Studying law can be painfully wearisome and immensely hard going for anyone and given the sheer bulk of reading the typical law student has to sort through (is required to do), there can be no fleeting idle moments in between, not time to be wasted if you are to excel. As expected of aspiring lawyers, it’s important that you not only exhibit good industry but manage and maximize your time efficiently throughout your school days – not just within the normal school week but during your regular school breaks, your weekends and holidays as well, if anything, to keep your bulky academic workload from getting on top of you. More than that, ideally, a wise use of your free time precisely for more reading could further deepen and broaden your knowledge and stand you in good stead for a successful career in legal practice. Back then in my student days, we knew just how important our free times were to our being successful as law students, so we combined our need for fun and relaxation with a bit of dirty school work in the holidays. And what a big help that was!
As you prepare for your next break from school, here are a few useful things you could spend your time doing as a law student.
(1) Intern At A Firm
This advice is particularly for all Nigerian law students. Unlike the case abroad, Nigerian law universities don’t offer law students legal clinics and internship where they can gain relevant practical experience beyond their classroom theories. So it would be wise to intern with law chambers around you during your holidays. That way you will learn other transferable skills from lawyers already in the field in the area of researching and more. Contact law chambers and volunteer your services for free (call it pro bono if you like)
(2) Undertake Self-study
They say it’s the reading you do after your school days that really matters otherwise you know only that which everyone else knows. During holidays spend more time doing self-study, read extensively in areas of law you have interests but unable to take coursework in. Explore that legal topic through your own reading. Do the same in areas of law you barely passed at the exams to gain greater and deeper grasp of the subject.
(3) Observe or Visit Local Courts
Get more familiar with the courts by visiting them. Observe how real life trials are conducted, how lawyers argue in court and everything else that goes on in the court room. That would be a heads-up for you. It will banish the awkwardness that new wigs experience in their first court appearance. You’ll also learn about civil procedures.
What to Do On Weekends
There isn’t much to say about spending your weekends. Do that which every prudent law student does. In my days in school, our weekends were more of relaxation than for serious academic work. But there were times we usually had a ton of school work carried over from the previous week, like cases to brief or class assignments to work on. During such periods, our weekends were occupied with getting these important tasks done. Other times, we sometimes had important class group discussions scheduled for the weekends since we had more time then to discuss courses we had difficulty comprehending.
One other thing: to get a jump on your reading, use your weekends to read in advance on topics you know might be taught in the coming week. By always reading ahead of the class, you’ll gain greater familiarity with the subjects to be taught in the coming weeks, get ahead of others and be more active and comprehend easier at lectures. This routine is the norm with almost all class-topping law students who just seem to stand head and shoulders in performance above their laggard class competition. To avoid been left in the dust in the highly competitive legal classroom environments of today, be sure you make the most of your spare time for wider study. But still, find time to rest amidst it all.
A youngish lawyer with penetrating insight, Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Lawstudenthub, a site dedicated to helping new wigs find their footing in a trickily slippery legal profession and stay current with emerging developments in the legal industry. He holds an LLB from the University of Benin and a BL from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. In his spare time, Patrick doubles as a professional writer and copyeditor.
If you have any urgent enquiries, you can email him @[email protected]