LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

LEARNING THE LAW : THE TRAVAILS OF A LAW STUDENT

BEING A PRESENTATION MADE AT THE LIFIN COLLOQUIUM ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES 2019.

INTRODUCTION 

Law is as ancient as the cradle of human civilization so also is the legal profession. They are both far distant in human memory and history. Law has permeated virtually all strata of human institution and existence. Thus, this makes the  nature of Law seemingly indeterminable and too wide a concept. A critical look at the Nigerian jurisprudence will reveal a network of  innumerable laws that regulate different issues. Including  some internationally   domesticated laws. Worthy of note, is the detailed and comprehensively elaborate scope of these laws which need not be undermined even for once because of the role they play in the legal process, administration of justice and  development of the Law in Nigeria. 
This is not attributed alone to Nigerian Law, but also to other legal climes. On this background, learning the Law will  not only be systematical, but it will also be methodological and practical. Having said this, it  behoves essentially  on a learning student lawyer to be prudent enough in appreciating the everly expanding nature of the legal discipline and the commitments of learning it before conceiving to venture into taking Law as a profession. The aim is to ascertain the level of one’s preparation to grapple with the Herculean tasks and drills of its various learning processes, in the faculty level and law school. So that it could suffice that one has indeed learnt the art of Lawyering after the stipulated term of years.
Understanding the lingua-franca of the Law is key to learning it, and most fundamentally to the making of a lawyer.  This is where law as a system comes to play. For one to truly delve into the fulcrum around which a law revolves or unravel its application in relation to a particular issue, justice must be done in mastering the usage of legal language. Not only is it important in statutory construction, but it is vital in ensuring that judgement is found in a party’s favour by employing compelling and persuasive legal  rethorics. The intricacies and the workings of it all are  correctly assimilated also through a deliberate attempt and a conscious effort to learn through the Law reports which  are repositories of Law as correctly analyzed and spelt by jurists. Earmarking chunks of time to read Law reports is no doubt one of the surest and easiest ways to getting sound legal knowledge on varied  issues. It is the more incumbent on student lawyers to develop the proclivity to read Law reports as veritable part of their formation. So there is a great need to report cases at all times when such tasks are mounted by lecturers. As it is only in law reports that one gets acquainted with the spate of legal arguments, reasons for decisions and grounds for overruling a decision and lots more. 
The importance of mooting sessions cannot be over-emphasized in the training of a lawyer. Lawyers are not born, but they are made through hardwork, persistence and diligence. During formative years, great lawyers have always consciously involved themselves in putting to life the principles of Law in open mock-trials as a way of consolidating on class lectures. A great dose of learning and skills are usually showcased in moot settings as it is done in conventional courts thereby availing students to exhibit traits of lawyers, and application of law, arguments and procedures for the overall purpose of appreciating what has been taught. Thus, it becomes a good platform to determine and assess what one’s performance will be like in a real court. It is then imperative to say that for any student- lawyer who wish to be a force of reckon in litigation, mooting should be an arsenal that should adorn one’s armoury at this elementary stage, preparing for the grand fiasco in an actual court. As it will go a way long to building self-confidence, Courage, advocacy skills, understanding of the law and procedures. 
At the academic level of legal studies, a lot are done in substantive learning of the law. Great zeal, patience, commitment, discipline, hardwork, diligence, dedication and meekness should be worn like a garment in the course of learning Law. This will inevitably build a strong Lawyer who is sound in discharging legal services, committed to the profession and justice. Since law rolls the clock of dynamism, it is pertinent that student lawyers should  frequently research on recent issues trending around the legal cycle to avoid hacking on moribund issues which are long evolved. This is also a way of learning of  which is the concern of this  academic article. In court, it will help lawyers in making accurate, objective and up to date arguments on issues of Law. It suffices to say that research should be imbibed as a flair by  every student lawyer. 
The travails of most  Law students have always been apathy towards studies, and for some a dissatisfaction for the discipline. While others claim not to cope with the range of materials they are confronted with, fearfully atimes because of its outrageous volumes. For others it is the haphazard use of dumbfounding verbosities; legal jargons (Legalese). For a part, it is the huge number of cases to memorize inter alia.
For me, I conceive it as lack of preparation before getting into the task of reading Law. Assuredly, Not everybody can read Law. It is advised that person is informed before venturing into law  proper to avoid misplacement of priorities. The very moment a person decides to read Law,  the person is  automatically mortgaged to it for life. It takes alot from somebody to squander in reading, research, discipline to become a lawyer which a law student must observe religiously to transcend and defeat the travails retarding the learning of law during the term of pendency in a faculty of law.
About the  author 
Okoye Ifeanyi Macpherson is a law student of chukwuemeka odumegwu ojukwu University, Anambra state. He is a prolific writer and has numerous publications to his name. 


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