Things I have learned as a city lawyer


Hi people,

Some of you who have followed MCLA from its inception will recall how I went to law school and got a job. It is not my first job but I must say that it is the first career defining work experience so far as it is right up my professional alley and at it, I have learned a whole lot.

I have learned that your fancy degree(s) might get you the job but only your character and attitude will ensure that you not only keep your job but thrive and excel at it. In fact, these days, many a masters degree holder gets turned back and gets confused: but I thought once I get a masters, the jobs will be lining up for me. These days, masters degrees are a dime a dozen. Everyone and their mama has it. It’s no longer the biggie it was 10 years ago and you need to show more to get the attention of employers and recruiters. I digress.

See, this post is not really about getting the job you want. Its aim is to show how one can enjoy and excel at the job you have. Here are some tips I have discovered whilst working in my law firm. I believe they are applicable anywhere. Enjoy!

1. Understand your role and discover ways to perform your job well

As a lawyer, I get tasks as mundane as writing minutes of a meeting (this is a general summary of what transpired at a meeting for future reference etc) to drafting an entire agreement from scratch i.e. without the use of a template. I have learned that both the seemingly mundane and seemingly important tasks deserve the same level of excellence. My role in the firm is not to draft important agreements. It is to be a useful lawyer and employee. This means if what will make life easier for my boss right now is to prepare an agenda, then an agenda I shall prepare. If tomorrow, I am needed to deal with the administrative aspects of a seminar, then that I shall do. If today, it is to meet with the head of a multinational, then meet I shall.

The point is you are not just there to do the sexy deals. You are there to move the organisation forward and make your presence and in fact, absence felt. Now don’t get it twisted, spending all your time doing admin work will not fetch you much. Wisdom is key.

Further, when you identify what your role is, it is not enough to just do your job. You must do it well and with pride too. Go the extra mile. Suggest an idea that has been playing in your head. Put in the extra oomph. I have watched great models get voted off America’s Next Top Model because they are not memorable. They take great photos and walk the runway well but they are not outstanding and a thousand others do just that. You need to distinguish yourself in your role and let it show that you are different.


2. Be a hard worker
Get to work on time. Make good use of the period you are at work. Minimise your gisting and chilling. Don’t go over your allocated breaks, don’t spend the day bb-ing, chatting on your phone, updating your status, using office internet to shop (trust me, you are being observed and even if you are not, it is a thing of integrity).


It is not enough to just be at work, work hard whilst there. Hone your skills, perfect your craft. If you are in my field, this means reading books, reading emails and ensuring that you are on top of it all, writing and generally endeavouring and working towards being better than you were last month. If you get appraised yearly, appraise your self half yearly. If you get appraised half yearly, appraise yourself every quarter. Your company does its bit by paying you every month. You have to do your own bit by ensuring you do not drop the ball.

3. Dress and act like a professional
Be a professional. Talk like a professional. Use the right lingo. Dress well. In my field, this means keeping your coat of many colours to a minimum or better still, for Church. It means dressing the way the partners in your firm dress not necessarily with the price tag but with professionalism.


Be friendly. Be engaging. Don’t just come to work, do the job and pack your bags. Have buddies. Be nice even as you focus on your job. This does not mean you have to become I go dye and the office clown but you get the point…

4. Have a can-do spirit
Don’t be the one who always notices the faults and ends with the words ‘it is not possible’, ‘I cannot do it’. Even if you have the gift of identifying the problems and drawbacks with a plan, always end with a possible solution. Clients don’t always care how you go about solving their problems. They do know they have problems or potential problems so they do not need you to highlight them all and end with ‘not possible!’. Yes, it might not be possible this way, but what about that way. Remember, there is always a way. Your company’s role is to find it. You can be the solution provider! Start thinking like the boss.

5. Know and respect hierarchies
Yes, this means knowing who’s boss and treating them accordingly. Your bosses range from the MD/CEO or Managing Partner, to the other partners to your HOD to the girl who finished law school a year ahead of you even though when you were in SS3 in QC, she was in JSS 3. That’s just the way it is, at least in my industry! Until you distinguish yourself and are consequently elevated, you might need to take orders or to put it mildly ‘instructions’ from someone who would is younger than your little ones who call you ‘Sister’. Yup! Leave the chip on your shoulder in your car. Remember it is a job. Be professional. This is not your family meeting or your home. This is work. Age is literally nothing but a number, an insignificant one. The only number that matters is your years of experience and how well you are doing your job, your client score card etc, not your age.

6. Take initiative
Like I alluded to earlier, merely doing your job will help you keep it but might not mean you will excel and be a high flyer. You will be just a normal worker, nothing special, just there. You need to push the boundaries, identify voids and ways things could be done better in the company as a whole and your unit specifically. Make suggestions. If your boss is not too much of a my way or the high way person, you could even dare to make a small change here and there and share with him/her after.

7. Not everything is about better pay and commendation
As nice as it is for all your handwork and excellent attitude to be noticed by all and rewarded by the big guys, it is actually for your own good and personal development. So don’t get all grumpy and discouraged if a red carpet welcome does not await you the day after your brilliant suggestion saved the day. And please don’t give up because your wonderful ideas etc in March does not reflect in a big bonus if any. It is not about immediate applause and commendation or pay or reward. It is about building yourself to a certain level that your ‘outstandingness’ cannot but go noticed AND rewarded…

8. Be prayerful
I saved the very best tip for the last. The power of prayer for favour and grace cannot be overemphasised. No matter how much you hustle, without the touch of God, your efforts might be frustrated. Without God, the builders build in vain and without God, the watchmen watch in vain (Psalm 127).


So there you have it guys, my tips for excelling in your careers. I’m sure there are much more you can add to the foregoing. Please do in the comment section below. Even the word of God says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 22:29. Also, Colossians 3:22 says, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God”. Okay, you are not exactly in a servant/master relationship but you get the drift…Then again, who are we kidding!

Have a lovely weekend guys!!!


Life as a Job Hunter


Hey people!!!

How’s it going? Hope you guys are well. I’m doing well over here but mehn life as a job hunter aint fun o! Lol! At all at all. Well, truth is many of my friends are still chilling, basking in the euphoria of not having to read Agaba or Ogbuanya again or any other Law School text for that matter. Most have left these shores in search of well deserved breaks. A few eager beavers already have jobs. I get bored easily and I’m definitely done with the thrill of being free. I AM DONE!!! I am so bored!


My parents are not helping the situation either. I remember during NYSC in 2011, coming home late because of work was neither out of place nor alarming to my parents. Now, if I get home at 8:00 pm, my dad would have almost mobilised a search party. I have now officially been given a curfew! LOL! *shedding hot tears*

With respect to the actual job hunt, a lot of people keep saying ‘Temi your CV is great, you don’t have any problem’ but I already have received a NO from one oil company after the 2nd stage. It was a bit painful sha, I won’t lie but I know if it is for me, I will never miss it. So I have promptly shelved it under the ‘Not my portion’ file. 80 percent of companies do not even get back to you so you have no feed back whatsoever! What of the ‘promisers’? Hmm. Most people don’t intend to help. Those very few that intend to probably don’t have the ability so in thev end, it is all God’s favour that opens doors.

Another issue I have been experiencing is ageism. Although I finished University more than 4 years ago, Masters, NYSC and the 18 month Law School programme have gulped the years which means though I am technically not an experienced hire, I’m not exactly a fresh school leaver. Most entry roles are for fresh school leavers and they specify an age limit, usually 25 which yours truly has said bye to two years ago. I didn’t get considered somewhere because of that sole reason. One lesson: Dear friends, experience counts far more than degrees. I pretty much have 3 degrees but the typical potential employer makes that look more like a barrier rather than an advantage. So guys, after Uni, please start work and work for at least a year before Masters. If I could turn back the hands of time, I probably will not do anything differently. I trust God that all will be fine and I am hopeful. Anyways! Enough of my tales. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I get my job. For now, I’ll keep praying, applying, trusting God and meeting my curfew at home.

Oh by the way, when I was moving back home, I expected to be earning at least N400,000.00 . It seems even those that have been working for 8 years don’t earn that. Most people laugh at you scornfully when you say you expect that. It seems as though even a N250,000 monthly pay is a dream for most and the norm is between N90,000 and N150,000.

I still maintain that you should know your worth and keep praying. God will open doors in Jesus’ name. Amen.

My current fave song by Lara George-Dansaki. Heard it on Inspiration FM yesterday and I bought the CD in traffic today. So uplifting.

Do you have any job hunt experiences to share? Holla!

Have a great day guys!


PS: There is this amazing training programme going on every two weeks and after the programme you get a chance to work as a customer service representative in a great company.  Had I been in that line, I’d have jumped at it. I’ll tell you all about it soon.

He made a Way


My name is Olawamiri Ayo. Everyone calls me Ola except my mom and dad who insist on saying it as it is. I’m the first of 4. I was the only child for the first 8 years of my life after which my parents proceeded to have 3 more children (all boys) in quick succession. I will be 29 in November this year (2013). Olamide is 20, Oladele is 19 and Olaitan is 17. All three are in a Private University studying Economics.

My tale is one of encouragement…


I finished secondary school (FGGC Shagamu) in 2000 and after 3 years of JAMB drama, I finally got admission into OSU to study Business Administration. I just wasn’t able to get into Unilag, IFE or UI- my original choices. I served at a big communications firm in 2008 and since then, it has been one search for a job to the next. As you might have figured, I wasn’t retained. I was terribly disappointed. I gave that job my 100% devotion.

Then, my family lived in Idimu and the firm was in Ikoyi-two opposite ends of Lagos. I would wake up at 4am each morning and be at the bus stop by 5:10. When I was lucky, a family friend who works on the Island would pick me up and when I was not, I would take a bus to Obalende and then find my way to the office, usually on foot. I would get to work really early, all tired and sweaty and freshen up in the bathroom, grab a 15-minute nap before anyone else got to work. By 7:30, I’d be on my computer, responding to emails and generally getting work done. I never left the office before 8pm. Most times, I’d stay till 9/10 in order to follow the family friend home. Whilst I waited to be picked up, I would not just sit idle, I’d get busy and stay busy till he called me that he was entering the street.

Most people did not know I was a corper. I attended meetings alone sometimes and I was almost certain that I would be retained. About a month before passing out, a new girl joined the firm and she was asked to ‘shadow’ me. I was feeling like a boss lady who was now showing someone else the ropes. I was elated. Thinking back now, I seemed to be the only one who was happy. I guess like they say, you are always the last to know you are being ‘stabbed’. It turns out I was showing my replacement the ropes. She was a graduate of UI and had just returned from the US armed with a Masters Degree. I was told I would not be retained but I should feel free to check their website for openings and not hesitate to apply. Like they forgot that I knew the drill. Only about 2 percent of the work force got employed through that website.

Unlike my fellow corpers who were never given any hope of being retained where they served, I had not been applying as I was certain of my place at my posting so I was literally at home for about 6 months after service. I applied anywhere and everywhere. I would wake up in the morning, do my chores and then head for the cyber cafe near the house searching for jobs frantically. It got so bad that the guy there had struck a weekly deal with me instead of paying hourly. I just wanted somewhere to go to every morning wearing a skirt and blouse. My parents, bless them, had turned me into a live-in house maid and it was not unusual for my mom to call me with a list of things to do before she gets back. I was totally and completely frustrated.

sad and frustrated

I hated going for events where I would meet old mates because the first question friends will ask is, ‘so what are you up to these days?’ and after 6 months of having finished NYSC, it was no longer cute to say, ‘I just finished serving’.

After 2 years of doing nothing, I started accepting ushering jobs. We would usher people at events and I would see my classmates from Shagamu and OSU walk into the event looking like they owned the world. A few would say ‘hi’ while most just kept walking. I guess they didn’t want to have to explain to people how they know the usher.

I did the ushering job for about 5 months until the day I saw my ex walk in with his pregnant wife/girlfriend/fiancé. I quit on the spot before they saw me, went through the back door, jumped on the first okada I saw without even telling him where I was going. The okada ended up taking me all the way from Sheraton Ikeja to Idimu- that is normally a 2-3 hour drive. I cried on the okada till I got home. I just didn’t understand how I would search for a job for almost 3 years. I just did not get it. Thankfully, no one was at home when I got there. I went into my dad’s room, took a bottle of red wine, locked myself in my room and finished the entire bottle. I slept till about 10 am the next morning.

That was how I started drinking. I was a secret drinker. I could not continue taking dad’s bottles of wine because he would notice and I certainly could not afford them so I turned to Don Simon. I hated the taste so I would buy Tasty Time and mix it. Sometimes, I’d finish a whole pack before 9 am. I would bounce out of my room in a very chirpy mood, hug my dad and shout the loudest ‘Amen’ during morning devotion and my mom would admire my good nature and how I was taking the whole lack of job issue very well. Little did she know that it was all thanks to alcohol. I heard weed helped one escape reality. If there was somewhere I could get it from without being found out, I’m sure I would have dabbled into that too.

I was very dependent on the alcohol and would take it before facing the world each morning. No one ever found me out. I was the master of deception. Thank God that was the only vice I had and thank God I preferred solo drinking because I’m sure I would have been led into worse things had I not been a lone drunkard.

One random day during my Don Simon/Tasty Time breakfast, I got a message from a group I had joined and someone there shared the story of how they were able to give up alcohol. I was one of those who sent back responses. I said ‘Wow, God is great. What a great testimony!’ I wrote as I sipped on my concoction.

I was at my lowest one day when suddenly, I thought about my life and by myself, went to God in tears and pain and I told Him how angry I was that I had no job even after slaving away in school to get a 2.1 and slaving away during my service year. I ranted in tears for almost an hour, inebriated yet sober. I asked for His help and mercy and I promised to stop with my pattern of drinking.

The miracle did not happen right away but it eventually came. About 2 months after I had that moment with God, I got a call from a multinational I had applied to exactly 7 months before. A polite lady asked to speak with me and then asked if I am still available and interested in the programme. I did not have to write a test. I was interviewed 3 days after on the 31st of March and I was given a letter of employment to begin on the 1st of April-the next day! It was unbelievable! I mean, as I walked out of the meeting with some of the big bosses, I was immediately ushered into HR and handed my already typed up and signed letter which means the ‘interview’ was just formality.

The day before the interview, I had spent about 6 hours in the cyber café near my house researching the company, finding out about all their core areas, recent developments, etc. Lo and behold, I did not have to say one thing from my research at the interview. They simply asked about my experience and what I can bring to the company and voila! I got the position. It might interest you to know that of all 5 of us on the programme from Nigeria, I am the only one without a Masters degree and also the only one without a degree from a foreign university, the oldest (I think I even have passed the cut-off age) and also the only one with a Business-esque (non-professional) degree. The other 4 are: lawyer, economist, accountant-with ICAN and accountant-on level 2 of CFA.


Now, I have a job! I will first be a Graduate Trainee for 2 years then confirmed thereafter. I’m in Nairobi for 6 months, Addis Ababa for another 6, Johannesburg for another 6 and the final 6 in London. I look at my official email address, my office laptop and iPad, my official blackberry, my ID card and just smile. Now, I have a tea lady assigned to my desk area when I am in Nigeria who keeps asking, ‘aunty, tea or coffee?’ and I remember when I used to do the asking. God, You are good and Your mercies endureth forever!

Now, I’m happy to set up a LinkedIn account and to re-activate my Facebook. I’m paid a very decent salary (equivalent of 3 times what I would have been earning presently had I been retained at the firm I served) and I get to go for conferences and events like every month. Each time I pass by an usher, I smile and greet them. Usually, they look at me stunned, not understanding why a delegate is taking so much effort to greet them. I have stopped drinking totally. I don’t even take energy drinks. I renewed my relationship with God. I also met the best man ever. He has not proposed or anything but I see where we are headed and it looks like a good place. I have learned to trust in God for the littlest of things. Every experience one faces is like a slap of paint on a canvass. It might not make sense now. It might even look like a mess is being made. But when the Almighty is through with His work, when the Potter is done with the clay, you will be turned into the best-finished product you can ever imagine.


I was going through intense depression and alcohol was my method of escape. For others, it is drugs, sex, anger, violence or even total silence and denial. The truth is every successful person has one story or the other to tell of not so rosy times past. We need to learn to remember to trust God and wait for his perfect timing. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” Isaiah 40:31.

We also need to be more aware of those around us-our siblings, parents, children and friends. Learn to check on them and see how they are really doing. The strong ones might actually be those who complain to you everyday. The ones you should really pay attention to are the silent ones who smile and act like all is well. They might be dying inside or worst still, high, like I used to be.

All in all, I thank God for my life and my friends. A word of advice: Even as you prayerfully wait on God, don’t just sit and fold your arms. For those who are serving, in Med school, Law school etc, start applying now! Even if you are sure of being retained where you are or are sure of one job dad’s friend promised you, still just start applying when you are not desperate and there is no pressure on you. Most application processes these days in good companies span between 3 months to 6 months so you better get on it! Learn a craft or a trade. Do something!

Don’t be tempted into escapism when things are looking down. When you get back on earth, your issues and problems will be there, waiting patiently for you with legs crossed. Instead, speak to someone you can trust and who is sure to give you sound advice and lead you to God in prayer.

Finally, enjoy each phase of your life. A friend once told the story of how he had to latch on to the back of a moving bus in order to get home each day. Now, he drives around town in his brand new car. You think you have it bad? People have worse tales to share. So keep the faith and know that all is gonna be just fine!


Been long you saw me :p


Hey my lovelies,

It is with a huge sense of shame (lol) that I type this post. I have no excuses for my hiatus. Actually, I do. Good ones too and yes, I shall bore you with the details thereof.

The past three months have been very interesting for me. I went through some shitty personal stuff in February that really got me low- I mean I was literally taking 10 minute breaks to weep in the toilet! I actually got caught by a colleague doing same on my birthday. Thankfully, I was able to explain it away. I’m sure she did not believe me sha, but oh well! February was the month of transition for me-from corper to worker, from mid 20s to late 20s, from being rigid in my thinking to being a tad more open-minded. It was all too much to take in and deal with sometimes but I thank God who was faithful through it all.

Remember when I was a bit unsure of what to do next? Well, I joined this law firm somewhere in Lagos and had the most amazing experience with them. It was not just about the work (which was great) but about the entirety of my experience there. It was a whole new world where people are friendly, laugh, joke around yet work like their lives depend on it.  It was very different from the MNC where I served where though good, by 6pm, most people would be off. Sleeping in the office for many at this place is commonplace. There is no opening time and there is no closing time. Emails are flying well into the early morning. No one ever says no to a client-the aim is to always find a way to ensure they go away happy.

I looked forward to going to work everyday! I learned so much from working there and the Friday when I said my goodbye after 3 months with them, it was with a really heavy heart. They were no longer like co-workers, they were like a mini extension of my family. All I can say is being there was a healing process for me as well as a period of growth. I’ve moved to another law firm now and it’s been good. I really thank God for the opportunities he has extended my way, for the amazing friends I have made, for the relationships I have built and the thorns He has taken away from my life.

One thing I have learned and I want to share is this: when going through ish in life, don’t try to downplay it or act like it doesn’t bother you. Instead, acknowledge your feeble frame and your frailty, look to God and grow. As you go through, realise your errors and ensure you do not make them again. Then dust your self off and keep walking with your head held up.

Random gist: I went to the cinema after a long while a week ago or so and I slept through the movie, lol. My friend actually enjoyed it so I know it was a good movie but I was so tired. I can’t even remember the title but it was about a girl who had an accident, suffered amnesia and forgot her boyfriend. I’ll make sure I see it again. I saw American Pie: the Reunion on Monday. All I can say is please do not see it with a prude or your mother. Typical American Pie. Totally hilarious up until the very last scene, ‘Great movie’! lol (You’ll understand that if and when you see it.)

Law School starts on the 2nd day of June. I am very excited but in a little corner of my mind, I am a tad worried. In this new firm I’m in, I’m realising how much reading I have to do, there is so much to refresh my memory on. I left uni in 2009 and I have pretty much not touched core law since then so when I see Law school students on Chambers Attachment spewing forth sections of the Evidence Act, drafting Affidavits, Writs of summons etc, I get a bit edgy and say a silent prayer to God to help me and I know He will. I learned no foreign trained student has ever come out with a First class in the history of the Nigerian Law School. Hmm, nothing is impossible with God!

I wish you all a fab month of May and I promise not to be doing monthly posts anymore. I leave you with this Word from Revd. Funke Felix Adejumo when she ministered at Daystar: if your husband’s life does not improve upon marrying you, you are a witch! Hehehe.

Have a beautiful Wednesday.

Enjoy some of my pictures which give a mini glimpse into my life in the last couple of months. Finally, can someone please offer guidance and tips on what to take along to Law School, what things are a must, what will be confiscated, what documents, generally the essentials, what kind of clothes etc. Thanks in advance.

My cocktail when I fell ill last month.

Olumo rock with 9 girl friends in April

At work in April. Yes Im still a Coke Addict: Vintage top by Uchy. Link to her webstore: Free delivery anywhere in Lagos!!! Shoes by Inkechi (If you are tall like me and find it sometimes difficult to get your shoe size, give her a call. She’s got it all. Amazing, fab party, work shoes!!! 08100801303)

Caught some part of the bouquet at a wedding in April :p

D and V’s wedding at Civic Centre in April. Amazing! That’s where I caught part of the bouquet btw. The comedian was bare jokes.

Friend from ISI’s engagement in Ibadan in April

Off for an event in April

That’s all folks!


NYSC: Done and Dusted!


I just want to say Baba o Esheeeeeeeeeee!!!

Thank You Jesus!!!

I’m so happy. I’m so grateful to God! Today, I officially passed out of the NYSC Scheme! I really thank God for seeing me through from moving back home to registering for NYSC to starting the program. I use this moment to remember those who fell on the journey from bomb blasts to election brouhaha to personal issues. I pray God will comfort their families.

I thank God for my friends, my colleagues and every Batch A 2011 corps member. I don’t know about y’all but it wasn’t an easy journey. From the drama in Abuja during registration, to the never ending queues on camp, to CD day sun bathing to Final Clearance ordeal, hmm, it was indeed service to my nation. But through it all, I have had a Father, the King of kings, Ancient of Days, Almighty I Am that I Am who has stood by me. I worship Him indeed.

Thanks to all my amazing friends and colleagues who made working so much fun. Thanks to my bosses who built me up in more ways than I can mention. Thanks to my parents who have been my rock through it all. Thanks to my brothers who never turned their backs on me. Thanks to my dearest friend who helped me in too many ways for me to describe on here. Thanks to my guardians who have shown me what love means. Thanks to MCLA readers: you mean so much to me. Thanks to everyone! I really am overwhelmed right now as I type so I’ll just stop it.

Remember the post where I told you guys my brother was annoyingly asking me what next? Well, in a way, he gave me the necessary push I needed. Lemme offer a bit of background: You see, when I was moving back to Nigeria, I was thinking that employers will literally be lining up at Murtala waiting for me and fighting over me once I landed, lol. I thought getting a great job would be a breeze. So when during NYSC, after so many applications, I wasn’t getting the kind of responses I wanted, I was shocked. I mean, I had the qualifications so I had no idea why I was finding it tough to secure employment. I didn’t want to wait a day after NYSC to get a job so it really was getting to me as NYSC drew closer to an end. This is what inspired this post

Anyways, after writing that post, I took some time to ask God what EXACTLY He had in mind for me and there and then, I got my answer: LAW. So I wrote a strong cover letter, reviewed my CV and googled ‘5 best law firms in Nigeria’. I got my top five and sent an email to all of them. To the glory of God, I got responses from all. I narrowed my choices to the best two and was able to secure a pre-Law School appointment with them both and I have started already. God great God!

One lesson is this: when you are walking according to God’s plans, a certain ease is attached thereto. He knows how to sort everything out. It got to a  point where I would not just apply online but drive round and physically hand out my CVs to companies. But when God showed up or rather, when I discovered His will, doors opened of their own accord. So thank God for me. I actually had to take the day off to go for Passing Out Parade today. Thank You Lord.

I pray for everyone who passed out today that God will sort us all out by His grace! He will give you all reasons to testify! Amen.

Here is a picture of my and my certificate. My hair is a right mess so I had to blur it a bit sowwy:

God bless you all.

Temiville (former Ajuwaya)xoxo

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