Posted in STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE

#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “BE YOURSELF; BUT BE THE BEST OF YOURSELF”

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

Name: Viola Chimdinma Echebima

Campus: Lagos Campus; The Stephenson Harwood Prize for the Best Graduating Student; Director General’s Prize for First Class Students; Chief Richard Akinjide C.F.R. SAN 2nd Prize in Civil Litigation; Chief T.O.S. Benson CFR SAN 3rd Prize for the Best Student of the Year.

University Attended: University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1st Class Honors; Best Graduating Student, Class of 2016)

About: Viola is an astute lawyer currently serving with the esteemed Banwo and Ighodalo Law Firm. In the formative years of her career, she is interested in self-development and growth. She can be reached at violaechebima@gmail.com .

Viola Echebima in her wig and gown
Source: Viola

HER STORY

Dear Aspirant to the Bar,

From the outset, I must say that there is no one way to success. Nothing is cast in stone. There are diverse ways through which you too can attain this feat without necessarily adopting my patterns and systems. Nevertheless, I will share some key principles which I humbly think if you apply, you too might just be sharing your own success story next year. I will make efforts to interplay my personal experience as I outline the principles.

Enjoy the read:

  • Begin with the End in Mind

This simply means hit the ground running from day one. It entails projection and goal setting sought to be achieved at the end of your 10 months stay at the law school. Trust me, August is not far from you! It will come, it will surely come. In fact, I cannot assure you that the management of the law school will stick to the academic calendar this year. In my time, the Bar exams were moved 2 weeks forward. Yes, I mean forward and trust me they expect you to be ready to sit for the bar exams. No apologies, no explanations!

Beginning with the end in mind will keep you focused. As Jesus Christ told us to fix our gaze on Him, you will have your eyes fixed on the prize. When you are focused, you are able to disengage activities that are no means to your end goal. A reader is probably asking: is she saying I should not engage in other activities? No! In fact, as much as it lies within you try and engage in other extra curricular activities provided you are able to manage your time effectively.

  • Find a pattern that works for you and stick to it!

Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “BE YOURSELF; BUT BE THE BEST OF YOURSELF””

Advertisements
Posted in STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE

#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “NEVER BE TOO SHY OR TOO SMART TO REACH OUT FOR HELP OR GIVE HELP”

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

Name: Vivian Ezepue Chinenye

Campus: Lagos Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students; Second Best Overall Student of the Year Prize; Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, CFR, SAN Prize for the Second Best Student in Professional Ethics; and Sir Darnley Alexander’s Prize for the Best Student in Property Law Practice.

University Attended: University of Lagos (Second Class Upper); Best graduating student in Company Law.

About: Vivian is a lawyer with an entrepreneurial spirit. She is quite passionate about businesses and investments. She enjoys reading, travel and fine dining and can be reached at ezepuevi@gmail.com.

Vivian Ezepue in her Wig and Gown
Source: Vivian Ezepue

The essence of writing my thoughts as I reflect on my law school year, is to provide encouragement for someone who might hopefully connect with my story and to ultimately give God the glory.

I am a Christian girl and my faith defines me. This should give you a heads up about the content of my story since you will see me relate every thread of event to the goodness of God. I got into law school hopeful and like most of my mates, I was determined to finish with a first class. I remember that I had read up most of the articles I found online relating to the Nigerian law school (major shout out to Ekaete Hunter and KacheeTee). I was waiting, eager and could not wait for the session to finally start. I eventually resumed at the Law school on some Monday in November 2016.

Challenges and Lessons

My very first challenge was whether to form notes or not. The classes were really long (averaging about 7-9 hours daily) and the only spare time per say was weekends. Naturally, forming notes while reading is not my style but since I was determined to make it in law school and since most people advised me to, I set about this laborious task. Needless to say, I was frustrated. I prayed and sought more counsel. This time, my elder sister (Ogonna) and Ayodele Kadiri advised me to leverage on my strengths and quit forming notes if it was not working. That was very encouraging advice. It still did not allay all my fears that I might be missing something. One day, I discussed it with my friend and then roommate, Moyo Adekile (beauty and brains) and she shared with me how she divided all the pages of her note books into halves (top to bottom). While the larger half was for class notes, the smaller half was for jottings from personal study and research. (I had absolutely no problems with writing in classes, no matter how long the notes or classes were. That had been my style since undergrad. It was the note forming that was drudgery to me). Voila! I could now actually have a comprehensive note in one book by combining my class notes with jottings, without necessarily having to form new notes in a new book! To me, that was the strongest nut being cracked right there. I thanked her for it and set about my business. All the while being grateful to God.

Lesson: Leverage on your strengths, Share your challenges and frustrations with others.

Vivian Ezepue Chinenye
Source: Vivian

Next was the hostel challenge. I consider myself to be a focused person but I know that I am not entirely immune to distractions. That was exactly what I was going to have deal with by living with 5 other people in a relatively average sized room. We started out with three people in my room and by the week we were to go home for the Christmas break, we had doubled the number. Once again, God came to the rescue. All I kept saying was that there was no way I was going to return to that room after Christmas. I called my sister to let her know I was coming over to her house for the break and interestingly, she told me was not at home. She was on some work engagement and had to be lodged in a hotel for the period. She also invited me to come. That was how I ended up staying with my sister for about 3 months. I was living the life. The hotel was quite close to law school (just around Eko Hotel & Suites). So, I was basically enjoying myself, eating from buffets, enjoying free Wi-Fi, room service, sleeping on a giant-sized bed and just lounging (lol!). Of course, she was going to leave there at some point but I knew God had a plan for me. Along the line, I was elected the deputy leader of my group (my friend, the former deputy had resigned) and the responsibility came with the Executive hostel (for free!). I moved in the same week that my sister had to leave the hotel. Talk about God’s timing! Once again, I was living the life of having only one roommate with the air conditioning and other benefits. All the while being grateful to God.

Lesson: Trust God with ALL your needs.

Next was externship. I got posted to one of the Lagos State High Court Divisions. I would recommend my NLS readers to undertake the externship programme (particularly court) with some seriousness. I did and it really helped. The logbook filling and the practical knowledge I acquired were useful in my personal study. For firm, I was posted to the law firm where I had done prior undergraduate internship. I was just as surprised as I bet you are. Anyway, it was amazing because I made new friends (colleagues and seniors) and most especially, the firm gave me space to study. To be honest, externship was majorly revision as I had read through most of my school work during the session.

Lesson: Pay attention to court proceedings. Make sure to ensure that the law firm you are posted to understand that you need some space to study. Engage them with your school work also.

Last but not the least was the period just before the exams. I was ill for about 2 weeks before the exams. It was terrifying. I cried. I almost lost faith. For those two weeks, I didn’t read bleep. This goes to show that it’s best to be prepared way before time so that even when such challenges come up, you are better prepared to navigate them. Thankfully, God used Efe, a friend of mine (now lecturer at the NLS) to help me weather that storm. He used to read to me and we would talk through some of the courses. This really helped to comfort me during that trying period and thankfully, I recovered and was able to continue studying.

Lesson: We all need to be there for others in their low moments. Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “NEVER BE TOO SHY OR TOO SMART TO REACH OUT FOR HELP OR GIVE HELP””

Posted in STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE

#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘A SUPPORT SYSTEM IS VERY IMPORTANT”.

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

Name: Okesola Aishat Ololade

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

University: University of Lagos (First Class), Best Graduating Student, Faculty of Law

About:I love reading, travelling and writing. I am particularly interested in Taxation, Aviation and Islamic finance. I can be reached at aishahokesola@gmail.com.

Aisha Okesola in her wig and gown
Source: Aisha Okesola

MY LAW SCHOOL EXPERIENCE

I remember when the Law school posting was out and I saw Yenagoa, I was shocked as it wasn’t one of my options. I checked in the midnight and couldn’t sleep again. Alas, Allah had better plans for me! Looking back now, being posted to Yenagoa was awesome; I met amazing people and I got better as a person.

On the whole, the Law School experience was bitter-sweet. There were times I got overwhelmed by the workload and resorted to crying. I fell sick twice during the session. In all, Allah was very merciful to me.

For me, it was First class or First class. Having made a First class in the university, there was the subtle pressure to repeat the feat. Although there is no single formula to excel in the Law School, God’s favour, dedication and hard work are constant factors.

Most importantly, God first. Never let go of your spiritual routine as, ultimately, our fate is decided by God. For the purpose of exams, not all topics are important; so ask God to guide your reading. Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘A SUPPORT SYSTEM IS VERY IMPORTANT”.”

Posted in STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE

#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘DO NOT LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE COVERED AT A PARTICULAR TIME.’

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

Name: Hameedat Tella

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

University: University of Ibadan (Second Class Upper Division)

About: Hameedat Tella is a lawyer with interests in the commercial and corporate sector. She loves history and in her spare time likes to read and shop. She can be reached at hameedattella@yahoo.com.

MY NLS STORY BY HAMEEDAT TELLA

For those expecting a touching story of trials and tribulations with victory at the end, I apologise in advance for disappointing you. My law school experience was pretty ordinary so I would just run through it briefly (I hope) and go on to giving the few tips lil ol’ me would like to share. Some of these tips or shall I say most of it, you would have heard from people who have passed through the system if you asked or you would come across if you follow this series. Do not overlook them; remember, people won’t tell you about them if it didn’t work for them.

I came to the Nigerian Law School with the burden of a 2:1 grade from university on my shoulders. If your parents had a first class expectation from you and you didn’t make it, you would understand the burden I am talking about. As a result of this, I had the aim of dedicating 10 months to NLS. After law school, I can go back to having a life. It didn’t quite happen that way. I’m sure you are well aware of all the scary stories about the stress of law school. Yeah, I heard them too. But when I got to law school and settled into a routine, I realized, it was not that bad. Please note here however that I was at Abuja campus where lectures ended at 1:30 or so soon thereafter and group meetings weren’t taken so seriously (during my time at least). I found that after class, I could rest for a while, pray and go to the library to read for the rest of the day. If I continued this day by day and caught up on weekends for the ones I couldn’t finish during the week, I was fine. For people who are in campuses like Lagos, you might not find it easy to relate.

One other thing I realized about law school, I actually enjoyed going to classes. I could feel the gaps in my knowledge of law from university being filled with each class, most of the lecturers were lively and the classes, interactive. If only we did not have so much to read. First semester flew by, I spent the holiday catching up on reading, sleeping and stuffing myself full. Second semester started on a good note but by week 15, the zeal to read was gone and that for going to classes almost gone. However, you cannot afford to give up at this stage because that is when the most difficult topics for most of the courses are, so I could not afford to give up (at least not totally).

Externship was a difficult period because the reality of bar finals had started to dawn and law school was not looking as easy as it had before. Although lectures had finished and I was not required to learn any new thing but the sheer amount of topics left to master was quite daunting. Chamber externship was doubly difficult because I was unfortunate to be posted to a chamber where I was required to show up before 8 in the morning and close at 6. One mistake I had made during the first and second semester was not learning how to draft. I practiced less than a handful in school and did not have the time to practice a lot during externship as I was still revising. Hence, I didn’t get around to drafting and practicing past questions until third semester when MCQs and Bar Finals were looming. Try not to follow in my footsteps in this respect. With law school, you can never predict what would happen and we learnt the hard way that the unshakeable timetable was just ‘bants’. Our exams were moved backwards by a whole two weeks, I almost lost my mind.

Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘DO NOT LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE COVERED AT A PARTICULAR TIME.’”

Posted in STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE

#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “LAW SCHOOL IS NOT AS BAD, SACRED OR MIGHTY AS PEOPLE THOUGHT”

 

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

Name: Adekoya, Abimbola Motunrayo

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

University: Lagos State University (Second Class Upper)

About: Adekoya Abimbola Motunrayo is from Ogun state. An alumna of Owen Thomas College Alagbado, Lagos and the Lagos State University Ojo. At Lagos State University she served as an Executive of the Christian Law Students Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) and an Exchequer of the Law students Advocacy Association. At the Nigerian Law School Enugu Campus she also served as an Executive of the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria and the group leader of one of the best study groups of her set. Abimbola is passionate about Justice and equality and believes in making a difference in every phase of life. She is an advocate for the rights of the girl child; she is also committed to reviving educational values by providing mentorship opportunities to students and youths who are willing to be agents of change in their community. In her spare time she loves to listen to music, read, talk and think. You can reach out to her at bimbotreezy@gmail.com she is always ready to be of help.

 

Adekoya Bimbo in her wig and gown
SOURCE: Adekoya Bimbo

Before I start with my story which I call my first class testimony I sincerely want to appreciate the pioneer of this vision for coming up with such an innovative concept. I am privileged to be supporting this vision this year because my first class testimony won’t be complete without this blog. I found the articles helpful during my set I’m sure you will too.

I remember when I was preparing for law school (had almost 10 months to prepare) I was eager, so anxious; I just could not wait to go to law school.  I literally asked everyone who finished from law school unscathed about law school. The fear of law school is the beginning of wisdom most people will say. Most of them gave a horrible description of law school, the grading system, failure rate, stress and everything unpleasant. Few of my immediate seniors whom I will describe as fathers of faith told me positive things about law school. Eventually I believed the good report, I wrote down my goals and expectations for law school and I prayed about it  even though it was difficult believing I could achieve my goals because of the fears built in my heart for years by seniors, lecturers and colleagues.  You can choose what to believe. If your belief system can change about law school now it will go a long way at the end if you believe right.

After resumption, I discovered that law school is not as bad, sacred or mighty as people thought. In fact in my opinion it is one of the best learning institutions one can be in Nigeria. It is well structured and organised, you know what to do at any given time and there are unending learning resources available.  The only thing I found challenging was the volume of work we had to do. We had to take in so much within a short time. Some of you may be thinking how do I form my notes, attend lectures, do my pre – class activities and attend group meetings every day. With proper time management, determination and the grace of God you can do all those and still have time to hang out with your friends and even flex. All you need do is to find what works for you and stick to it no matter the circumstance. Not everyone likes to form notes, if what works for you is reading straight from your textbooks that is fine, stick to it. I discovered what works for me early enough and that helped a lot. I formed my notes before every lecture and it was very challenging managing my time because I was involved in extracurricular activities. I was an executive in CLASFON and a study group leader. What helped me was discipline and determination. Most times I’m usually not through with forming my notes during the day so I make sure I do that before going to bed. You can go as far as you want and you can stretch further beyond the state you are in if you are determined. You also need to believe that you can only achieve this through the help of God because it cannot be by your strength or ability.

Bimbo Adekoya
Source: Adekoya Abimbola

Continue reading “#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, “LAW SCHOOL IS NOT AS BAD, SACRED OR MIGHTY AS PEOPLE THOUGHT””