The legal profession is a very important profession all around the world. As an important discipline, it has its own rules guiding how the profession is to be operated and regulated. All over the world, there are laid down rules dealing with the ethics of the profession. In Nigeria, the average man believes that the profession is for the rich and noble and so there is always a kind of expectation from family members and friends from the one who has studied Law. To some, it is enough to be called a Lawyer or the mother, father or even sibling of one. But ironically, that has not been the case with some folks who have bagged the prestigious degree of Law. This piece will expose perhaps to those who do not know, some stars or celebrities that did study Law, but for passion chose to pursue other professions completely outside, and not in any way close to the profession. Also, we shall consider some professions, trade or business outside law that someone who has studied Law can easily practice.
What You Can Do with a Law Degree (Besides Practice Law)
- SAMUEL SOCHUKWUMA OKWARAJI– A FOOTBALLER: Born on the 19th of May, 1964, Sam Okwaraji as he was popularly called was a professional footballer who played for the Nigeria National Team. He was a lawyer with a Masters Degree in International Law from the University of Rome. He died on the 12th of August, 1989, of Congestive heart failure at Lagos in a world cup qualifying match playing for his father land, Nigeria.
- FOLARIN FALANA – MUSICIAN: Folarin Falana, son of Femi Falana is one of the Nigerian Lawyers that dumped the profession for something far from it. Folarin Falana dumped the profession for his singing career. The Artist popularly known as Falz has won several awards, such as the Best New Act of the year, Best Rap Act of the Year, Best Street Hop Artiste of the Year, Best Actor in a Comedy, etc. According to him, singing and entertaining are his passion, therefore he sings for passion. Folarin Falana is just 27 years old.
- LEPACIOUS BOSE – A COMEDIAN: Who could ever think that someone will dump the Law profession for comedy? Well, that’s the case with Bose. Lepacious Bose is one of the few female comedians in the Industry. She is actually a graduate of Theatre Art from the University of Ibadan before finally choosing to read Law. However after being called to the Nigerian Bar in 2010, she chose to do comedy instead of practicing Law as a profession.
- TARA FELA DUROTOYE – A MAKEUP ARTIST, CEO: Tara is a Nigerian lawyer who ended up as a Makeup artist. The Delta born lawyer launched the First Bridal Directory 1999 and established the first makeup school in Nigeria. She is the CEO of House of Tara International and creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty Range, Inspired Perfume and HIP Beauty Range. Indeed she has done a lot in her area of passion making her to be listed by Forbes in 2013 as one of the 20 young Power women in Africa and also awarded the Africa SMME award and Entrepreneur award in South Africa amongst others.
- RICHARD MOFE-DAMIJO – AN ACTOR: The Delta State born Veteran Actor is a graduate of Law from the University of Lagos. Popularly known for his gentle-man-role, the Actor has won several awards in his acting career including the African Movie Academic Award. Mofe was the former commissioner of Culture and Tourism, to the Delta State Government. Apart from Richard Mofe Damijo, there are other actors and actresses that are lawyers by profession.
The personalities listed above chose the unexpected professions out of passion and not necessary because of the harsh economy condition they faced. Beside this however, there are some professions or trades that persons with Law Degree can venture into and perform as professionals. Viz:
- Politician: There are many persons with the Law degree that have ventured into politics. It seems like the knowledge of the Law gives some Lawyers quite a reasonable amount of knowledge about governance. One can imagine mixing Political Science and Law together. There are many Nigerian politicians that are lawyers by profession. E.g. Seriake Dickson, the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State (Former Attorney General of Bayelsa State, and Former member, House of Representative), Nyesom Wike, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, Executive Governor of Ondo State, etc.
- Secretary: Lawyers are qualified persons to be appointed as Secretaries of Companies as recognized under the Companies and Allied Matters Act. Hence, Lawyers at the Nigerian Law School are thought basic writing skills fit for a Secretary. Such as letter writing, memo, essays, resolutions, notices, minutes, etc.
- Officer: Lawyers can as well be part of the Military. There are many Lawyers currently in the Nigerian Armed Forces working in the Legal Department. However, Lawyers appearing in the Court Martial are to appear in their capacity as officers and not as Legal Practitioners. Lawyers can as well work in the Police Force or similar Law enforcement agencies to help in giving legal advice, and as well in prosecuting criminal matters when the need arises.
- Journalist: Lawyers can as well venture into legal journalism, in which place their knowledge of the law becomes useful.
- Criminologist: Criminology is another important profession where a Lawyer can function very well. A perfect knowledge of Criminal law and the Criminal justice system would be an added advantage to function as a criminologist.
- Lawmaker: A lawyer can function perfectly well as a Lawmaker. Basic drafting skills and advocacy are essential in Professional Ethics and Skill.
Passion is the driving force to excellence, with it, men can do the unexpected.
Ebi Robert Co-Editor, TheNigeriaLawyer