By Etop Ekanem

Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike Foundation has commenced a virtual internship and mentorship programme for out of school law students due to the ongoing nationwide strike. 

The internship programme was implemented in keeping with the foundation’s mandate to aid continuous legal education by imparting core professional ethics and academic values to law students. 

According to the Head of Legal and Research, Rachael Obodo-Obunseli, the virtual mentorship/internship programme kicked off May 11, 2022. Akorede Habeeb Lawal Esq (a seasoned legal practitioner and Immediate past National Assistant Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA) served as the guest lecturer delivering training on “Understanding Facts and Principles of Law: The Law Students Perspective.”

In the following weeks, Benigna Ejimba Esq (an International Legal Practitioner licensed in Nigeria and the New York Bar) lectured the students on “Essentials of Law Undergraduate and Bar Finals Examinations.” 

The guest lecturer taught the students how to approach exam questions, the nitty-gritty of legal research, and its importance in legal practice – particularly paying attention to “Etiquettes and Essentials of Rules of Professional Conduct.

The final week of the mentorship/internship programme will have guest lecturer, Awele Ideal Esq, training the students on “Effective Legal Advocacy.” 

This topic forms the bedrock of effective legal practice, whether on the Bench, Bar or in Academia. It exposed the students to the basic pros and cons of becoming a new Lawyer and the options available to them in legal practice. Earlier discussed during the session were some excerpts from the book, “The New Wigs and The Challenges of Legal Practice in Nigeria” by His Lordship, Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike. 

An award ceremony/graduation was held virtually May 31, 2022 to celebrate all successful participants. Special prizes were awarded to some exceptional interns. As a  main event, a first of a kind virtual Moot Court Competition will feature four qualified law faculties across Nigerian universities – with current serving judges preceding the moot court proceedings. 

The Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike Foundation was established to advance the legacy of Hon. Justice Innocent Umezulike, OFR, FCIRB, FIIAN – one of Nigeria’s astute Chief Judges and Professor emeritus. Umezulike was the best master in his law knowledge, distinguished for his expertise in Land and Property Law, and had over 23 law books before his eternal bow in 2018. His Lordship bowed out as the longest-serving Chief Judge in South Eastern Nigeria and was notable for receiving over 100 distinguished legal honours and awards for service excellence.

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