OF THE SUPREME COURT. If, after that, you decide to practise as a solicitor alone, I assure you that the NBA cannot stop you.
- I have heard a lot about the Clinical Method of teaching. If I don’t participate in class, will I be in trouble?
Well, it depends. All students are divided into groups. When pre – class activities are given, all members of the group are expected to solve them the day before and the group through its representative is to make a presentation on the assigned subject matter. The other alternative is the ‘passing of the mic’. Refusal to participate could mean you would be issued a query – this is for extreme cases. Your id card may be seized – which means no attendance if your campus uses the clocking in machines. In some situations you would be ‘strongly warned’. Does this affect your scores? No. But there is the requirement of fit and proper to consider. A piece of unsolicited advice though – don’t be shy to make presentations before the class. If you learn better by engaging and participating, by all means throw yourself into it. People may tease you and all that, but you know yourself better than anyone else. If you like being unnoticed, then don’t be intimidated by those who participate, instead make sure you do all the preclass activities personally.
- I finished from the University with so and so result. How will this affect my results in Law School?
Good news. Nobody adds up your undergraduate level result to your results in the Nigerian law school. So don’t worry about that. It is a chance for a fresh start. And if you finished with a first class, another chance to prove your consistency. Point to be made here is: Forget your LL.B, focus on what is ahead. Like a lawyer told me, it is not really about knowing all the law; it is about beating the examiner.
- I heard the courses include so and so. It was an elective in the University, how would I cope?
Well, this year there were five courses. Some years ago, it used to be six. Basically, if it has not changed, you will be doing Property Practice, Criminal Litigation, Civil Litigation, Corporate Practice, Professional Ethics and Skills. You will cope. There would be a host of other things you would also be meeting for the first time. Please don’t panic. You would find out that there is a world of difference between Criminal Litigation and Corporate Practice of Law School on the one hand and Criminal Law and Company Law of your undergraduate days on the other. So, keep an open mind.
- I have never left home before. I have no relatives in any of the states the campuses are situate. Where will I stay?
Hmmm. Thankfully, the Nigerian Law School is one of the few subsystems in this country where things work the way they should. Your school fees cover your accommodation. You are entitled to your own bed space and a room once you are done with your registration. The way it worked for us was if you couldn’t finish your accommodation in one day, there were temporary sleeping arrangements, so that when you completed your registration you moved into your assigned bed space. All rooms on the Abuja Campus are two man rooms. I think on all other campuses the most number of people in a room is six. So you should have no problem with where to stay during registration. Where you have other living arrangements, then of course you may choose the one that suits you better, no?
- I really want to finish with a good grade. Will this be possible if I am not on Lagos Campus?
*sigh* I know two people from the Enugu and Kano campuses who finished with first classes. I also know a number of people who finished with two ones from other campuses. Can you finish with a good grade even if you don’t end up on Lagos Campus? Yes. Is it possible to finish with a bad grade even if you are on Lagos Campus? Yes. The newer campuses have most of the lecturer – authors e.g Ogbuanya is in Yola, Eferwerhan is in Yenagoa, and, wait for it, the Chief Examiner is the head of the Abuja Campus aka Director General. Relax.
- What do they mean when they say your worst grade is your graduating grade?
When the DG comes to address you or during your orientation, you should probably ask this question. Mr Onadeko SAN has a funny way of explaining this, cracks me up all the time. The idea is that you are only as strong as your weakness – I hope it makes sense. So, don’t take any course for granted. Treat them equally. So if X has all Cs, and Y has 4 As and 1 C, they leave Nigerian law school with a pass.
- I want no part in any extracurricular activity. I would just like to write my exams and leave.
As the court pleases. This is one opportunity to meet people from all walks of life – Cameroonians, Nigerians with British Accent, people from those states you keep forgetting exist, politicians, senior police officers, children of the men of timber and calibre – and learn from them and network. You get the drift? I would just say keep an open mind. For me, I met a lot of wonderful people with brilliant minds. I had an encounter with God on the Abuja Campus. I found a family away from home – CLASFON. I couldn’t ask for more. I really am grateful to God for everything.
- Some notes and past questions are being offered for sale. Should I get them while waiting for resumption?
What works for you? Personally, I have never really been comfortable with reading someone else’s notes. I also have friends who can’t make notes to save their lives. So, they have to use other people’s notes. Some people would tell you they relied solely on the notes – Adaeze, Gabby, Kenneth etc – and finished with good grades. You may just browse through the notes pending resumption but don’t take them as the gospel truth. Some laws have changed between the time the notes were made and now. I hope you even understand what you are reading. As for the past questions, with the way the last exams went, there was a clear departure of the ‘pattern’ of the past years, if you know what I mean. Save past questions for when you are in the system already. They may not make much sense now.
- Should I buy my texts now or should I buy them from Campus? I heard they are quite cheaper in Yaba.
Please wait till you get to your campus before you buy any text. Some campuses have strong anti-piracy policy than others. For instance, I heard in Kano that you can only buy the recommended texts from the campus bookshop. In Abuja, you are also permitted to buy from the shops across the road. Additionally, the recommended texts may change or there may be newer editions. Again, in 2016 alone, the recommended texts for four out of the five courses had newer editions which were available after week four or so soon thereafter. And a new text for civil litigation was introduced. For those who had bought to save cost it wasn’t exactly funny.
The downside is you have to read post class and you have to do your pre class activities. You could use the library. The Abuja library was quite up to date.
I would have loved to say that if I could make it through law school, anybody can. That would be dishonest of me because God practically carried me through it all. So, it’s okay to reach out to God. Every other thing or option may fail, but God is 100% sure. Remember – Relax, God’s Not Dead, He is Surely Alive.