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Excerpts from an article titled “So You Want to Be a Lawyer: Career Prospects in the Legal Profession, Skills and Ethics Taught in Nigerian Law School and Expectations of NLS Students and Lecturers” by Sylvester C. Udemezue (Udems ) (a paper presented on 03 December 2021 at the Academic Induction Workshop for New Students in the Nigerian Law School in the 2021/2022 Academic Session]
Career opportunities in the legal profession
Internal legal employment;
Brief writing;
legal education;
Drafting of laws;
Law consultation ;
ADR practice and advice;
Adjudication (judges, judges, magistrates, presidents of courts)
Legal assistance and advice
Company secretarial work / administration
Search help
Legal reports
Legal journalism (legal writers, columnists, legal correspondents, etc. in print, broadcast and new media and publishing houses)
Legal capacity development practice (organization of workshops, seminars, webinars, conferences, etc.)
Legislative drafting;
Legislation (NOTE: Being a legislator is quite different from being a legislative drafter. Only lawyers can be legislative drafters. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a lawyer to be a legislator, although lawyers can be legislators and even make better legislators if they have the required skills)
Law publication/blogging
Military and para-military careers
Development and consulting in ICT resources and support
Education (legal education; establishment of schools for teaching/training in legal courses, skills, values ​​and ethics)
Skills needed to excel in the legal profession
communication skills
Advocacy skills
Interpreting skills
Legal writing skills (includes all manners of writing laws: writing briefs, letters, agreements, articles, books, documents, legal opinions, memoranda, reports, etc. )
Legal writing skills
Management skills
Judgment writing skills
Secretarial administration skills
Reading skills
Techniques of conducting an interview
legal profession
Analytical skills
Logical reasoning skills
Report writing skills
Legal reporting skills
ICT skills
Interpersonal skills
Teamwork skills
Time management skills
Creative problem-solving skills;
Organizational skills (ability to prioritize and stay focused among competing priorities)
Resilience and self-confidence skills
Skills for attention to detail
Business Awareness Skills (includes making deliberate and consistent efforts and taking action to constantly stay abreast of current developments in the local, national and global space in the field/profession, especially issues that may have a impact on a law firm and/or its clients)
Legal ethics and observation skills – Ethics itself is not necessarily a legal skill, but the ability to observe legal ethics and values ​​requires cultivating certain habits/skills. Furthermore, success in any of the aforementioned legal careers depends not only on sufficient possession of the required knowledge and skills, but also and above all on the practitioner’s willingness and ability to diligently imbibe and faithfully observe the ethics and values ​​of the legal profession and its area of ​​specialization. The truth is that the law floats in a sea of ​​ethics. Perhaps that’s why Kilroy J. Oldster said, “Any lawyer with a conscience always speaks the truth. A lawyer can and must practice law scrupulously…”. Laws and principles are not just for times when there is no temptation; they are also for those moments when body and soul revolt against laws, ethics and principles. If at one’s convenience, one could violate laws and ethical principles, then what would they be worth? “Ethics is doing more than the law requires and less than the law allows,” says Michael Josephson. Potter Stewart puts it this way: “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do”. American author and philosopher Aldo Leopold once said “Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching – [and] even when doing the wrong thing is legal. Generally, adherence to legal ethics is not a matter of choice or convenience, but a primary obligation; being a good lawyer is inseparable from being an ethical lawyer. More often than not, ethical dilemmas arise when, in the practice of our profession, we find ourselves in situations or circumstances that conflict with our personal values ​​(beliefs) and legal ethics. It must be said here that no one needs respect for ethics and professional values ​​more than law professors. Professional ethics are like a guide that helps the teacher to provide quality education and instill good values ​​in learners. … It also helps teachers understand their teaching profession. Their role is not only to become supreme and authoritative in front of their students and colleagues (See: Dr. R. Joshi Some of the main purposes of ethics and values ​​in legal/law education are to stimulate ethical reflection, awareness, responsibility and compassion, to provide insight into important ethical principles and values, and to equip a individual of key cognitive and non-cognitive (moral) knowledge. intellectual abilities (See: Michael Peters
During the lectures and interactive sessions of the Professional Ethics and Skills module;
During the interactive sessions in each of the other four modules;
During mentorship sessions and other formal interactions between speakers and aspirants to the bar;
During special lectures, given to law school students from time to time, as part of their program at the NLS;
During the portfolio assessment;
During the externship program (in courts and law firms)
During mock and mock trials and training sessions;
Through personal efforts and personal development;
Through Consistent Practice – Whatever you have to learn to do, you learn faster by actually doing it. For ethics, etc., see also the following:
An Assessment of Legal Ethics and Proper Conduct of Lawyers in Nigeria” by SC Udemezue. (2021) Vol. 21, No. 17, June 3, 2021, Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility eJournal. accessed on December 03, 2021
“Contemporary Training in the Nigerian Law School: An Insider’s Account” by SC Udemezue. accessed December 3, 2021
“The Nigerian Law School Curriculum is not ‘self-taught’ but teacher-taught, teacher-led in accordance with contemporary standards and international best practice” by SC Udemezue consulted on December 03, 2021.
How Young Lawyers Can Survive And Thrive” By SC Udemezue accessed December 3, 2021
“Tips for Academic Excellence (to help you excel on final bar exams)” by SC Udemezue consulted on December 03, 2021.
NOTE: There are many other career opportunities for lawyers, but not necessarily within the legal profession. Examples abound of so many other things lawyers can and do do very effectively. Let us take as examples, politics, other business or commerce; manufacturing, etc There is a difference between “Career Opportunities in the Legal Profession” and “Career Opportunities for Lawyers”. Sometimes the dividing line is thin as some careers seem hard to categorize. However, an easy way to distinguish the two classes is to note that the last opportunity class appears much broader than the first, in that the second includes all careers within the first and much more outside that. -this. But it is the first class that primarily requires professional legal skills to achieve excellence, although some of these legal/legal skills may be essential to excellence even when a lawyer begins a career well outside the profession. legal/legal. For example, a political lawyer needs, among other things, certain legal skills to be successful even in politics (communication, interpersonal relations, teamwork, organization, time management, creative problem solving, resilience and confidence skills per se, skills for Attention to Detail, Business Awareness, Respect for Ethics, among others)
The main document, which deals with these points in detail, will be published shortly.

By: Sylvester Udemezue
Udemezue wrote from the Nigerian Law School.