Former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association section of business law, Mr Olumide Akpata, has called for a review of the Nigerian law school curriculum to represent the present state of legal practice in Nigeria.
He made this statement due to his interaction with fresh law graduates whom he says have little or no knowledge about how today's law functions.
Akpata, who is currently the head of communication practice at Templers, a front line Nigerian commerce law firm, complained bitterly about the degrading mode of teaching and curriculum being used in Nigerian law school with no remarkable change, year in, year out.
While speaking with journalists, he charged lawyers to set higher standards and have a change of mindset other than limiting themselves to just dispute resolution, an area of legal practice.
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."
He conclusively called for 'a structured approach' from the position of policy, in order to improve the quality of the Nigeria legal education.