How To Become A Lawyer In Nigeria

Law programme in Nigeria is among many other programmes that take a minimum of seven years to qualify. Yes I mean seven years when you factor in one year of National Service and another one year for Law School, and this is after five years in the University. It can also spill over to eight or ten years if there is a prolong strike by universities in Nigeria or Failure in Law School and other unforeseen factors.

However, The legal profession is one of the most revered professions in Nigeria. Parents want their wards to study to become lawyers so they can offer legal services to their business enterprises.

Law in Nigeria is an old age rewarding profession. You have to make your mark in the luminary environment with many successful cases to your belt before things will start to look promising for you. Although there are few exceptions, smart and street lawyers who focus on conventional areas like charge and bail, real estate and the likes can create a reasonable life for themselves. If you are attached to a chamber as a junior lawyer, most often your monthly pay will depend on number of cases you brought in that month. It takes years to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) which might give you that added advantage in your career success.

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The Nigerian Legal system runs a common law system, centred on the old English common Law. Our legal system is similar to those of other Commonwealth countries like Australia, South Africa, Canada etc.

According to, the following steps will guide you towards becoming a lawyer in Nigeria;

  • Step 1 – Complete an undergraduate degree called the LLB in a Nigerian University (or Foreign University). In Nigeria, this is a 5-year course, the undergraduate curriculum requires law students to study 12 compulsory core law courses- Legal Methods, Nigerian Legal System, Contract Law, Constitutional Law, Company Law, Law of Torts, Commercial Law, Law of Equity and Trusts, Criminal Law, Land Law, Law of Evidence, and Jurisprudence.

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*Students who have obtained their undergraduate degree from a Nigerian university should jump to step 3*

  • Step 2 – Enrol at the Nigerian Law School Bar Part I programme. As your undergraduate degree is from a foreign university, you will be required to undertake the Bar Part 1 programme which teaches students the important aspects of the Nigerian legal system, which they would not have been exposed to.
  • Step 3 – Enrol at the Nigerian Law School for the Bar Part II programme. The Nigerian Law School educates and trains law graduates in vocational knowledge and practical skills. All courses in the Bar Part II programme are compulsory and students must obtain at least a Pass degree in all of them to complete the programme. The courses are Criminal Litigation, Civil Litigation, Corporate Law & Practice, Property Law and Law in Practice (Ethics & Skills).
  • Step 4 – During your time at the Law School, you are expected to attend 3 dinners (yup, dinners…but they are done in the afternoon, weird!), and to also get practical experience of how the legal system works by completing 2 periods of externships- in a law firm and in a court.

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  • Step 5 – All Bar Part II students must undertake the Bar Finals examination. Students who are successful in the Bar Finals examination will then be eligible to be ‘called to the Nigerian Bar
  • Step 6 – Final step! The Call to bar ceremony, this is the official ceremony where you are presented with your certificate of call to bar, and then you are asked to go to the Supreme Court of Nigeria to be enrolled in the Roll of Legal Practitioners which is maintained by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

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