During my lecture ‘Key Issues in Nigerian Telecommunications Legal and Regulatory Framework’, delivered recently at the Osun State University (Ifetedo Campus), one of the questions the Law Students left triangulating on me was why there is a dearth of legal experts/law firms when it comes to the area of Telecommunications Law in Nigeria. It was a question loaded from the depth of their exasperation! Read about the lecture HERE.
I think it is hightime our Universities and Law School took up the gauntlet, commencing from curricular reform in our Universities and in the Nigerian Law School, to include the teaching of Telecommunications Law, either as a core study or as an elective, like we have the Banking Law and Petroleum Law (to mention a tiny few).
Our Universities and Law School churn out a large concourse of law graduates and lawyers every year. While most of them work in corporate and litigation law firms, for starters, a tiny handful find a position in corporate environments as in-house Counsel, and various others pursue advanced education either in Nigeria or abroad. But the legal marketplace has expanded the more, and markedly so, particularly during the last decade, with the liberalization of the telecommunications sector. It is a recuperative truism, and elixir, that this has opened up a vistas of hope and opportunities for our young lawyers. However, all of these young lawyers remain out of touch with the legal and regulatory intelligence needed in telecoms milieu even as our Universities scoff at the idea of having Telecommunications Law as one of the courses of study.
But the truth, if heinous, is that the introduction of Telecommunications in our University curriculum will doubtless expose our graduates to the ‘real world’ telecoms practice as well as the skills, opportunities and direction it is taking. It would be a delicate fulcrum upon which a strong foundation from which to remodel legal education in Nigeria and provide solutions to the warp-speed pace and complex challenges of telecoms business, even as the function and role of lawyers are fast changing due to digital transformation…..and the changes are having a more than vestigial effect on what skills ‘legal’ skills are required in today’s marketplace. Legal education has moved, or should move, away from mere advancement of oral advocacy and encouragement of risk aversion.