This post is relevant to all law school students especially those who will be in Lagos Campus. Kindly disregard all the scary tales about law school. Just like any phase you have passed through in life, it has its ups and downs, hard times and easy times. You just have to go in prepared, emotionally, mentally, physically and most importantly spiritually. The information contained below is based on the status quo as at the conclusion of the 2016/2017 session and is amenable to changes for the new session. This is merely to guide you and paint a rough picture of what you should expect as you prepare for the Nigerian Law School. Please, adhere strictly to information issued by the Nigerian Law School through its website and other official channels.
This process usually depends on your campus. Word has it that Lagos Campus has the most rigorous registration process. I was in Lagos Campus and I arrived very early on Monday morning to commence the registration because I had been told that the earlier you register, the easier it would be for you to settle in nicely and comfortably.
- Pay your school fees as soon as you can. First of all generate a Remita number like you did when you were paying your application fees. Pay attention to the changes in the information you will be inputting as it will be different since you are paying for school fees and not application fees again. Please be careful as the sum involved is large. There were instances in my set where people were robbed while trying to get their fees to the bank. Do not make it conspicuous that you are carrying a huge sum with you.
- Be on campus by 8am on the registration days with your proper regulation wear (strictly black and white with jackets, long skirts, black shoes, black belts and all, no stripes, no coloured hair, no bogus earrings etc) and take your passport photographs (usually 12 in number with both black and white and coloured) with the accredited photographers on campus. Plan ahead with your university classmates so you all can be there together and watch out for one another. In my set, Reg Nos 1-16 were mostly from UNILAG with the exception of two or three persons who got lucky. We were able to finish our registration on time and we led others through the entire process.
- Have all your documents ready before you set out including copies of those you submitted with your application in your faculty that was sent to Abuja. Usually, information about the requirements for registration would come around Saturday evening/Sunday morning, just before resumption on Monday, so you have to be prepared. You should have a photocopy of your notarized Form A1 Part A and B which was submitted to your Faculty and sent to Abuja. If you were not given a photocopy, print out a new one and notarize it in any court near you and make photocopies. Print out your full admission slip, posting slip, law school generated payment receipt and other relevant documents. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU MAKE AT LEAST 3 PHOTOCOPIES OF EVERY PRINT OUT.
- Convert your Remita e-receipt to a law school receipt at the Accounts Department. You might be required to pay N6,000 for a bed sheet and a t-shirt via the Remita platform to Nigerian Law School (Lagos Campus). Just have the cash in hand and do not make any payment until you are asked to. Convert the Remita receipt for the bed sheet and t-shirt to a law school receipt as well at the Accounts Department. This is a prerequisite for you to get accommodation after your registration.
- Collect your yellow form from the registration officers and your access pin which you will take to any cafe in school to fill and print out your student’s bio data form, year book form and other relevant forms. You will be required to upload your passports. Some will be black and white while others will be coloured. Pay attention to the instructions online. Ensure that you get to a cafe on time as there are only 3 on campus and they will be crowded in no time. Sometimes the site goes down and gets crappy, do not be frustrated, just take it easy and report to the IT Department.
- Print out all the forms and make copies.
- Take the forms, the yellow form given to you (filled carefully according to the instructions of the registration officers without any cancellation of any kind), the notarized Form A1, your full admission slip, posting slip, receipts and other printouts to the student affairs department for registration. Make sure you arrange these documents according to their instructions. You will get your registration number and you will be assigned to a group here.
- Proceed to do your biometric data capturing at the IT department or a classroom designated for that purpose.
- Proceed to do your medical clearance at the clinic with your medical form which you filled at a government hospital and all your printouts including your school fees receipt, passport and other relevant documentation.
- Proceed to do your hostel registration with the hostel porters and you will be assigned to a room.
- Make sure you eat well before leaving your house, wear comfortable shoes and have about N10, 000 with you for any expenditure.
PLEASE NOTE that you might not finish the registration process in one day. Mine took two. Also, there might be persons with physical challenges among you, please help them with their registration and throughout their stay on campus. Helping them will not be a burden to you, instead, I promise you that it will be a blessing for you for a lifetime.
- TEXTBOOKS AND MATERIALS:
Do not rush into buying textbooks yet. Start with your laws first. Basically your CAMA, ACJA, ACJL, CPC, CPA, High Court Rules (Lagos and Abuja) and Rules of Professional Conduct (soft copies are allowed) for starters. You will be given a list of recommended texts and other statutes with your first tasks which will be sent to you during the week of your induction. Seek the advice of your lecturers and your seniors on the texts to purchase out of the numerous ones that will be recommended to you and if you cannot afford to get hard copies of the other recommended statutes, try downloading soft copies.
As for materials, start first with arming yourself with soft copies of the LFN. You will be given tasks to solve before every class, please endeavour to participate in solving them with your group and make extra effort to solve them personally as well. TAKE NOTE of the corrections your lecturers will make on the answers and drafts submitted by each group. These will serve as your study materials and these are the best precedents you can get. Your lecturers will sometimes give you copies of their precedents as well.
You can get Kenneth’s Notes, Gabriella’s Notes and other note series but be careful because some of these notes go way back as far as 2014 and have not been modified to reflect several changes in the law up to date. If you get your hands on recent note series, use them as a guide in solving your tasks but your lecture notes, statutes, textbooks, solved and corrected tasks have to take priority over them as your study materials.
- TIME MANAGEMENT:
Law School takes up all your time and all your being. She is a very jealous mistress. You have lectures the whole day, tasks to solve in the evening and sleep at night. You find yourself doing this five times a week and you have only Saturdays and Sundays to chill for a while. You still have to study and make your notes as well, so it’s very restrictive. My advice is for you to do your best, do not burn yourself out because that will yield no result.
Develop your own study pattern, whatever works for you. After your lunch, you can go over all that was taught in class to make sure that you understood them well. Attempt some drafts and go over the corrections made on the tasks. Take a nap and wake up in time for your group meeting. If you are tired after your meeting, sleep and wake up early the next morning to personally go through the task for the day and the answers decided at your group meeting the day before. Solving the tasks amounts to studying ahead for the class. Pay attention in class, ask questions if you are not microphone shy or ask your lecturers personally. Don’t depend on the answers your peers give you, you are all learning. Look through your statutes, textbooks and confirm from your lecturers. They are approachable people and some even go as far as giving out their phone numbers and respond when you send them whatsapp messages.
Your friends at this time can either make or mar you. Pray to God for good friends and roommates. Those who will encourage you, those you can pray with and those who will impact on you positively and vice versa. If anyone seems to be a thorn in your flesh, tell it to God and you will be amazed that you will be left alone almost instantly. If you like to hangout, do so with caution. This period is a very critical one in your life and the devil is looking for ways to steal the victory that awaits you at the finish line.
- GOD AND PRAYER:
The best is always saved for last. Without God, everything from 1-4 will not be possible and neither will it be a sweet or an easy ride. Pray before you do anything. When you wake up, when you get seated for lectures, when the lecturer comes in, at the end of the class, in between classes when your mind drifts away and you do not seem to understand anything, when you are in your room, before your group meeting, before you go to bed, AT ALL TIMES! Law School is a battle not for you but for God because as you go on, you would discover that there is so much that you can do on your own but God will always see you through. A senior told me before resumption, “Amaka, log in and log out spiritually every day”.
You can join CLASFON, CALSAN (for the Catholic Students) or the Muslim Law Students Association. It is best for you to continuously feed your spirituality and be in fellowship with God and your brethren. Go to Church or the Mosque! Your service to God should not be compromised by your earthly goals. ALWAYS strike a balance. These religious associations organise spiritual, academic and social programmes for your benefit.
I hope this helps with your journey at the beginning. More articles will be published to guide you through, to share experiences with you and to encourage you, so watch this space in your spare time.
– Food on campus is cheap, affordable and you have varieties to choose from.
– The water in Lagos Campus is coloured and not good for your white shirts. You can opt for dry-cleaning or if you cannot afford that, use pure water to wash and rinse your white shirts every week. You can also get alum to purify the water and filter the water every morning for your bath and laundry. This is by far the most cost effective option.
– There is sufficient electricity.
– Stay out of trouble. Do not fight or bully anyone. NO ALUTA CONTINUA!!! All that ends with your university days.
– No WEED or DRUGS!!! Law School randomly conducts “Pee in the cup” tests and if you test positive, you will be rusticated.
– Stick to the Code of Conduct.
– Help those among you who are physically challenged.
*This article is by Chiamaka Ibeh, a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos who recently concluded the mandatory vocational training programme at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus. Chiamaka is also a baker and the proprietor of Stephanie’s Delights. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.