The Law School Curriculum does not reflect today’s legal practice. This is the verdict given by former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olumide Akpata while advocating for a review.
While speaking with journalists, Akpata said the growth of law firms had been limited by false notions.
He called for lawyers to avoid limiting themselves to the saturated dispute resolution.
He also lamented the lack of change in curricula being used in universities and the Nigerian Law School.
He said, “When we get to interview these young lawyers who say they want to join us, the first thing that hits you, even with the one who has first class from law school, is that they don’t have the knowledge to deal with law today. But it’s not their fault. What are they being taught? They have book knowledge; they are following a curriculum that I followed 20 years ago when I entered the University of Benin, how can anybody still be teaching people with that kind of curriculum in today’s world? In 2020, you are not offering Technology Law, there is nothing about commercial awareness to make lawyers understand that they are operators in an economy; that we are the pivot in the economy because all the relationships in the economy are underpinned by legal documentation. That is what we are supposed to be doing.
“But unfortunately, young people who look up to their elders are being told that if you want to succeed in this profession, wear your wig and your gown. So, what is the effect? We are all operating in a small corner called dispute resolution, litigation and we have left the rest.
“The profession is constricted in one corner; meanwhile, we are in the largest economy where today Dangote is building a refinery that should be a lawyer’s delight in other jurisdictions. But how many Nigerian lawyers are involved in the Dangote project? LNNG is on a N10bn project, how many Nigerian law firms are involved? The value of the legal services market is so high but we don’t participate; foreign lawyers do our work.”