Presentation on theme: "A FTER L AW S CHOOL, W HAT N EXT ? Dapo Akinosun."— Presentation transcript:
A FTER L AW S CHOOL, W HAT N EXT ? Dapo Akinosun
D O YOU HAVE A CLEAR CAREER PATH ? G ETTING CLEAR CAREER PATH TO C HOOSING ONE, T AKES T IME, E FFORT AND A LOT OF S OUL S EARCHING.
W AY F ORWARD ? It all starts with a long step out! Pls note: The length of your leg is irrelevant in making a long step out.
T ALK TO YOUR M ENTOR OR A P RACTICING L AWYER For a young lawyer who, from onset, had a clear understanding of his/her career path, talking to your mentor or practicing lawyer is an added advantage. As young lawyer with no clear understanding of your career path, you may need to speak with your mentor or a practicing lawyer. This is highly essential because such persons already have the requisite exposure and experience to advise and guide you.
W HAT D O Y OU R EALLY W ANT ? Having sought the requisite advice, the decision is yours to take. As a young lawyer, your underlying motive to study law will, more often than not, inform any of the following career options. A Trial Lawyer? A Career at the Bench? An In-house Solicitor?
T RIAL L AWYER ? Trial lawyers represent Clients involved in litigation (Civil or Criminal). Sole Practitioner vs. Firm of Solicitors? As young lawyer (whether or not litigation inclined), it is advisable not to start-up as sole practitioner (i.e One- man firm). Although, a sole practitioner takes a lion share of the profit, the demerits far exceed the merits. As young lawyer, starting up as sole practitioner is unadvisable for the following reasons:
Limited start-up capital No litigation experience Limited clientele base Limited research materials, etc As young lawyer, rather than start up as sole practitioner, it is prudent to join a firm of Solicitors (i.e. a law firm) where you can acquire the necessary experience and exposure to be a successful trial lawyer.
F INDING A C ORE L ITIGATION F IRM As young lawyer, joining a law firm isn’t as vital as finding a core litigation firm. Depending on your area of expertise, finding and joining a core litigation firm is key to becoming a successful trial lawyer. How do you find one? Online resources e.g google search, firms’ websites etc. Other materials e.g Who’s Who Legal, Law publications etc. Whilst searching for law firms, look out for firms’ practice areas before taking any decision whatsoever. Some of these practice areas are:
Public Sector and Regulatory; Private Equity & Venture Capital; Competition; Projects: Infrastructure Development and Project Finance; Banking & Finance; Securities and Capital Market; Corporate Advisory & Taxation; Foreign Investment & International Finance; Aviation and Maritime; Intellectual Property & ICT; and Real Estate e.t.c.
N OW Y OU A RE I N, W HAT N EXT ? Having joined a core firm of your choice, familiarize yourself with and respect the internal policy and ethics of the firm. Understand and adopt the writing style of the firm e.g pick-up and read letters/memos, court processes etc prepared by the firm. Exposure to preparation of documents e.g. memos, agreements, court processes etc. Court processes: Preparation of court applications (contentious and non-contentious applications).
As young lawyer, accompany other senior colleagues to court to understand the language of court and also boost your confidence. Gradually begin to address the court by taking non- contentious applications (e.g motion to regularize court processes); ex parte applications (e.g motion for substituted service etc). Consistency enhances your advocacy skill and confidence. Engage in self-assessment to determine your performance level. Thereafter, begin to take contentious applications in court. When a matter comes up for trial, humbly request to attend and participate in the trial. E.g. As young lawyer, your assistance is vital and will be required, for instance, in collating exhibits to be tendered in court.
With determination, continue with the learning process until you are able to unilaterally and sufficiently conduct trial. Although your first trial experience may certainly not be the best, nonetheless, persist until you are the best in town. Nothing good, comes easy!
T HE B ENCH ? A career at the bench (magistrate or high court judge) is another viable option open to young lawyers. Developing a passion for the bench entails a lot. Develop a core litigation skill. This may be facilitated, arguably, by practicing in good law firm. You may decide to work with Ministry of Justice and then rise through the ranks to becoming a Magistrate or Judge. As young lawyer, working in good firm ‘may’ provide greater exposure, concentration and understanding than working in Ministry of Justice.
I N -H OUSE C OUNSEL ? In-house counsel works as legal practitioner in company or government’s legal department. For instance, Section 294 (b) of CAMA, 2004 requires the company secretary in a public limited liability company to be a Legal Practitioner amongst other classes of persons. His/her work schedule is usually dictated by the employer. The role of a in-house counsel ranges from preparing/drafting of agreements/memos/letters to secretariat duties e.g. setting up meetings, drawing-up meeting agenda, taking/preparation of minute of meetings etc.
In-house Counsel may also be required to officially represent the Company in meetings, seminars, court actions and functions generally. In-house Counsel do not need to engage in client development in quite the same manner as law firms and private practitioners. Please note that the litigation exposure and experience of in-house counsel is very limited. Choose wisely.
P ERSONAL D EVELOPMENT P LAN Enhance yourself by taking further steps in your career path. As young lawyer, it is advisable to, if possible, undertake Masters (LLM) programme in your choice University; take-up arbitration programme etc. It guides you in taking far-reaching decision regarding area(s) of specialization. Build your personal legal arsenal and library. The weapon of our legal warfare is intellectual! Cultivate a reading pattern and habit. Strive to add to your knowledge. Knowledge, they say, is power.
O THER C AREER P ATHS Law Books Publisher: A potential and love for research and writing of law books may lead you to legal publishing. It brings you up to date on developments in the profession. It also enhances your research/writing skills and understanding of the law. Academia: As young lawyer preferably with LLM and the passion and ability to impact knowledge, you may opt to be a teacher, lecturer or tutor in a law college. It broadens your knowledge of law. Public Interest Lawyer : As a young lawyer, your knowledge and experience of law will greatly assist you in becoming a successful public interest lawyer. As public interest lawyer, your service is ultimately to the public. Access to justice is your key responsibility to the Public (e.g. the indigent, homeless, vulnerable, elderly etc). These categories of persons often find it difficult, if not impossible, to afford legal fees. Strong interpersonal skill is required since it involves gaining client’s trust.
C ONCLUSION All said, my simple answer to your question “After law School, What Next?” will be “ I don’t know ”. The reason is, “The decision is yours to take”. More than anything else, prayer is inevitable!