Do you have the dream of becoming a lawyer? but don’t know how to go about it or how long law school is? then this article is for you.
Studying Law has been considered one of the most challenging careers to pursue, but here are exciting things you should know about lawyers.
Firstly, you should know that the process of becoming a lawyer varies from country to country depending on their constitution, law school and exam requirements; although everything drives towards restoring peace and security in the society.
What are Law degrees?
Law deals with every area of human rights, international relations and trade. You are expected as a law student to learn how to tackle some problems that seem irresolvable, issues and conflicts in morality and modern societies.
Law degrees are the first step in having a career in the legal sector joined with further study and training that equips one to become a practising barrister or solicitor.
How long is law school?
Answers to this question vary depending on the path a law student chooses to take and the country or state the studying is taking place. The first step in becoming a lawyer starts when obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Some law schools do not require any particular bachelor’s degree at this time. A student wishing to go to law school can take subjects that will prepare the student for law school which includes political science, psychology, history, criminal justice, philosophy, etc.
NB: Many students select a college or university program that can be completed in four to five years as a full-time student.
Once a student completes their bachelor’s degree, the next step is taking the LSAT test and gaining acceptance into a law program.
This process can take up to a year due to study time and available testing dates. But a student can take this process while still earning an undergraduate degree.
The final step of a law degree is in law school. Law school programs take three years. Law school does not permit a student to choose their own pace, unlike undergraduate degree.
Most law schools require their students to complete the law program in three years. Under exceptional circumstances, an extension may be permitted, but that is not a norm.
Having the above factors into account, the shortest path to law school is approximately six years. But if you already earned a bachelor’s degree and consider entering a law school, the time is between three to four years.
How long is Law school in Nigeria?
As noted initially, studying Law differs from country to country; in Nigeria, you will complete an undergraduate degree called the LLB in a Nigerian University (or Foreign University).
And it is a 5-years course, in which the undergraduate curriculum requires law students to study 12 compulsory core law courses:
- Criminal Law
- Nigerian Legal System
- Constitutional Law
- Company Law,
- Law of Torts,
- Contract law
- Commercial Law,
- Law of Equity and Trusts
- Law of Evidence,
- legal methods
- Land law
Having obtained a law undergraduate degree, you are to enrol and undertake the Nigerian Law School Bar Part I programme which teaches students the essential aspects of the Nigerian legal system, which they would not have been exposed to having studied foreign Law in their undergraduate degree.
On the other hand, you enrol at the Nigerian Law School for the Bar Part II programme. The Nigerian Law School trains and educates law graduates in vocational knowledge and practical skills.
This programme is mandatory, and students must obtain at least a Pass degree to complete the programme. The courses are :
- Civil Litigation
- Corporate Law
- Criminal litigation
- Practice, Property Law. Law in Practice (Ethics & Skills).
During your time at the Law School, you are expected to attend three dinners(official) and get practical experience of how the legal system works by completing externships of two periods – in a court and a law firm.
Then all the Bar Part II students must undertake the Bar Finals examination. If successful in the Bar Finals examination, you will be eligible to be “called to the Nigerian Bar”.
The Call to bar ceremony is an official, ceremony where you are presented with your certificate of Call to bar; you are then asked to go to the Supreme Court of Nigeria to be registered as a Legal Practitioner.
Types of Lawyers
There are different types of lawyers who handle cases ranging from criminal cases to giving legal advice and establishing policies for firms. We have:
- Family lawyers
- Labour lawyers
- Real estate lawyers
- Immigration lawyers
- Constitutional lawyers
- Civil litigation lawyers
- Criminal defence lawyers
- Intellectual property lawyers
- Business lawyers
- Tax lawyers
- Malpractice lawyers
- Bankruptcy lawyers
- Environmental lawyers
- Estate planning lawyers etc.
Advantages of Law degree/school
- The degree makes you have the ability to draft legal documents.
- It equips you to understand contemporary politics, business, ethics and sociology.
- You get to know policy theories, case studies and legal matters.
- Law school critical thinking skills in a student.
- Lawyers have prestige and are professional expertise in Law, including command of technical language.
- Most lawyers are known to be wealthy etc.
Disadvantages of law degree:
Cost: Most law schools tuition and expenses are very costly.
Salaries: Some lawyer’s salaries are abysmal compared to the money spent during law school.
Work-life balance: Being a lawyer entails many work activities which in turn affects their lifestyle.
Personal problem: Most lawyers have their own personal problem, which leads to depression and suicide.
Notwithstanding, lawyers have this unique combination of human interest and are provided with intellectual stimulation. So, if you have this particular trait, you should consider going to a law school.
One thing you have to have in mind about law school is that the journey will not be easy but the end result is worth the late night study and practice.
Awesome one, I hope this article answered your question.