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Law school was my second chance at greatness — Kabir Adeyemo

Kabir Adeyemo speaks with Edugist on what making a first-class grade from the Nigerian Law School means for him and how he achieved it.
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Kabir Adeyemo recently bagged a first-class grade from the Nigerian Law School after graduating with a second-class lower grade from the University of Ilorin. He speaks with Edugist on what this feat means for him and how he achieved it. Excerpts

Please share with Edugist, a little about yourself and your background.

My name is Kabir Adeyemo, born and raised in Osogbo, Osun State. I attended University of Ilorin for my undergraduate programme in Law. I am attracted to excellence and have continued to be a result-oriented individual. I create graphics and video contents at my leisure. I love playing football games even though I do not watch football. I am a straightforward individual and hold a track-record of staying committed and diligent to anything I am involved in. I am also training to be a good ambassador of myself and every single person that knows me.

What motivated you to pursue a law degree?

Truth be told, it was when I was in SS1 and I needed to choose the department to be in. I watched an Indian movie. I was impressed by the advocacy and investigative skills of the lead actor, James Abraham. So, just like every other arts student, I did not find interest in any other profession besides law.

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What was your undergraduate experience like?

My undergraduate was not so smooth. I attended the ‘better-by-far’ federal University of Ilorin. My 100 level was all about academics. 200 till 400 level was filled with a lot of extra-curricular activities. I ‘retired’ in 500L. I was the Public Relations Officer of my Chamber, and later on, of the faculty. I was a member of the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ). Myself, alongside two other key members of UCJ who were law students at the time, formed  and became the pioneer members of the Law Students’ Society Press (LSS Press). I personally organized a couple of social events and facilitated the success of many other events within and outside the school environment. I enjoyed my university days. I was always very diligent at what I do, and full of ideas. 

My colleagues knew me for that. Combining all these activities with academics was a lot, but I enjoyed the whole experience gathered in the university. They have continued to guide some life decisions I make now. I developed the ability to think outside the box from university. I made a lot of mistakes, which I have learnt and moved on from. 

Were there any courses that you found particularly challenging?

Not really. As I said, the only issue I had was juggling extra-curricular activities with academics. I had limited time to read. So, I was probably getting what I worked for.

What significant challenges did you encounter during your study?

The fact that I could not attend some lectures due to other commitments. Also, the tradition that one has to write as much as the quantity of a textbook to impress lecturers during examinations is not something I will ever get used to. 

 

Did you participate in any internship during your study?

Yes. I was intentional about it from the 200 level of my study. Even up till my NYSC year, I still had a law firm to go to. I will not be shy to admit that the internships really helped my perspective of the law. If I had just done the usual in the university — going to class, writing exams only — I am not sure I would be interested in the practice of law. Maybe I would have just stayed in business, my media brand.

Tell us about your experience at the Nigerian law school. 

Nigerian Law School, as I have come to find out, is that institution that will not only instill discipline into you but also teach life lessons the hard way. During your time there, you will surely hate it there, but at the end of the day, you might just be glad you passed through that institution. 

Thanks to God, I was smart enough to prepare my mind for law school from my NYSC days. I was posted to the civil litigation department at the Ministry of Justice, Ibadan where I had to learn and work as if I was a lawyer. I was stretched on so many grounds. 

Getting to law school, I found the stress manageable. NLS is that common ground where every individual from different backgrounds, tribes and status come together to learn and seek a common goal, which is to be called to the Nigerian Bar. I made good friends, really amazing individuals both young and elderly. I pushed myself real hard to attain this goal. I attended classes and made my notes. I prayed, slept and hung out. I created memories with friends. I spearheaded tutorial sessions. NLS is that place where you will always be on your toes, because of the grading system which is not so favorable to students. There are five courses and you get graded based on your lowest grade – Four ‘A’s and one ‘F’ is failure. Such a person has to resit for that bar final. The knowledge of this caused many to panic throughout their study there.

You graduated with a second-class lower division grade in your undergraduate degree but with a first-class grade from the Nigerian law school. How did you achieve this?

Two things, hardwork and prayer. Before resuming at NLS, I was confident I would go there and do well. I wanted a campus that would aid this, and I got Port-Harcourt campus, the newest of the NLS campuses, and we happened to be the lucky first set to be admitted to the campus. This was the first win. I had a resolution with myself that I have to do well for myself because I really needed it. It was my second chance at greatness since I couldn’t really show my full potential in university, academically. 

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I started reading from day one. Immediately after each class, I completed my notes. Is it safe to say at this point that I do not own a textbook to my name or read one? I wasn’t financially buoyant for the cost of all the several textbooks I saw when we resumed NLS, therefore I started with some materials. I got used to reading materials that I lost interest in having a textbook. However, I was careful about the materials I used because it was very easy to come across outdated versions of materials. I was able to filter the bad materials from the good ones. I read over and over. I taught my friends and anyone who cared to listen to what I know, that way the knowledge got deepened and stuck in my brain as I shared. I also changed my strategies. If a strategy wasn’t working, I was quick to sit, relax and restrategize. I just knew I needed to pass very well. 

The most challenging course I took was corporate law. Few weeks to the exam, I was still feeling empty. I wasn’t confident I could pass an examination on it very well. When we did pre-bar exams like two weeks before the main Bar Final Examination, I failed it. This got me really furious, anxious and scared at the same time. That night, I went to pick the past questions on corporate law from 2010 to 2022 and I reviewed all the 13 years questions overnight in a classroom. I was bitten by different species of mosquitoes but the anger in me got me moving till daybreak. I felt confident after writing out and answering all the questions. Criminal litigation is relatable. Civil litigation is bulky but relatable. I know my RPC (Rules of Professional Conduct) like the back of my hands for Professional Ethics. Property Law was technical but if you understand the salient terms, that’s the trick. 

I prayed a lot too. Like those that passed through law school told us, law school is spiritual. You can know something right now, take 10 steps and forget it. Intentional friends also contributed to the success. I had a couple of them, who always reminded me of who I am and what I am capable of. The motivation from every single one of them cannot be taken for granted. I worked really hard for this.

Do you have any role models you look up to?

I have a couple, for different purposes. Olamide Adedeji is however the top of the list as he has distinguished himself over the years as a friendly, versatile, result-oriented and generous individual. He makes less noise about himself but makes big dreams come true. I love a couple of legal practitioners too. I just cherish people with stories that captivate the mind. Individuals who pushed through all odds and became whoever they are, is who a role model should be.

What are your long-term career goals?

I want to be renowned for my great exploits as the lawyer who is creating the trends and breaking the norms. I want to create a wider entrance for creative persons and encourage their dreams irrespective of career choices. I am also very interested in investing in the entertainment industry. I want to own an entertainment television station and probably organize my own award shows too.

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How do you envision applying your knowledge to real-world challenges?

Though the law continues to evolve, yet I believe I am built for greatness. I have the ability to stay up-to-date with current legal trends and interpretation of the law. Therefore, I believe I can sufficiently furnish each problem with solutions per time.  

After your study at the Nigerian law school, what next?

I look forward to building a career in some sectors of interest which include corporate commercial law, intellectual property, entertainment law, oil and gas, taxation and some others. I am a learner and I am never shy to learn or teach. I look forward to networking with my childhood idols and achieving much greater feats with them. I want to contribute immensely to the existing structure of the legal profession while I also pave the way for those that might find everything I do interesting.

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Salaudeen Jamaldeen Opeyemi
Salaudeen Jamaldeen Opeyemi
1 month ago

Congratulations dear friend. I’m proud of you. May your talent continue be a source of inspiration.

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