10 Facts to Know about the Nigerian Law School
Updated: Jul 7, 2019
Look at you. You are all prepared and glad to be trudging off to law school but just how much do you know about the Nigerian law school?
Being a graduate of law from any of the Nigerian universities does not mean that you know all the facts. Sure, you may be able to reel out all the cases you have studied but probably not all the interesting facts about the Nigerian law school.
On the other hand, you may not really be concerned with the Nigerian legal system but you are all about learning, smashing trivia high scores or just showing off at the next cocktail party you attend. Whatever be the case, this is your stop for some interesting facts about the law school in Nigeria.
1. Established in 1962
The Nigerian Law School was set up in 1962 and had its headquarters in Lagos. However, after the country’s capital was moved to Abuja, the Abuja Law School became the headquarters in 1997.
2. 6 Law Schools in Nigeria
There are six (6) law school campuses in Nigeria, all of which have churned out at least 70,000 graduates. With the Abuja Law School (Bwari) being the heart, the other campuses are located in Adamawa, Bayelsa, Kano, Enugu and Lagos states.
Now, let’s get to the more interesting stuff…
3. Only Means to Practice Law in Nigeria
You cannot become a legal practitioner in Nigeria without graduating from law school and passing the Bar exam. It does not matter what prestigious university you may have graduated from. In fact, you may have studied law abroad but you would still have to graduate with at least, a ‘pass’ to qualify for the honour of being a practicing lawyer in Nigeria.
4. Not the only Means to a Legal Career
It is not all lawyers that have to go to law school. It may seem like a contradiction with the fact above and considering the teeming number of lawyers that get called to the Bar, it is easy to assume that all lawyers have to attend law school but that it is not so. Only those who want to become barristers have to pass through law school. In other words, if you don’t want to stand in court to defend anyone then you should definitely skip it and get on with your life. Wondering what other career paths in law are open to you? You could always become a court reporter, human rights advocate, legal assistant, data analyst etc.
5. Before 1962, Nigerian Lawyers were Called to the English Bar
Since the law school was established in 1962, does that mean we didn’t have indigenous lawyers before then? Not exactly. Nigerian law graduates used to receive their training in England, where they were called to the English bar. Yes, that was one of the dividends of being a colony but now, our graduates stay put right here and get called to the Nigeria Bar instead. That must be a bummer for most of the contemporary lawyers but oh well…
6. Law School IS Stressful
The Nigeria Law School is stressful and that is just an understatement. This is not to scare you but if you do not take proper care of yourself, you may end up in poor health. Students most times have to sit for hours on end when attending a lecture and it is one endless cycle of studying, even when you are away at externship (which is when you get hands-on experience at a court of law; practically an internship) because that is when you prepare for the Bar Exam.
This is why you need to have a healthy work-life balance. To take the edge off, students of law school are advised to cultivate healthy relationships and network with their peers. Your environment plays a huge role and that's why at Yorvik Residence our facilities are well designed to ensure that students have a comfortable life to enable them focus on their studies.
Scoot in here for a quick tip: Beyond helping you cope with the incessant studying, making the right connections can help you land a job later on. One look at the saturated legal labour market and you will see the wisdom in this!
7. Nigerian Law School can be Pricey
The path to becoming a legal practitioner is laced with numerous expenses, from the humungous tuition fee- which could go as high as N290,000 for tuition alone- to the expensive books that you will probably use just once. Of course, there is also the issue of accommodation at the Abuja Law School. Most times, the law students find the accommodation abominable so it is probably best that you get your own law school apartment.
8. Law School will Teach you how to Eat
There is a course at Law School called ‘Dinner Etiquette’. It is weird, right? Apparently, if you are going to be a lawyer then the Nigerian Bar does not want you to embarrass it by some faux pas at the table. We can’t have that now, can we? Anyway, you can see the full list of courses offered at the Nigerian Law School here.
9. "First Class" and "Law School" are not Synonymous
In 2018, out of the 5,846 candidates that sat for the Nigerian Bar Final Examination, 161 bagged a first class (about 3%). Perhaps you may think this is a relatively low number but then, be ready for a shocker: this is the highest ever recorded in the Nigerian Law School’s history! According to Premium Times, the year before, there had been only 29 first class graduates out of over 4,000 candidates. If you are considering a future in law, it may look like a cutthroat environment but don’t fret; it will get better as the years go by…hopefully.
10. Law school saps the fun out of becoming a lawyer
For most people who wanted to start careers in law, the thrill probably came from being on the debate team and dropping ‘point’ after ‘point’ like a lyricist. Then, it was fun to hear the excitement ripple through the audience in applause and cheering but when you are in the Nigerian Law School, most of that goes away. It would take undying passion to make it through with impressive results and still enjoy the profession.
And that’s a wrap, folks! If you are a law student then now you know what the Nigerian Law School has up its sleeve and if you are simply connoisseur of knowledge then you have a few party tricks to delight a room full of people.