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#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “YOU ARE DOING JUST FINE”

#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter.

Cyril-Okafor Jennifer Chigoziri
Jennifer in her wig

Name: CYRIL-OKAFOR, JENNIFER CHIGOZIRI

Campus: Abuja (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students

University: University of Nigeria, Nsukka (First Class)

About: Jennifer was born in Owerri, Imo state. She is currently a member of her firm’s oil and gas and enterprise groups. She can be reached at googocyriljeni@gmail.com.

My Law School Story

You will see here, the direct opposite of what you expect.

In the beginning…

“Baby you have been posted to Abuja! Abuja!” My fiance Obinna screamed over the phone. I picked my phone up immediately to confirm my posting and as usual, the Law school website was very slow but I was not to be deterred. Lo and behold I was posted to Abuja! The campus of my dreams! Now, apart from the fact that I was strongly convinced that Abuja Campus was the place for me because of all the good things I had heard (like great accommodation, beautiful lecture halls, amazing lecturers and relatively fair closing time), my mum (God bless Her soul) attended law school at this campus and in fact, was the pioneer set at the Abuja Campus. So, off I went, as excited as ever to finally take the last step to becoming a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, You knowwwww.

My first day in Bwari was a shocker! The roads were horrible and the harmattan wind wasn’t helping. The Campus was smaller than I expected and the buildings were not as refurbished. Nonetheless, I was here and I was determined to make the best out of it. I cooked up with my friend NKY who had arrived earlier and therefore was done with her registration. At this point I must add that I was in the same Law school with my boyfriend (now Fiance) and so the registration process wasn’t as tedious. However, the Nigerian Law School has a long way to go when it comes to effective organization. The process is unreasonably long and tiresome and students are expected to do this while simultaneously (Magically albeit) attending lectures.

Anyway, I was done with my registration soon enough and had settled into my room. Okay to my bar aspirants, if you are looking for a campus where you can be sure of a comfortable room and standard toilet facilities, as well as fairly constant light, then Abuja campus is the place for you. There are also a lot of helpers at your disposal who when given a small token, will fetch water for you, wash your clothes, clean up your room and run errands here and there for you. So you see? Life was good! However, please don’t get caught up in that euphoria for too long.

LECTURES AND GROUP MEETINGS

I walked into Civil litigation class on my first day of lectures to an ever radiant woman who I soon got to know, co-authored the length and breath of civil litigation as I like to call it. Her name is Mrs. Stanley Idum and she is ever so radiant. The way her laughter rings out intermittently during lectures when she cracks one of those jokes, you would forget for a moment that this was the second most dreaded course in the Nigerian Law school. Yep! You guessed right, Corporate was the most dreaded! I was always sitting with my best friend Obinna and my second time roommate, Chidera who has been my very good friend right from our University days. I say second time because she was my roommate in our second year at the university and we sure had a lot of fun but that’s a story for another day. Chidera later became the group leader of my group- Group 5 and I have to say, this really helped me a lot. My darling roommate was always dragging me to group meetings and she would always appoint me to take a topic or to handle one of our practice questions. At the time I didn’t find this funny because I was equally as tired and really just wanted to be on my bed as I felt it was a total waste of my precious time. I soon found out that when God wants to bless you, he blesses you without your permission and sorry but you will not be in a position to dictate to him HOW to bless you. To my bar aspirants, please DO NOT take your Group meetings for granted and try as much as possible to actually participate, both in the meetings and in class. With the volume of work you have to deal with in Law school, this might be the your only panacea, albeit in disguise.

Cyril-Okafor Jennifer Chigoziri
Source – Jennifer

Social Life

What most of you will soon come to realize is that in law school, “FUN” is whatever you make it out to be. Maami was my rallying point. My evenings in Law school were what I used to socialize. Please get this ; Nigerian Law school is not a place for you to come and gaan kill yourself and die on top of book. Its actually a place to make the best out of. I will admit that one of the regrets I have about law school is that I didn’t socialize much. I spent most of my time amongst familiar faces from Uni and a few new friends, not because I didn’t have the time to meet new people, but I was generally not very keen. I did however try to engage in a few fun activities on campus (not like they were so many anyway) e.g the Play night organized by CLASFON, Praise Night and the Christmas Carol organized by the Catholic Choir. Truth is, most weekends, I wasn’t on campus. I don’t like to be confined to a particular space for too long and so every other weekend I was in town with my fiancé! Hard to believe right? Don’t play yourselves in Law school my friends, don’t. The race is not to the swift…is it?

Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “YOU ARE DOING JUST FINE””

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#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘ I DID NOT RESUME LAW SCHOOL WITH THE BELIEF THAT I COULD MAKE A FIRST CLASS’

#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter. 

Name: Kuseme, Iseh

Campus: Lagos Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students

University: University of Uyo, Second Class Upper Division

About: Kuseme Iseh, the fifth girl in a family of six from Akwa Ibom State was born and bred there. She had all her undergraduate studies in Akwa Ibom. She depends on the grace of God to live and achieve all she desires in life.

KUSEME ISEH
SOURCE: KUSEME ISEH

KUSEME ISEH- MY STORY

My name is Kuseme Iseh, from Akwa Ibom State. I attended University of Uyo and graduated in 2016 with a second class upper division.  I proceeded to the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School and graduated with a First Class Honours.  ‘’Easy going’’ describes my personality. My journey to law school was a mystery so to say. I only figured out the reason things played out in that direction when I saw my result. I had so much prayed for Abuja campus, but I was posted to Lagos which I reluctantly had to go. I heard the stress and rigors of Lagos campus and that was not the kind of life I wanted in law school, but it all paid off at the end.

‘’Write down your grades, confess it daily and watch God bring it to pass’’ were the words of one of my lecturers in class one of those days. I thought to myself, there is no harm in trying; I will lose nothing if I write down a first class grade and it doesn’t come to pass. So that day, I went back to the hostel and wrote down on paper the scores I wanted for each course, which was 72 and above.  I wouldn’t say I confessed it daily, but I did whenever I could. The sum up of my story is that I did not resume law school with the belief that I could make a first class. The ambition only came after I heard series of encouragements from my lecturers and other people that it is very easy to make the grade you desire as much as it is very easy to fail in law school. Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘ I DID NOT RESUME LAW SCHOOL WITH THE BELIEF THAT I COULD MAKE A FIRST CLASS’”

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#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘EVERY WEEK IS TO BE CONQUERED’

#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter. 

**Please see the short note at the end of this page for a gift from Deborah to you our #DearAspiranttotheBar.

Name: IDOWU DEBORAH OMOTAYO

Campus: Enugu (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students

University: University of Lagos (Second Class Upper)

About:Deborah, also fondly referred to as ‘Debbie Stones’, can be reached at daerbeeshire@yahoo.com

Idowu, Deborah Omotayo
SOURCE: DEBBIE STONES


My Bar Finals’ Testimony

Dear Aspirants to the Bar,

I am IDOWU DEBORAH OMOTAYO, nicknamed Debbie Stones. I studied Law at the prestigious Faculty of Law, University of Lagos and graduated with a second-class upper division. One of my guiding scriptures is in Ecclesiastes 9:10Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”  This scripture basically motivates me to live life and live it excellently well.

A few months before I got admitted into the Nigerian Law School (NLS), I carried out my fair share of research, using the internet, about the Bar Part II program. I read up stories of law students who made it outstandingly at the bar finals and how they did it. I also read the negative tales of how difficult it was to pass the bar finals. After my research, I was faced with two options, metaphorically speaking; life and Death. “Life” in this sense meaning that I could make the best out of my stay at NLS; a first class and “Death” in the sense that I could allow the fear of failing to hinder me from excelling. So, I had to renew my mindset about NLS, and resolved to making the best grade out of Law School. Interestingly, I also decided that I would stay back in whatever campus I was posted to (although I prayed that it would be Enugu) for the first term break/Christmas Holidays to do more study. Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘EVERY WEEK IS TO BE CONQUERED’”

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#DEARASPIRANTSTOTHEBAR, NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL (NLS) EXTERNSHIP PROGRAMME; NUGGETS FOR SUCCESS.

By Tobi Michael Babalola*

Tobi Michael Babalola
Source: Tobi Michael Babalola

Hello, to those currently at the Nigerian Law School. I’m sharing with you my experience during the NLS two months externship and how you can make excellent use of the opportunity to gain practical knowledge for your Bar Examinations and in the long run your legal career.

The Externship programme is a part of the Nigerian Law School curriculum to add practical experience to what is taught within the four walls of your NLS classroom. The programme is divided into two invaluable learning experiences to wit; the court room externship, which comes first followed immediately  by the chamber/law firm externship. At the end of this programme, NLS students are made to undergo a portfolio assessment to examine them on what they have learnt during the programme. This is also a prerequisite for being called to the Nigerian Bar.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

I believe the under listed steps have been taken and you’ve all received your placements:

-Fill the placement forms for both court and chamber attachments.  N. B: The system of choosing your preferred local government  and state is intentionally made flexible for your convenience.

-Submit the forms

-Get your placement notifications from NLS

-COMPLAINTS? inform your NLS campus Externship coordinator or Group mentor,  as the case may be based on the information given by your campus coordinator or Directors.

-Listen to the instructions given and obey.  (Many, but important, especially to avoid hiccups during your portfolio assessment).

For example – Making copies of work done during the programme; submitting a signed and up-to-date log book; filled assessment form accompanied by a letter & a copy of your attendance list to be in a sealed envelope from your chamber. Confirm if a court assessment is also required.

-Avoid rumors (listening to and spreading rumors). Get your instructions directly from the authorities which will be communicated to your various group heads or the Chairman Students Representative Council, as the case may be.

MYTHS ABOUT NLS EXTERNSHIP PLACEMENTS

Below, are some stories you hear about the Externship placements. Though not myths in all cases but in most cases. My colleagues may have shared some of these with you, bear in mind that this is subjective and wisdom is profitable to direct.

  • I have to get into one of these top chambers, so that I can be retained after law school. True, but not every time. If this is your reason for going to that top chamber, why not have a better perspective like learning the work culture of this firm that makes them top,  gaining relevant skills because for all you know a better opportunity awaits you after law school and these skills will come in handy.

 

  • Some judges and chambers are prepared to work you out. Really!!!? You just have to manage your time properly. No knowledge is a waste.  Remember, “Knowledge empowers”.

 

  • I should get a stipend of 5 million Naira from my chambers after the externship programme. Don’t think it! Don’t say it! Not all law firms pay that stipend. As you said, it’s just a stipend. Max 100,000 Naira.

 

  • I can write jargon in my log book, nobody is gonna read it. Hmm hmm, you’re on the wrong track Bruv! It may have worked for your predecessors but your portfolio assessment may not be detailed like theirs. There’s a saying that: Taiwo and Kehinde (twins) were born on the same day but have different destinies.

 

MY LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTSTOTHEBAR, NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL (NLS) EXTERNSHIP PROGRAMME; NUGGETS FOR SUCCESS.”

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#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘HAVING THE RIGHT CIRCLE IS VERY KEY!’

#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter. 

Name: Ude, Uju

Campus: Enugu (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students

University: Babcock University (First Class); School Dean’s prize as the graduating student with the Highest CGPA in the School of  Law and Security Studies; Vice Chancellor’s Academic Program prize as the Graduating Student with the Highest CGPA, in Law; Babcock University Student’s Association Award for Academic Excellence

About: Uju Ude can be reached at ujuude@gmail.com or udeuju@yahoo.com

UJU UDE IN HER WIG AND GOWN
SOURCE: UJU UDE

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOL

PRE LAW SCHOOL

After the euphoria of graduation, the reality that this was not the end finally hit me. The fact that the law school program was few months away, coupled with the fearful tales I had heard of life at the law school, made my joy only half- full.

I initially wanted to go to the Abuja campus of the Nigerian law school because my friends had told me it was a better option and that Enugu campus did not produce a first class in the previous year; however, when I saw my posting to Enugu, I accepted my fate with mixed feelings. I recall one of my friends asking if I was really sure I wanted to go to Enugu because of the above-mentioned reason and I replied that this was a new year and the fact that there was no first class in the previous year, did not mean the same would be the case during my law school year.

Definitely there was a lot of pressure- the first of such being from myself. I was literally scared of law school because of the stories I had heard about it being very difficult. Asides this, I felt very unprepared! I had heard that if you intend to make a first at the law school, then you must have covered half of the syllabus before law school begins; so I tried reaching this target. Now, what is more laughable than the fact that I barely read up to 10 pages of the law school note I had then, is the fact that the above belief is absolutely false!

LAW SCHOOL

Upon resumption at the Nigerian law school Enugu, my Dad made sure I was as comfortable as possible- now this was something I was scared of as well – reason being that I had heard rumours earlier that if you are too comfortable in law school, you would fail. Well, that’s a big lie! In fact being comfortable in law school would, in my view, help you to focus on what is important, which is learning and excelling at the Nigerian Law School. However, this does not mean that not being as comfortable as you would want is an excuse to be lax!

Right from my first day at the law school, I was determined to make a first class- not because it was a do or die affair, but because that was what I really wanted. Therefore, every concern apart from this was secondary. This is not to say I did not do any other thing apart from reading. I had time to: attend services at the Church (Winners Campus Fellowship, Enugu) and build my relationship with God; gist with friends; and hang out (once in a very long while).

I got the recommended text books before classes began and started forming notes. This is because I intended forming notes for all my courses (in the end, I didn’t follow through with that). Prior to and upon my resumption at the law school, I had also been told that all your notes must be up to date if at all you intend to excel at the law school; now, this assertion is true to a certain extent. I say this because in my view, reading, committing to memory, and writing down key points thereafter would help you remember faster in the exam hall; it would condition your mind as to how you would structure your answers.

UJU UDE AND HER READING PARTNER, PASCAL
SOURCE: UJU UDE

 However, forming notes does not work for all and sundry; the key is finding what best suits you and following through with it. For instance, though I wasn’t able to completely form all my notes for 4 of the courses, I made sure that my Criminal Litigation note was up to date and here’s my reason. During the law school I made use of the Criminal Litigation text book by Mr. J.A. Agaba and because of its bulkiness, I knew it was certainly not a text book I would be able to devote my time to fully during the externship nor the Bar Finals preparatory weeks. Therefore, I made my notes completely in that course during the terms at the law school to save me the stress of reading it over again (except for reference purposes). Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘HAVING THE RIGHT CIRCLE IS VERY KEY!’”