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‘Splitting law school curriculum’ll guarantee effective practice’

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‘Splitting law school curriculum’ll guarantee effective practice’

Pascal Izuchukwu Ekeh is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan, where he read law between 2011 and 2016. Ekeh, who was called to the Bar in 2017, speaks to JOHN CHIKEZIE on his experience, challenges, fond memories since he was called to the Bar

 

Background
Pascal Izuchukwu Ekeh attended Trinity Primary School and Okota Secondary School in Isolo, Lagos between 2004 and 2010 before his admission to study law at the University of Ibadan, where he obtained his LL.B.
Ekeh, who plies his law trade in Lagos, was called to Bar in 2017. He is from Imo state.

Passion for justice
My decision to study law was not born out of some sort of epiphany. I can’t point to any particular incident that influenced my choice and I did not choose law because I was short of options. From a tender age, I had the intuition that law is what I was going to study. Along the line, I picked up the idea that being a lawyer will afford me the opportunity to help the oppressed. That must have been at the period when human rights activists were always loud on television, decrying injustices being meted out to people by the law enforcement agencies. In the course of my study at the university, I discovered other reasons why I love law. The major among them being that, as a lawyer, I get to influence policies and give my opinion on a wide range of issues. I find new reasons every day, even on days when life gives me reasons why I shouldn’t have studied law.

First court appearance
My first court appearance was stunning. I was handed a file a day after I resumed work and asked to appear in court the next day. The instruction was for me to get an adjournment as the counsel personally assigned to the matter was in another court. I studied the file well and was confident I’ll be in and out of court within ten minutes. When the magistrate sat and my matter was called, the whole story changed. Counsel on the other side was not in the mood and didn’t care if I was dying and needed an adjournment. She told the court that we were deliberately trying to stall the matter by not moving our notice of preliminary objection. She said we couldn’t even call her to inform her we will not be moving the application. The court took sides with her and ordered me to move the motion. All the pleas that I was only holding the brief for my colleague fell on deaf ears. At a time, I felt like walking up to the judge to tell her to take it easy as that was my first appearance. But I was compelled to move the application. I eventually did. That incident reminded me to always be prepared as a lawyer.

Pupilage
I had the compulsory court attachment at the Ikeja High Court and the chambers attachment at Segun, Sipeolu and Associates, Ikeja. As an undergraduate, I also interned in three firms. The internships and court attachment gave me an inkling of what to expect when I become a lawyer. Currently, I’m undertaking my National Youth Service at the Law Firm of Jackson, Etti & Edu. The lawyers have been supportive, patiently explaining concepts to me, challenging me to study more and ask questions and correcting me whenever I err.

Justice system
Regarding criminal justice system, Nigeria still has a long way to go. I know steps are being taken to sanitize the criminal justice system but we need to do more especially as it concerns the police and other law enforcement outfits.

Law school experience
My law school experience was interesting but demanding. I had to contend with the heavy academic workloads and lengthy lecture hours. However, I made some friends in the process and came out with a fair grade. I will like the Nigerian Law School to improve the state of the facilities at the Law School. Also, it will be great if the university and law school curriculum could be redesigned to make law school two years in order to reduce the workload and ensure we learn better. The short period forces one to study to pass instead of actually understanding the concepts.
The lecture routine was intense. We attended classes in the morning, usually from 9a.m. to 2 p.m. Then, we met for group meetings in the evening to work on group assignments. We had to read ahead of the class and solve pending tasks.

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