Ask Legally Engaged – What Role Does My CGPA Play When Seeking Employment?

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Dear LE,

Results for my final examinations came out this week. They weren’t bad but not exactly great either. I graduated with a second class upper but I fell short of having a 4.0 CGPA by 0.01. So I’m very determined to make a first class in law school.

I’ve always wondered how much of a role one’s CGPA plays when seeking employment. Is the CGPA something prospective employers are particular about when evaluating resumes?

Kind regards,

R

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Dear R,

Firstly, congratulations!!! That is not an easy feat and is definitely worth celebrating.

We know exactly how you feel, as many lawyers have been in this same position, so we can tell you this; we understand you are disappointed, but do not allow anything to knock your confidence or rob you of your joy.

As for your employment prospects; don’t worry, you are more than fine. There is a decreasing number of firms that would hire you solely because of a First class on your certificate. A First class may open the doors, but  you need much more to actually succeed on the job. Those extras are what firms are looking for nowadays. Read the series of articles Beyond Good Grades for more on this.

We know of several lawyers who did not get a First class at university or the Nigerian Law School, but got employment offers from various top tier law firms in Nigeria and even abroad. So don’t beat yourself up. Do your very best in law school, and also focus on internships and other activities the average law student may not really avert their mind to.

We should say however, that where a First class might make things easier is when applying for Masters programmes at ivy league institutions abroad. But even here, you can sell the fact that you were only a mark off. Together with extracurricular activities and hopefully stellar results at NLS, you should be fine.

Our response may have been different had you made a degree lower than a Second Class Upper.

Best,

The AskLE Team

The above answer represents the views of certain members of the Legally Engaged team. Whilst these views might be borne from real occurrences or experiences, Legally Engaged gives no warranties and makes no representations as to the accuracy, quality, validity or completeness of the advice given above.

Please note that the above answer has been edited to make it more suitable for publication.

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