As part of activities to mark the Law Students Association week at the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri, which started last Monday, the Deputy Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu who was a guest speaker at Tuesday’s lecture presentation while speaking on the topic, “Skill acquisition as panacea for youth and graduate unemployment”, urged the students not to ignore their God given talents, innate abilities and potentials in the pursuit of good living now and after graduation.

The Deputy Speaker, who represents Nwangele state constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, noted that, “with new and emerging global trends occasioned by the internet and artificial intelligence age, traditional courses like Law are increasingly facing stiff competition in the employment and job market. Those with skills are now even employing graduates to work for them. That’s the stark reality”.

“Talk about the Bill Gates of this world, Steve Jobs and others like them who as young men, used their skills to create and drive the present internet and social media age, creating millions of skill based jobs in the process all over the world”. 

He urged under graduates and youths generally to take advantage of the unfolding global realities by recognizing the fact that the acquisition of relevant skills are veritable tools for successful, purposeful and result-oriented life. He regretted that the rate of unemployment has continued to increase as a result of dwindling resources, while the population continues to increase. Every year, more than 150,000 students graduate from different universities, to face the stark and obvious reality of inadequate availability of jobs.

He opined that the legal profession is not immune to the trending technological changes that have affected every industry. “It is estimated that 23% of work done by lawyers are now automated by existing technology, as advances in technology such as artificial intelligence has made it possible for modern software to scan legal documents, streamline communications and find relevant cases for lawyers”.

“Technology is already disrupting the legal profession and the changes are likely to continue. I therefore plead with you not to ignore those gifts that God gave to you”. You can also use the opportunity to acquire new skills and enhance the existing ones”.          

Speaking earlier on the topic, “Legal practice in Nigeria and prospects”, Prof. UU Chukwumaeze SAN, former Dean of the Faculty of Law, Imo State University, advised the students to always seek tutelage before setting up their own law firms, stressing that every notable lawyer with record of successful practice spent not less than 5 years in tutelage before setting up his own law firm.

He advised the law students to always be focused and committed in whatever they do bearing in mind that there is no field of endeavour where a lawyer is not needed. “Every field of human endeavour needs a lawyer, be it in politics, commerce, real estate, marine, energy and gas, etc. it all depends on what the student wants”.

The erudite Professor of Criminal Law, recalled that, as a student, he invested his money on text books while his colleagues invested theirs on televisions sets,clothes etc, pointing out that, today, most of them have nothing to show for their long years in practice. He advised the students to invest in books to enhance and sharpen their knowledge. “If you discover that the law firm you are attached to lacks good books, take your leave, because you are not likely to learn much there”.    

In his welcome address earlier, the President of Law Students Association, LAWSA, Comrade  Chinonso Oparaji, said, in view of the realities of the moment and “the challenges they pose on the law students all over the country, the theme of this year’s law week was chosen bearing in mind the perils and the peculiarities of the challenges to an average law student”. Bearing all these, it is apt to postulate that the training of a Law student in Nigeria, will be incomplete without exposure to the realities, harshness and challenges of legal practice in Nigeria coupled with adequate training to surmount the challenges”.

He appreciated the Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. (Mrs) Ine Nnadi, for her show of motherly affection, immediate past Staff Adviser, Barr. Dom Chima, Dr. C.A. Obodo, among others for their effort in making the event successful.