Tunrie Bisi-Afolabi (“TBA”) is an exceptional lady with a most admirable passion for academic excellence. I recently asked her a few questions on making the best grades as a Law student and I believe her answers will be of immense use to both undergraduate and postgraduate law students. Do Enjoy:
Can you give a brief overview of your educational background?
TBA: I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Law with First Class honors from the University of Surrey, which is one of the top Universities in the UK. Thereafter, I attended the Nigerian Law School, and was successfully called to the Nigerian Bar in 2016. I have recently been accepted at the University of Oxford to undertake the BCL programme (the University of Oxford’s Masters in Law) commencing in September 2017.
Your view on intelligence: a natural gift or a cultivated attribute?
TBA: Well, I believe everyone is gifted with intelligence, although some might be more inclined to particular fields than others. But beyond the gift, there is a need to cultivate it diligently. Thus, what sets a person apart is how they cultivate their natural intelligence. Essentially, while we have all been wonderfully and fearfully made by the great architect, one must then become the architect of his own fortune. This is where attributes such as hard work, determination, focus, drive and dedication come in.
What were the most thrilling experiences for you as a Law undergraduate.
TBA: I had the most amazing undergraduate experience! I loved my University. I met the most amazing people! I was also very privileged to have had the opportunity of learning from academics who were at the forefront of their fields. Over the course of my law degree, I learnt new ways to analyse and break down ideas, and to be in charge of the material, rather than being intimidated by it.
You recently started a new venture focused on empowering the youth especially those interested in a legal career, tell us more about that?
TBA: Yes, this is true. I recently started my blog- twentytwocrowns.com – an online platform dedicated to empowering and encouraging students working towards an academic degree in Law, as well as other university degrees. On my blog, I provide practical tips, advice and lessons for University students, especially law students, on how to excel in their chosen fields of study. I draw a lot from my own personal experiences as a law graduate, and now lawyer.
Will you say there is a method to obtaining a First Class degree in Law?
TBA: I don’t think it is an exact science. I say this because people have different ways and paces of learning. So I think the first step is to discover oneself and find what works for you as a person, and how you learn and how you assimilate ideas. However, there are some tips that could come in useful (I have written an article on this actually). One thing I think is important is knowing the difference between working hard and working smart; and I’d say in making a first, you will need a bit of both. There are also other factors like: understanding the material and displaying a proper understanding of it; being able to engage with the material, as well as properly analyze it. Originality is also an important factor- finding ways to make your work stand out. There is also of course- the Grace of God.
What are your future aspirations
TBA: I think what motivated a career in law for me was the idea of putting someone else’s cause before mine. Being a voice for the voiceless. So it is my hope that no matter what field of law I find myself, I would always seek to positively influence people and impact lives. I think this is very important in any field or endeavor, especially in light of the current problems facing Nigeria. We are the only ones that can fix these problems ourselves, and I’d like to play a role and contribute to that conversation.
What’s your take on the relevance of a Masters in Law as compared to an MBA?
TBA: I think it depends on what your interests are as a person. If your legal academic curiosity has not been fully satisfied at the undergraduate level, then a Masters in Law is for you. But if you feel the need to diversify your interests, delve into the business world a bit, then an MBA is great. However, there’s nothing stopping people from undertaking both an LLM and an MBA, I know of people that have done this.
You recently got into the prestigious Oxford BCL programme, can you tell us a bit more about that and the challenges with getting into the programme?
TBA: Yes this is true. I was very honoured to have been offered a place on the course, especially as it is extremely competitive. I think the most daunting aspect of the application process was finding ways to make my application stand out. I tried to do this through the strength of my written essay and my academic references. However, I was initially hesitant to apply because of how competitive the admission process is; so I was very humbled when I was offered a place on the course. So I’d say to people considering the BCL to just apply and take that first step, you never know what could happen. Overall, I am grateful to have been offered a place on the programme.
Do you see yourself practising in Nigeria in any capacity in the foreseeable future?
TBA: Definitely. My ultimate goal is to return home and find ways to be useful to my country, and ultimately to contribute to the legal profession back home.
I dream of a Nigeria where everyone knows what they need to know about the law.