#Journey after school is a weekly series that captures Nigerian youths’ life, struggles, ease, unemployment, and employment opportunities after graduating from universities, polytechnics, and colleges.
Our interviewee is a law graduate who is doing quite well for himself. He shared some exciting information about his profession and job experiences after school.
Can we meet you?
My name is Azeem (fake name).
I finished at Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago Iwoye. I read law.
What specialty of law?
In the University, we don’t specialize. We focus on all branches of law. Unless you school in the North – and you specialize in Islamic law – I’m not even sure.
When did you graduate?
I finished University in 2018 and graduated from law school in 2019.
Afterward, I served, and I finished my service year in 2020.
How has it been since you graduated?
Well, I served in a litigation firm. After NYSC, I started working with a corporate firm. I resigned from there after about 4months. However, I’m working with another litigation firm now. So, it’s been fine. I thank God.
Was there a personal reason you left or was the pay not right?
The thing is, basically, in life, you have to move forward. If you see a better offer or even for some personal reasons, you could leave your place of work. I resigned from the position on mutual agreement with my employer.
Did you get the job offers on connections?
In Nigeria, you need connections for everything. But for me, I am very fortunate. I don’t search for a job before I get one. Jobs find me; I don’t find jobs.
Wow, you’re one of those lucky people then.
Can law graduates work in any firm, or do they have to work in a law practicing firm?
Once you’re called to the bar, you’re a lawyer. Whatever a 20years lawyer can do is the same thing the person called yesterday can do.
If you don’t get a job offer from a law firm as you wanted, you can decide to start on your own, if you’re sure of yourself.
What if you don’t have the money?
You can walk up to a friendly person in a law firm and tell them you’d love to share an office space with them – they don’t have to pay you; you want to practice your profession.
But it would help if you had it for money.
Some people do it. As a lawyer, you can sit down today, and someone will call you for a job worth 100 thousand. You can wake up to be a millionaire as a lawyer.
You can sleep broke and wake up rich. I know people that do it. They only share office space; they don’t get paid. However, as a lawyer, the possibility of getting a job is 80%, but you might not like the pay.
But you can get a client that will pay you more?
That’s what it is. They can pay you 100k in your office, and you can get a client that’ll pay you 300k.
So, lawyers are doing fine without employment opportunities?
Hmm. I don’t know how you define fine.
I mean, financially okay.
Yes, at least you’ll have something to eat.
Something about the law is, no matter what grade you graduate with, except you want to work in a top-tier law firm, you’ll get somewhere to work.
Yes. I know people that had 3rd class and pass grades from the university and are working.
Through connections, right?
Yes, through connections. Aside from that, what I think is the level of demand for lawyers is high in Nigeria. Some will say we have too many lawyers in the country – but there’s still a high demand for lawyers.
During my service year, we were 3 in the office. The workload meant for ten people is what the 3 of us would do. The workload is too much. Some employees don’t even check your credentials; once you’re called to bar, you’re a lawyer.
Please give us a more detailed insight into your life after University.
After I graduated from the university, I was very frustrated with my school because they delayed our admission to law school for about five months.
Law school was like hell for everybody. The only moment of stress for me after school was during law school. After law school, I wanted to be depressed because I was thinking of what was next, but I was pretty fortunate like I said earlier.
What’s your advice to prospective lawyers?
Don’t give up. I know law school could be draining. I had panic attacks in law school – people cry without anyone beating them. But know that it’s a phase, and it’ll pass.