Job Prospects and Opportunities for Law Graduates in Nigeria

A Law degree is a degree conferred on candidates for studies in law which prepares such graduates for careers in legal matters and fields. While a law degree can have international and regional recognition you need a law degree from a recognized and legal university or college in Nigeria to practice and represent entities in legal matters. Generally law graduates go on a year study at any of the Law schools in the country after which they may be able to pursue any career in law.

What Does a Lawyer Do?

Lawyers can work in a variety of fields. They are primarily concerned with the interpretation, defence, analysis of the law stipulated for and guiding various facets of life in a sovereign nation.
Lawyers may work in any of the two major divivsions of the judiciary which essentially is the arm of the government of the country that interprets and enforces laws.

Careers for Law Graduates

Lawyers work in a variety of fields which may come under the bar or the bench. The former are mostly attorneys, barristers, legal advisers and representatives while the latter consist of judges, magistrates, etc.

Many lawyers spend much of their time in courtrooms but still there is non-courtroom work for lawyers such as becoming legal adviser to individual and corporate clients, law researcher, compiling cases and case studies etc. The part you choose as a law graduate will be determined by what you wish to do as there are several niches one can build a career on.

Law has many specializations such as criminal law, environmental law, civil law, human rights, corporate, and so on. These are all aspects of law that one can build a career in.

If you are a Nigerian graduate of law there are many career opportunities to pursue and these include;

Activist, Human Rights Advocate (Local, International Human Rights Groups & Agencies, Government Agencies etc)
Attorney (Represent individuals and organizations in law courts, start your own chamber or work for established law firms)
Court Reporter (Media Houses, News Agencies, )
Judge/Magistrate (Work in the bench and climb your way to become a judge)
Legal Assistant/Paralegal (in Law firms, Agencies & NGOs etc)
Legal Secretary (for Associations, NGOs etc)
Company Secretary (in firms, medium and big corporate organizations etc)
Law Enforcement Officer (join the Police as an Officer, the Military, Security Agencies such as State Security Services etc)
Private Detective/Investigator (If your investigative skills are good enough start a private investigations firm or work for one)
Prisons/Customs/Immigration Officer (join the Prisons, Customs or Immigrations Service as an Officer)
Federal Government Law Enforcement Agent (Work for Federal Government law enforcement agencies such as NAFDAC, NDLEA etc)
Diplomat (pursue a career in the diplomatic missions as a career diplomat)
Corporate Lawyer (Represent companies in law suits on environmental, commercial law cases)

Types of Legal Practice

If however you wish to go into legal practice here are the four major segments of legal practice from which you can choose which to pursue a career in;

Private Practice: involves working alone or with partners in a firm to provide legal services to clients (individuals or corporations); some lawyers specialize in one or more practice areas while others engage in general practice.

Public Interest Law: serves low-income individuals, marginalized groups and social causes; practitioners may work for advocacy groups, legal aid clinics and other organizations with the goal of advancing an interest of the public.

Government Counsel: governments hire lawyers for legal advice and representation; lawyers directly employed by the government may work for ministries, government agencies and crown corporations.

Corporate Counsel: corporations can employ lawyers as in-house counsel; an in-house counsel works for a single company to advise on legal matters related to its business activities.

Practice Specialisations

You can practice under the following specialization areas;

The law impacts our lives in numerous ways, so naturally the legal profession covers many fields and allows for a variety of law careers. There are many types of lawyers – some practice in all areas of the law, while others choose to specialize. Here are some areas of specialization in law:

Administrative: branch of public law dealing with the relationship between individuals and the government; regulates the power of governmental administrative agencies and ensures fair implementation and administration of laws.

Civil Litigation: involves a lawsuit resulting from a dispute between private parties (individuals or corporations); civil litigation is concerned with matters such as breach of contract, debt collection, malpractice and personal injury.

Constitutional: branch of public law dealing with powers of the federal government and the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments; constitutional lawyers handle issues such as equality rights, freedom of expression, security and democratic governance.

Corporate and Commercial: deals with the formation and maintenance of businesses; corporate and commercial lawyers handle contracts, liability, mergers, structured financings and other business matters.

Criminal: governs crimes against the public and members of the public (as opposed to civil litigation which deals with private disputes); a criminal lawyer may work for the government as a prosecutor or represent the accused person as a defense lawyer.

Environmental: legislation and regulations relating to the interaction of humans with the environment; environmental lawyers deal with matters such as air pollution, wilderness preservation and waste disposal.

Family: applies to legal relationships between family members; issues in family law include marriage contracts, divorce, child custody, adoption, wills and estate planning.

Immigration: federal laws control the entry of non-citizens into the country; immigration lawyers assist clients in applying for entry, residing in the country and becoming citizens.

Intellectual Property: intellectual property refers to the ownership rights to certain kinds of creative endeavors; intellectual property law protects ownership through copyrights, patents, trademarks and industrial design registrations.

International: governs the interactions and relationships between nations; international lawyers may be hired by national governments and international organizations, or work in the private sector focusing on the interpretation of treaties and related laws.

Labor and Employment: defines the rights and obligations of employers, workers and union members; lawyers may advise management, labor or government on issues such as employment standards, workplace health and safety, and industrial relations.

Real Estate: deals with the purchase, sale, financing and development of land and buildings; real estate lawyers may work for developers, tenants, investors, banks or corporations on matters relating to residential or commercial real estate.

Securities: regulates the purchase and sale of securities (financial instruments such as stocks and bonds); securities lawyers typically work in law firms providing services to corporations and financial institutions or for governmental commissions focusing on regulatory compliance.

Tax: deals with the taxes levied by different levels of government; tax lawyers may advise corporations on tax strategies and implications of business transactions, or counsel individuals on matters such as legal wills and estate planning.

Other Areas: in addition to the practice areas list above, there are many other fields of specialization in the legal profession (antitrust, entertainment, health, municipal, sports, etc.).

About Paul

Paul Eze is the Co-founder and CEO at NGCareers. He is an avid writer. Connect with Paul on Twitter

2 Comments

  1. Uba Babs says:

    This is a great idea very good for the upcoming lawyers,this will also encourage the young ones to venture into the noble Profession.(www.fuoye.edu.ng)

  2. Jennyblessing says:

    I want to study law in the university but I didn’t write CRS in my waec, can I be admitted in the university to study any type of law?

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