Selecting A Law Office in the Early Stages of Your Career

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Thousands of aspiring lawyers have recently completed their time at the Nigerian Law School and are awaiting their results.

Some of these students are already applying for jobs at law offices across Nigeria. If you are not one of them, you should start applying now. We have it on good authority that some law firms, are already well into the recruitment process for lawyers on the NYSC scheme. So the earlier you put in your application, the better your chances of actually getting the law office that you want.

So how do you decide the firm that you ‘want’?

When searching for a law office in your early years of practice, it is tempting to jump on the first offer you get even when the particular law office might not be ideal or ideal for you. We understand that since you are looking for a job in a saturated profession, you cannot always call all the shots. However, we would encourage you to ask certain questions about the law firms you are considering working with.

If you don’t take time out to figure out what you want and ask the right questions, you may find that your career is quickly heading in the wrong direction. An alarming number of young lawyers find themselves in jobs where they are facing issues they would’ve had prior knowledge of (and possibly avoided) if they had just done some digging around.

Your place of work is probably where you would spend the greatest proportion of your time, so it is important that such a workplace is accommodating and conducive. And if it isn’t, and you have no other choice, you at least have prior knowledge of this and are able to prepare and adjust appropriately.

Furthermore, the first few years of your career are the foundation-building years. The law office you work with plays an extremely vital role in determining how strong your foundation will be.

In this series, we will be discussing the factors that should influence your decision to make an application to or accept an offer from a particular law office. We will also be discussing how you can access, uncover and dissect the information you need to make your decision

Please note that the advice provided in the series merely serves as a guide as to the kind of questions you should be asking and who you should be asking. It is important that you firstly personally determine your priorities. Personally. Do not accept an offer merely because it comes with a certain perceived prestige, your friends have a similar offer, or your parents, mentors or even Legally Engaged encouraged you to. Seeking advice is, of course, important, but always weigh advice received against your own goals and personal conviction.

Realise that the factors we would highlight in this series would be weighted differently by various individuals. Determine what is important to you. Is a peaceful environment more important than the reputation of a firm? Can more money make up for poor work-life balance? Is there a particular family situation that means you cannot take up an offer outside your main state of residence? You decide.

Yimika Adesola is the Founder of Legally Engaged and an Associate in the Corporate/Commercial law arm of a top-tier Nigerian law firm.

She advises blue-chip companies on various areas of law including mergers, acquisitions and capital raisings, restructurings, taxation, finance, employment, and compliance.

She seeks to provide direction to students and young professionals by providing them with the information they need to launch successful careers and make better career decisions. Follow Yimika on LinkedIn here.

Gabriella Ndu is a corporate, energy and projects lawyer with experience advising on traditional and renewable energy projects, facility management services, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, project finance and corporate transactions across Africa, Middle East, GCC, and South Asia. She is a law graduate of the University of Nigeria and was called to the bar in 2014. 

She is currently a candidate of the Career Development Program at Middle East, South Asia & Turkey office of ENGIE, a CAC40 company with her first role in the legal team.

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