Aug 6, 2019

Preparing the next generation of lawyers: Contents, Training and Practice

The Nigerian Legal System operates a common law system as opposed to civil law. It is similar to other Commonwealth countries like Australia, South Africa, Canada and so on. To become a lawyer in Nigeria, the individual must scale through different hurdles.
The individual must first complete an undergraduate degree called the LLB in a Nigerian or Foreign University. The undergraduate curriculum comprises twelve compulsory core courses which the individual is required to pass. Some of those core courses include, Nigerian Legal System, Company Law, Constitutional Law, Law of Evidence, Criminal Law, Law of Torts and so on. The contents of these courses of study must be approved by the Council of Legal Education.

The next step is to enroll at the Nigerian Law School Bar Part II programme which is run by the Council of Legal Education. The Nigerian Law School is responsible for the education and training of law graduate in vocational knowledge and practical skills. All courses in the Nigerian Law School are compulsory and students must obtain at least a pass degree to complete the programme. Some of the courses are Criminal Litigation, Civil Procedure, Property Law, Corporate Law and Practice and Law in Practice (Ethics and Skills).

Students are also required to complete two period of Court and Law firm externship for a duration of three months in order to gain practical experience of how the legal system works.

There are myriad of problems faced with the contents, training and practice of lawyers in Nigeria. It must be noted that what is obtainable in universities and law school is usually very different from what is obtainable in practice. The curriculum used in training the present generation of lawyers is very conservative. Attentions are not paid to emerging areas of law. In contrast with other jurisdictions, faculties of law have the inherent power to introduce courses that reflects societal changes. Many of the lecturers stick to note dictating as opposed to projecting lectures. Although, the Nigerian Law school is changing the manner in which law is taught through PowerPoint presentations, this could still be improved. There is no real practice of what is being taught. As a matter of fact, the externship period is usually a time to prepare and study for the upcoming examinations which is not supposed to be so. Thus, we are just robots who take in information and bring them out. A natural consequence of this is that the average Nigerian law graduate is not globally competitive in an evolving legal practice.

The various questions that come to mind are; is the training received at the Nigerian law school sufficient? How can the Council of Legal Education raise the bar in ensuring that the next generation of lawyers would be adequately equipped?

The various issues and challenges of preventing trafficking and the way forward would be discussed at the Plenary Session of the NBA Annual General Conference scheduled to hold on;

Date: Tuesday, 27th August 2019

Time:  11.00 – 12.30

Venue: Orchid, Eko Hotel


Moderator: A.B Mahmoud SAN

Panelists:  J.U.K Igwe SAN

                    Prof C. Agomo

                    Prof. Isa Chiroma (Director General, Nigerian Law School)

                    Gloria Ballason