By now, many would have known their fate regarding the Bar Final Result, 2014. If you don’t, the results are out lol.
Firstly, congratulations to everyone who passed. Whether its 50k wig and gown you buy ( I have one very corrrrrect supplier – holla for info..) or Ede & Ravenscroft (they have a promo on I think at the moment!) a very big welcome to the Bar -:)
Passing through the Nigerian Law School is an experience and a half – I know. Do we start from the Gen coming on at 6? Should we look at the teaching standards? Or let’s discuss three different text books saying three different things on one topic? The list is endless. The bottom line is thank God you came, you saw and you conquered.
Now, to those who didn’t pass or pass as well as they expected to – this post is for you. Sissy Fola has some small advice for you.
I know you are devastated either at the grade you got or at not passing at all. Believe me, I wouldn’t wish law school again on anyone else a second time round. But you guys know I deal in harsh realities so lets get to it.
If you didnt get what you expected..
The Grading System
For those who don’t know, the Nigerian Law School has the strangest and ‘with profound respect my Lords”, most unfair grading system. Out of the five courses, its your lowest one that becomes your final grade. So, it is categorised into: 1st Class (70), 2.1(60), 2.2 (50)and Pass(40). This means if you got 70 in four subjects but only 40 in one, na Pass be that o. See, the Nigerian Law School needs to significantly adjust their grading system. This is some !@#$^$*. Pardon la french.
I came out with a PASS..
People rarely complain as much if they passed law school with a 2.2. Obviously this is because it still falls under the bracket of second class honours. But, is it the end of the world? Absolutely not.
Sure, it limits your chances significantly of working in the top law magic circle firms but I wouldn’t say they are completely out of reach. I can say hand on heart that I know of at least 4 people who are currently working in top law firms who had PASS from law school. Lets not be naive about it tho -the set up of Nigeria is mostly comprised of “who you know”, but the Grace of God can and does wonders.
So what can you do with a Pass Grade? First have a decent and honest conversation with yourself. I will not sit at my desk and sugar coat this for you so listen up very well.
1.What is your ultimate goal? Do you see yourself doing anything else but practicing?
2. Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? Is the law for you?
3.What options are available aside from practice?
4. What did you get at undergrad/llm? Mitigating circumstances could be accepted for a 2.2 but will it suffice to add a pass on top of that?
Once you have had an honest conversation with yourself you can then consider your options properly.
If you have a 2.1 at Uni or a 2.2 and have LLM, (more workable with merit or above) you can still maneuver yourself a bit. Getting into practice is about packaging. Even with a 2.1 from NLS, packaging is still important. Don’t fall under the assumption that law firms will be queing up to pull you to their firm. There were about 6,000 * students in the last set, so trust me if you had a 2.1, you aren’t the only one. With a Pass, you have a bit more work to do. You need to have confidence or at least be willing to defend that grade. You may even get a bit cocky with it sef. No point moping around, Pass cannot become 2.1 over night. See ehn, theres nothing like remarking ( unless you are VERY persistent, and in that case, imagine if they say something along the lines of
‘Ehnn? Wrong mark? Ok, bring that paper. You’re right o, its an incorrect mark, it’s not even 40, its 38. Oh boy, sorry o, gats resit am next year’.
Shebi e don finish be that? Suck it up and make the best of it. Do not let anyone make you feel like you’re unwanted with your Pass grade. Please, don’t let anyone make you feel that you may as well have not gone to Law school sef. I know people right now who even with their amazing grades aren’t any better off than someone with a Pass. I read a tweet earlier yesterday of someone who finished with a Pass from NLS having had over 60 in three of her subjects and 71 in one. The fourth paper, she had 40..low and behold, she finished with a Pass. The real truth of the matter is the person who finished with 1st class honours and the person who finished with Pass, na Barrister they will call you. Your salaries will just vary.
A career with a Pass from NLS?
So this is a true story sha. A friend from my set applied for a few jobs and wasn’t that lucky in the beginning. She had a 2.1 from a UK uni, LLM and finished NLS with a Pass. Anyway, after much tears and all, she decided to suck it up and went on the job hunt. She had an interview and I told her to give them this ( as a form of encouragement lol)
“everyone knows that law school is negative marking and I am quite sure that it was as a result of Corporate law/Law in practice ( for example loll). My remaining academic achievements are a clear indication that I am a smart individual with the ability to excel as a lawyer”
No I’m serious. This was a line I told my friend to throw when she had an interview with one of these big firms. She even sat their tests and all. Anyway, it didn’t work the first few times, but she got into a medium sized place a few weeks later with a decent salary. And this is one of those situations where it wasn’t a who-you-know thing.
Doing interships is also very helpful. I’m going to talk about this in depth in my next post, but for now, just know that for a good internships at respectable places will boost your CV immensely. If you’re able to go to a firm and show them that you have worked in a few medium/large law firms by way of internship, I am sure they will want to hear what you have to say. As I said, all na packaging. If you finished with a 2.2 and a Pass the same goes for you also. Package yourself well.
If you didnt pass..
Hmm.. well if you didn’t pass, trust me there is no point getting vexed and spending hours going to the admin office demanding to know why. Failing is painful I know. I knew people who failed in my set and it was doing me like I was the affected person. See, the next thing remaining is to suck it up and keep it moving. I knew people who were smarter than many of us in my set who unfortunately didn’t pass. As in, really, it had been concluded that these people cannot fail. Unfortunately, they were given Conditional Pass (meaning they failed one paper)or failed outright. The stigma and shame attached is awful..and we Nigerians, we know how to talk.
” Ehn, you failed law school ke? Ah, sorry o. Meanwhile, my friends daughter had a 2.1 sha..”
It is just the way the cookie has crumbled sadly.
I would advise you to spend your time doing something which will help you long term. There’s no point moping till next years resit paper my darling. If you have registered for NYSC, face that. Use that one year to build up your experience and keep it moving. Keep an eye out for a side hustle (nothing illegal before you people implicate person o ) – something to occupy your time. I won’t lie and say it won’t be a difficult period. So mentally prepare yourself for that. Don’t go and be thinking it’ll be a walk in the park o.
So summary tins :
Suck it up. I am truly sorry if you fall under any of the above categories. If you’re returning for resits, the one year will fly by. But don’t waste your time doing nothing. Focus on NYSC or gain some work experience. If not for anything, to maintain some sanity!
Till our next post, which is slowly looking like Friday, stay beautiful.
*6000, according to a tweet I saw yesterday and some information from a reliable source at law school.