How to become a lawyer in Nigeria

Law is one of the most respected and revered careers in the world and is among the most dignified professions in Nigeria. It is an intellectually challenging career choice, and they play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law, defending the rights of citizens, and promoting justice.

For most of us, becoming lawyers was part of our childhood dreams. If it is still a dream of yours to become a lawyer, then you are at the right place as I will outline all you need to know about becoming a lawyer in Nigeria. 

Who is a lawyer? 

A lawyer is a professional who is trained and licensed to practice law. Lawyers may offer advice about the law or represent others in legal matters. The duties of a lawyer involve upholding and observing the rule of law, promoting and fostering justice, and maintaining a high standard of professional conduct, among others. 

How to become a lawyer in Nigeria

1. Complete O’level

Graduating from secondary is a prerequisite for almost all careers in Nigeria and is the same for law. To become a lawyer, you need to offer art courses in your secondary school, write and pass your WASSCE with credits in at least five subjects, and score at least 200 in JAMB. For a better chance to get into your preferred university, aim for a score of at least 280.

2. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in Law

After secondary school, the next step in your journey towards becoming a lawyer is to obtain a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree. It is a five-year course where you will study 12 compulsory core law courses including Commercial Law, Company Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Contract Law, Legal Methods, Nigerian Legal System, Land Law, Law of Torts, Law of Equity and Trusts, Law of Evidence, and Jurisprudence. The LLB can be obtained in universities in Nigeria and abroad. 

3. Enrol at the Nigerian law school

After completing your LLB, the next step is to enrol in a Nigerian Law School for a year or two. There are two programs: the Nigerian Law School Bar Part I Programme and the Nigerian Law School Bar Part II Program. 

The part I program is for graduates of a foreign law school and is devised to equip them with the knowledge of the Nigerian legal system which they were not exposed to in the country they studied in. If you obtained your LLB in Nigeria, then you will not have to go through this program.

The Part II program is for all aspiring lawyers in Nigeria, both local and foreign-trained. Foreign-trained doctors will have to complete part I and then part II. In this program, law graduates are trained in vocational knowledge and practical skills. Students are taught compulsory courses that they must pass to become lawyers which include Criminal Litigation, Corporate Law and Practice, Civil Litigation, Property Law and Law in Practice (Ethics and Skills). 

Law school is designed to equip aspiring lawyers with practical knowledge of the field. For this reason, you will be expected to complete 2 periods of externship in a law court and a law firm. 

Recommended: Top law firms in Nigeria

4. Write the bar exam

After the Bar Part II Programme, successful candidates will have to write and pass the Bar Finals examination. Writing and passing this exam is essential for you to become a lawyer in Nigeria, so you must prepare adequately for it. 

5. Call to bar ceremony

The final step to becoming a lawyer in Nigeria is the Call to bar ceremony, which is a formal ceremony where you will be presented with your certificate and given a license to practice in Nigeria. After the ceremony, you will be required to go to the Supreme Court of Nigeria and enrol your name in the Roll of Legal Practitioners. 

Conclusion 

To become a lawyer in Nigeria, you must lay down a good foundation and be academically excellent from your secondary school and throughout university and law school. It requires a lot of hard work, but after your efforts pay off when you finally become a well-respected lawyer, everything will be worth it. By following the guide in this article, you can truly become the lawyer you have always dreamed of. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much are lawyers paid in Nigeria? 

For all the glamour of the career, lawyers are paid quite low. According to my salary scale, lawyers earn an average of N93,000 per month. 

Is law a lucrative career in Nigeria? 

Law is a lucrative career choice in Nigeria because there are several ways a lawyer can earn money. Lawyers could be working for a law firm and still take up cases for individuals. There are various avenues to earn money as a lawyer as you are resourceful enough to find them. 

Can foreign-trained lawyers practice in Nigeria?

Yes, foreign-trained lawyers can practice in Nigeria, but they will have to attend the Nigerian Law school and take part in both Part I and Part II programs, and pass the Nigerian Bar exams. This will take an additional two years or more. 

How long does it take to become a lawyer in Nigeria?

It takes about 6 years to become a lawyer in Nigeria. Five years is for obtaining your LLB, and then an additional one year in law school. Foreign-trained lawyers will spend one more year in the Part I program. 

Becoming a lawyer usually takes more than 6 years in Nigeria due to the content strikes by government universities and other unavoidable circumstances. 

Are there any age restrictions to become a lawyer?

There are no age restrictions to becoming a lawyer in Nigeria. No matter how old you are, you can always pursue your dream of becoming a lawyer, as long as you are willing to put in the work. 

How much is the tuition for a Nigerian law school? 

The Nigerian law school costs around N300,000.

What is the difference between an attorney and a lawyer? 

The difference between them is slight but significant. All attorneys are lawyers but not all lawyers are attorneys. An attorney is a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in their area of jurisdiction. Someone who has passed the bar exam is considered a lawyer, but may still not be licensed to practice. 

What is the difference between a lawyer and a barrister? 

Lawyer is an umbrella term to describe legal practitioners and they may give legal advice and represent clients in lower courts. Barristers have a higher position than lawyers as they usually represent clients in higher courts.

Can I practice law without attending the Nigerian Law School?

No, attending the Nigerian Law School is compulsory if you want to become a lawyer in Nigeria. 

Don't miss a thing. Follow us on Telegram and Follow us on WhatsApp. If you love videos then also Subscribe to our YouTube ChannelWe are on Twitter as MakeMoneyDotNG.

Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa is a content writer with MakeMoney.ng. She writes predominantly on topics related to education, technology and business. She is an English language major.

Articles: 55