LAW STUDENT OF THE WEEK – PRECIOUS OLADOKUN
Our Law Student of the Week is Precious Oladokun. She’s a final year student of Law at Babcock University, Nigeria. She holds several positions including the General Secretary and Human Resources Manager at Commercially Aware NG, the Managing Senior Advocate at the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), Babcock chapter and the Lord Advocate (President), Legal Magnates International, Babcock University Chapter, to mention but a few.
Our interview with her reveals a lot more!
- Kindly introduce yourself.
My name is Precious Oladokun and I am currently a fifth-year Student of Law at Babcock University. I am from Oyo State, Nigeria. I have been said by many to be charming (the veracity of this is based on relativity). I enjoy meeting new people, mentoring the younger generation and I love dogs! I believe so much in purpose and results. Hence, where an end goal is a possibility, no matter how hurdle-filled the path thereto is, I continue to strive towards it. I also love travelling, networking and counselling people.
- Did you set out to study law? If yes, what inspired your decision?
My Journey down the road of decision kicked off when I was in Primary school and I earnestly wished to become a Medical Doctor, an Actress, an Architect, and a Pilot (all at once). Little did my young mind know that becoming all of those would keep me in school when all my mates would have forgotten they attended a University! Later on, I thought to myself; ‘why not become an Artist?’ (because I paint quite well).
However, my sweet mother dissuaded me from studying Fine Art and advised me to study Law where I would have its added qualification and advantage while still being an Artist on the side. While in Secondary School (United Missionary Comprehensive College, Ibadan), I spoke regularly before large groups of people as I was a Prefect, and I had a nature of arguing issues out with my classmates. I also went for competitions while at secondary school; one of which I emerged winner at Wesley College. Hence, everyone psychologically placed me in the category of ‘Lawyer to be’.
The major inspiration for studying Law was my mother. Apparently, having birthed and nurtured me, she saw in me an ability to resolve issues and think critically and nudged me towards the field of Law. I am definitely grateful to her because in studying Law, I can confidently say I have found my place.
- Kindly run us through your various internship experiences.
This road is quite a bumpy one. The first time I interned was in my third year. Prior to that, I had sent out a couple of applications to a number of Firms which did not take me in, probably because of my relative inexperience.
I eventually went for an interview at Felix Ogunmade & Co, Gbagada, Lagos state, and was accepted as an intern. Here, I juggled being the Intern, librarian, Clerk, Secretary e.t.c altogether as it was a small firm at the time with not many staff, and since the Managing Partner saw a passion for Law in me, he entrusted all of those duties in my hands albeit for a period of two (2) months. Here I can say I learnt the most in all my internships so far as I was constantly sent to Court to deliver processes to the Bailiff, check the cause list in Court ahead of time to find out when our cases were holding among other things. I also drafted processes at the office, sent update letters to Clients and updated the office weekly cause list. I remember quite vividly being drenched by rain in a bid to get to court on time on one occasion.
Nonetheless, I cannot thank Felix Ogunmade & Co enough for all the wealth of knowledge and practical know-how imparted unto me.
Next, I worked at Morgan Cole Partners at Lekki, Lagos State in my fouth-year where I learnt extensively the art of Real Estate Management. Here, I went on trips with the Managing Associate to the Lands Registry at Alausa, Ikeja, inspected real property of our Clients, drafted a number of notices and correspondence to be sent outside the office, and made records of cross examination proceedings for the Managing Partner regarding our pro-bono cases.
In the summer of my Fourth-year as well, I worked at Fidelity Law Firm at Ikoyi, Lagos state, where I learnt and practiced debt recovery from financial institutions and drafted letters of demand.
Finally, during same summer, I worked at Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Banana Island, Ikoyi. This Firm equipped me with an understanding of the corporate structure and the beauty of team-work. At Olaniwun Ajayi LP, I worked with the Oil and Gas, Intellectual Property, Fintech, Dispute Resolution and Enterprise Departments. I was also on the team that worked on obtaining an injunction in our favour in the recently concluded case of Samsung v Total. I also took down minutes of meetings with our Clients such as Cars 45 ltd, conducted extensive research, proofread documents and worked on Articles. My experience at Olaniwun Ajayi LP is an unforgettable one as it brought me certain amazing friends and developed me as an all-round person and not just a Lawyer (in equity).
- Are you involved in extracurricular activities other than academics? How do you effectively balance them with your studies?
This is one area in which I seem to very much flourish like a tree by a brook. I am a Managing Senior Advocate at my University (The position of Senior Advocate of Babcock is conferred on only two (2) out of over one hundred and twenty (120) Students in each level from 200 level). I am also at the forefront of most of the societies in my Faculty albeit more expressive in the Moot and Mock Society. I am the Lord Advocate (President) of Legal Magnates International; Babcock University Chapter; a society which seeks to enable Students learn from a direct platform connecting them to members of the Bench and more experienced Students.
I am the founding President of Babcock University Legal Aid as well. The essence of this cause is to aid (as its name implies) members of the surrounding community in resolving their various disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution avenues. Lecturers at the Faculty also will take up pro-bono cases through this avenue where the Students are not licensed to function.
I am also the Company Secretary and Human Resources Manager at Commercially Aware; an organization which aims at demystifying Business terminologies in a bid to make Students more employable and to make available to young the professional capital market updates among other things.
A major strength in handling all of these and performing excellently at school work is the gift of Multitasking effectively without making one suffer because of the existence of the other. It may however not be advisable for one to be involved in so many things all at once so it does not affect one’s studies. This is where knowing yourself is important. Little wonder a Delphic maxim popularized by Socrates said, ‘Philosopher, know thyself’.
- Are there any challenges you have faced as a law student? How have you overcome them?
Oh of course I have faced multiple challenges as a Law student! Some, God has given me the ability to handle effectively; whereas I am still in the process of overcoming others. I will expatiate.
As a Law Student, I have had to turn in tons of term papers in very short periods of time, read long hours through the night for mid-semester exams, exams and tests, understand my Lecturers (their likes and dislikes, expectations and aversions) and so much more.
My backbone and sustenance through all of my trying times in school even presently is God, my mother, and the gift of true friends. This is where I restate the much stated fact that no one can go far without God. He has helped me so much and given me advantages where I fairly did not deserve it, and has made challenges gradually turn into opportunities and testimonies. I want to encourage everyone to make God the most important part of their lives. Also, it is important to maintain relationships with our parents and positive friends and/or connections. They are very pivotal to us making giant strides in the right direction in life.
- In what aspect of law do you intend practising and why?
This question is such that many Law Students tend to avoid, and this is not a bad thing. The difficulty in answering this question is probably because of the various areas and branches Law has, resulting from the inter-connected dimensions of human transactions and relationships. However, I intend to touch on all possible areas of Law before finally settling for Corporate Law and Dispute Resolution (both ADR and Litigation). This may change as I grow and become exposed to other areas of the Law practice.
- More law students are beginning to show displeasure for the litigation practice. Do you share this sentiment and what, in your opinion, is the root cause of this trend?
The Law Students showing displeasure for the litigation practice really are not to blame. The doors of the litigation practice are gradually being abandoned by disputants and Lawyers alike due to its negatively prolonged and incessant nature, coupled with cause costs, stress and strain. Another root cause is probably its limitation in party involvement and autonomy which is a major characteristic of alternative dispute resolution avenues.
I do not particularly share this sentimental displeasure for the litigation practice because so many disputes may not be solved by alternative means of dispute resolution, hence a need to resolve or attempt to resolve them via litigation. Also in order to reduce the case burden of the Courts, there are pre-action protocols to be complied with, where resort must be first made to ADR before an originating process is filed.
- Any role model and why?
The first name that comes to mind is Emeritus Professor I.O Agbede who has in so many ways shaped my life and career. I like to think of him more as my mentor than a role model. He is also currently supervising my dissertation on ‘The Civil Liability of Cattle Herdsmen in Nigeria’.
Another very important role model to me is Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi SAN. Apart from the obvious zenith standing of being the Managing Partner at Olaniwun Ajayi LP, a foremost Law Firm in Africa, and his incredible qualifications, he has been an encouragement to me in life and career. His all-round excellence; in life, faith, career and marriage are milestones which I aim at achieving.
- What other interests do you have asides the law?
Apart from Law, I recently developed a keen interest for the capital markets and the business and investment spheres. I also have an interest for forex trading, I have been a part of webinars on the subject and I am a cryptocurrency enthusiast.
Not to worry, I am not totally boring. I also enjoy travelling, going to the beach, karaoke, working out, eating exotic dishes (I like to think of myself as an Epicurean), mentoring and watching movies.
- What tips do you have for students as regards attaining the best internship experience?
I am quite excited about this question. Having secured a good internship placement, it is very easy to have a terrible working experience. Below are points which I have observed can help you attain the best internship experience.
- Be very respectful, but do not overdo it.
- Observe the work culture of the firms you intern at and act accordingly.
- Be attentive.
- Always take your note pad and pen when you are called upon.
- Make an excellent first impression.
- Be impeccably dressed always, and smell great (people love that).
- Never go late to work. You’re supposed to make a lasting impression.
- Be intentional about making and sustaining relationships while working.
- Doing the above, you will get to hang out with people and in fact get free meals!
- Where meals being sold are limited, get to the restaurant on time so you get to eat what you want and be happy.
- If you do not understand a task you are asked to carry out after you have listened attentively, ask smart follow-up questions or consult with intellectually dependable co-interns.
- Where do you see yourself in 6 years? Any plans towards hitting that benchmark?
Questions of this nature force one to dig into the drawers of dreams and desires and translate these dreams into human readable language. In six years, I hope to have concluded Law school, Master’s degree at Oxford of Harvard and my Ph.D. at any of those successfully. I also hope to have established an NGO solely dedicated to empowering widows and orphans, and work at a magic circle law firm (i.e Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer).
The first step towards reaching all of the aforementioned is me striving towards achieving the best undergraduate degree possible to start with. I have also started working on my relationships in the professional sphere. My other plans to achieve all of the above are brewing coffee. You will be able to drink it soon enough.