It’s trite and established that the more skilful, distinguished and exceptional you are, the more you will grab opportunities. Hence the need to stand out and be the “unique one”. This is your key to be a successful law student.
In this write-up, I will unleash why standing out is the most crucial key to unlocking your success in law.
The most lucrative law firms in Nigeria usually employ graduates with first-class or second class upper law degrees. And what happens if amidst 500 or more first-class applicants only a handful are needed? Other requirements would come into consideration. Wouldn’t it be desirable for the firm to employ someone with the highest experience in mooting, someone who has several awards in advocacy? And in addition, has written several legal articles and has provided legal solutions to many legal and social problems? Most law firms would likely opt for the “ready-made” law graduate; someone who can easily draft Court processes.
Lawyers are presumed to be good readers. However, it’s not arguable that some lawyers may only read if they have a case in court. By extension, most law students would only read when they have examinations. Being a law student requires you to read on several endeavors of life and various professions. If readers are leaders, then the more you read the more you lead in this noble profession. So read broadly. Your contribution to the development of the profession depends on how informed you are, and how current you keep yourself.
The world is changing technologically. The legal profession can’t afford to lag behind. With new emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, Green technology etc, there would be an increasing need for lawyers that are experienced in technology. To be a cyber lawyer or technology lawyer, you mustn’t be a tech expert. But you need to be technologically sound and updated. To have the opportunity to become one of the best IT lawyers, you need to be more technologically updated than your colleagues and keeping up with the world of technology. Stand out.
A few months back, in a Zoom webinar with the theme: “Maximizing your Law degree”, one of the panellists; John Edozi, while answering a question on the importance of learning a new International language, said if he were young, he would start learning the Chinese language.
This is due to the Chinese involvement in world economic pursuits. China is continuously establishing businesses all over the world, so this will give you the opportunity for your legal services to be hired. Not just Chinese, think broadly outside the box. While every Lawyer (in Nigeria) can speak English, what other local or foreign language can you speak and communicate with effectively? It’s worthy of mention that you could avail yourself of the opportunity to become a legal translator or work with a multi-national organisation.
Exploring Emerging Fields
The pace at which Nigerian lawyers explore emerging fields and provide solutions for age-long legal problems is very slow. Hence the need to develop new practice areas. In the words of Olumide Akpata: “we do not have too many lawyers in Nigeria, we however have too many lawyers practising the same thing and therefore scrambling for very scarce clients and resources.
This is an issue confronting every sector in Nigeria and to stand out as a professional, you will need to diversify, embrace the new emerging markets and strive to build mastery.