It is interesting that you might have chosen this career path to live on debates and the law for the rest of your life. Your decision might have been influenced by families and friends or discovering your passion for justice, law and debates. You most probably, have imagined yourself in a lawyer’s robe and wig telling the judge “My Lord, may I?”.
That is a great way to start a show-off of your passion and ambition, but it does not end there. You must move on to make the necessary requirements so you do not get trapped in the process. This is why our writers have carefully curated this article to guide you through.
This article contains the entire process of becoming a Lawyer in Nigeria, right from UTME to the Bar. It takes seven (7) years for UTME candidates and six (6) years for Direct Entry candidates to become lawyers in Nigeria. The first five (5) or four (4) years, depending on your mode of entry is spent studying law in an accredited Faculty of Law in any of the Nigerian universities. The following one (1) year is meant for you to continue studies in any of the six Law schools in Nigeria and the last year is for your mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Programme.
If you are over thirty years of age at the time of leaving Law School, you would usually be exempted from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Programme and would get a Letter of Exemption instead.
O’level (WAEC/NECO) and UTME Requirements to Study Law
To avoid issues during your school’s screening, it is important that the subjects you enrol for during your O’level and UTME registration tallies with the requirement of your Institution of Choice. If it does not, you might end up forfeiting your provisional admission. Kindly take note of the requirement as follows:
UTME Requirements to Study Law in Nigeria
It is important to combine the Use of English, Government, Literature-in-English and any other social science subject (e.g Commerce, Economics, C.R.K). Having a very high UTME score boosts your chances of being granted admission. If you have below 180 though, you can consider switching to a College of Education, a Polytechnic or a Paralegal Institute.
O’Level Requirements to Study Law in Nigeria
You must have at least five (5) Credit passes either in WAEC or NECO, including English Language, Literature-in-English, Government, Islamic Religious Knowledge/ Christian Religious Knowledge and Mathematics.
Direct Entry Requirements to Study Law in Nigeria
You must have Two ‘A’ level passes in Social science or Arts subjects OR a National Certificate in Education/ National Diploma (ND)/ First degree (Second class lower) in relevant areas.
What Happens After Being Admitted to Study Law in a Nigerian University?
After getting accepted into any of the Nigerian universities with accredited Law faculties, you begin your journey as an undergraduate Law student. The undergraduate curriculum mandates you as a Law student to study twelve (12) core law courses which are:
• Legal Methods
• Nigeria Legal System
• The Law of Torts
• Law of Equity and Trust
• Contract Law
• Law of Evidence
• Constitutional Law
• Land Law
• Criminal Law
• Commercial Law
• Constitutional Law
Although there are other relevant courses you must pass, the courses listed above are the core law courses you must pass to be able to earn an LLB which also means a “Bachelor of Law” certificate. LLB came from the Latin name “Legum Baccalaureus” where Legum means Law and Baccalaureus means Bachelor’s degree.
What Happens After Graduating from the Law Faculty?
You usually earn your LLB from a Nigerian University after completing your Bar Part I Programme. Next, you should enrol in any of the six law schools in Nigeria for your Bar Part II Programme. This is to help you get vocational and practical experiences. All the courses in this programme are compulsory and students must at least earn a pass in all of them to complete the programme. These courses include:
• Civil Litigation
• Corporate Law and Practice
• Property Law
• Criminal Litigation
• Law in Practice (Ethics and skills)
While in Law School, you are expected to attend three (3) dinners to get practical experience on how the legal system works by completing two (2) periods of externships (in a law firm and in a court).
After all of these mentioned above, then the Bar Finals examination is scheduled and written. Students who pass the exam successfully then proceed to be called to the Nigerian Bar.
Note: If you studied Law in a foreign university with the intent of working as a lawyer in Nigeria, you have to go through the Bar Part I Programme. This is to teach you the important aspect of the Nigerian legal system.
What Happens After Law School?
Here comes the last one, the Call to Bar ceremony. This is the official ceremony where the certificate of your being called to the Bar is presented to you after which you registered at the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the Roll of Legal Practitioners which is maintained by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“Congratulations on your becoming a Lawyer”, this is what you start to hear next.
Things you must Know as a Potential Law student
Wearing a black robe and a wig to celebrate your finally becoming a lawyer is a very pleasant sight to behold but before you get there, you must know it is not an easy process. It is important that you know some things that are peculiar to Nigerian Law Students before you begin to tread the career path of law.
We do not intend to scare you with these things, but we feel it is imperative that you know about them. Here are some important things you should know:
1. Get ready to spend money: Spending money in the sense that, Law books are expensive and you would be needing a lot of them. So, be prepared to spend money.
2. Prepare enough white and black outfits: I know this point brought back childhood memories where you engaged in choreographies wearing your white and black outfit with cool white socks and gloves, yes, I know you remember. The accepted dress code at Law Faculties in universities all over Nigeria is to dress corporately in a white and black outfit.
3. You will need that Perseverance Quality: Being a Law student comes with lots of frustrating moments, moments you would want to give up but when you remember your sponsors and your dream of becoming a Lawyer, you would keep pushing. Even the voluminous books you have to read to get good grades might almost frustrate you.
What about the popular ASUU strike? Especially if your prospective school is a Public University. Most law students end up spending eight to ten years in school because of the strike actions by members of staff. So, prepare yourself for the worst.
4. Prepare your mind ahead for Law School Intensity: Law school is the final lap for the race of being a Lawyer. It is a one-year program and it is compulsory for law students aspiring to be a lawyer, I know you are wondering why any law students won’t want to be a Lawyer. The truth is that, after spending probably a few years as a law student, some leave because they feel it is not for them, and some might change their course of study because of low grades. This is why it is important to put in your best in everything because that you did your best while in the university study law, it doesn’t guarantee you good grades in Law School. Without getting good grades in Law School, there is no graduation. After Law School, students who pass then have their Call to Bar.
Some Nigerian Universities with Law Faculties
• University of Ibadan, Oyo State
• University of Benin, Edo State
• University of Lagos, Lagos State
• Babcock University
• Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State
• Covenant University
• Afe Babalola University
• Ekiti State University
• The University of Abuja,
• The University of Calabar, Cross-River State
• Lagos State University
• University of Ilorin, Kwara State
• Abia State University
• Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna State
• University of Nigeria, Enugu State
• Ambrose Alli University, Edo State
• Delta State University
Law Schools in Nigeria & their Locations
• Abuja Law School
This school is located at Bwari, Garki, Abuja.
• Lagos Law School
This school is located at Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos State.
• Enugu Law School
This school is located in Agbani, Enugu State.
• Kano Law School
This school is located along Jos Road, Kano State.
• Bayelsa Law School
This school is located at Agudama-Epie, an outskirt of Yenagoa.
• Yola Law School
This school is located at Wuro Hausa, Yola.
The school fees for any Law School in Nigeria is about three hundred thousand naira (N300,000) to three hundred and fifty thousand naira (350,000).
Final Words on Studying Law in Nigeria
Asides from Law, studying in Nigeria is stressful except your school is a private university. In fact, studying in a Nigerian University is one of the promising ways to lose weight.
You should stay focused and prepare your mind for the task ahead. Also, take note of the precautions and requirements we have provided in this article to guide you. It would save you lots of stress and money.
Good luck with becoming a lawyer. If you got questions, use the comment box below and I would take my time to give you a befitting response.
Thank you for reading!