Nigerian Lawyers now ready to take advocacy to the next level.

Nigerian lawyers can keep up with ongoing legal developments in the world by exposing themselves to best practices. That is why lawyers need to keep improving their professional skills. Some lawyers took that step recently when they participated in a brief-writing workshop organized in Lagos.

The workshop, Brief Writing Masterclass, was organized by The Write House. The 2-day training held 25-26 March 2015 at Sheraton Lagos. It attracted participants from various law firms across the country.

At the workshop, participants were trained to write winning briefs. Chinua Asuzu, The Write House Dean, facilitated the training. His book, Anatomy of a Brief, was the manual for the masterclass.

The participants reported that they were pleased with the training. Emeka Anolefo, a senior partner from Emeka Anolefo & Co, said the “training is a must for all lawyers. The book, Anatomy of a Brief, is loaded and rich. I feel satisfied being part of the class. I learnt so much. I hope to be [even] better after reading the book. Great class.”

At the end of the workshop, The Write House presented certificates to the participants.

The Write House is the acknowledged authority in Nigeria on legal-writing curriculum and pedagogy.

Brief Writing Masterclass- Learn to write killer briefs.

Chelsea Hotel Abuja, 24-25 June 2015

Brief Writing Masterclass is boldly interdisciplinary in its approach to persuasive writing. Communications theory, linguistics, logic, psychology, rhetoric, and semantics combine with law to make this course absolutely peerless.

Winning Briefs, Winnowing Issues

To write a winning brief, you must first winnow the issues.

Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court agrees that issue formulation is key to writing persuasive briefs. Following is an excerpt from Scalia’s interview with Bryan Garner, the famed legal-writing coach:

Garner: Herbert Wechsler is reputed to have said that he would spend half his time writing a brief just on crafting the issues. Does that make sense to you?
Scalia: That makes total sense. That makes total sense.
Garner: Why?
Scalia: That’s what the case is about, especially at the Supreme Court level. We don’t care who wins or loses. We care about what the legal issue is that is going to decide not just this case but hundreds of other cases. So the crafting of that issue, “Look, this is the point of the controversy. This is the core of it.” Man, that’s everything. The rest is background music.

Attend Brief Writing Masterclass to learn how to write winning briefs, submissions, and written addresses.

Dates: Wednesday 24-Thursday 25 June 2015.
Time: 9am-5pm each day.
Venue: Chelsea Hotel Abuja.
Fees:-
Before 14 June 2015: N150,000.
14-20 June 2015: N175,000
After 20 June 2015: N200,000.

Please pay to The Write House, 0153954433, GTBank.
• If you pay by online transfer, enter your full name in the Reference or Remarks column of your bank’s online platform, or email transfer advice to chinua@writehouseng.com.
• If you deposit cash or cheque, scan and email deposit slip to chinua@writehouseng.com.
• Once we confirm your payment, we shall register you and prepare your certificate in advance.

Brief Writing Masterclass

Course Highlights

Reporting the Reporters

‘The Write Partner’ assesses, criticizes, or praises the language of selected passages from Nigeria’s leading law reports.

Aikhadueki [2014] 15 NWLR (Part 1431) 530- Supreme Court of Nigeria

Under Facts, the law reporter begins as follows:

The appellant was arraigned with other accused persons at the High Court of Imo State, Orlu and charged with the murder of one Christian Owerreoma on the 15th day of August 2002 along Orlu Road Junction by Mgbidi, Orlu Judicial Division contrary to section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30, Vol. 11, Laws of Eastern Nigeria 1963 as applicable to Imo State.

This passage is faulty in several respects:

1. It should have started: Police Corporal Bonny Aikhadueki . . . . This would humanize the appellant. Facts sections (whether in briefs, law reports, or judgments) should read like stories. Using parties’ names enhances the story element.

2. Why couple arraigned and charged. The report should have started: Police Corporal Bonny Aikhadueki was charged, along with others, with murdering Christian Owerreoma.

3. There is no need to precede the victim’s name with one.

4. The court and date are unnecessary. They appear in other, more formulaic parts of the report.

5. The venue of the crime is unnecessary, being irrelevant to the finding.

6. The judicial division is unnecessary, as territorial jurisdiction was never an issue.

7. The statutory citation should not include chapter and volume of the Laws of Eastern Nigeria.

8. The passage should have read:

Police Corporal Bonny Aikhadueki was charged, along with others, with murdering Christian Owerreoma. The charge was brought under section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Law as applied in Imo State.

Law Degrees and Their Meanings

The undergraduate degree in law is Bachelor of Laws (LLB). In Nigeria and the US, you need a law degree (LLB in Nigeria; JD or LLB in the US) before you can become a lawyer. LLB is spelt LLB or LL.B., never L.L.B.

But many lawyers do not understand how come or why this strange abbreviation. Well, it comes from Latin. The Latin word lex means law. The plural of lex is legum. In Latin, you abbreviate a plural noun by doubling the first letter of the noun. An example is cc for copies, and pp for pages; hence LL for laws. LLB stands for Legum Baccalaureus, Latin for Bachelor of Laws. Your degree is Bachelor of Laws, not Bachelor in Law, and not Bachelor of Law.

LLM (or more rarely LL.M., but never L.L.M.) stands for Legum Magister, Latin for Master of Laws.

LLD (or more rarely LL.D., but never L.L.D.) stands for Legum Doctor, Latin for Doctor of Laws.

The discipline, law, is already expressed inside these degree titles. So you cannot have “LLB in Law”, or “LLM in Law”, or “LLD in Law”- just LLB, LLM, or LLD. Please review your CVs.

JD (Juris Doctor) is the American equivalent of an LLB. An SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science, Doctor of the Science of Law, or Scientiae Juridicae Doctor) is a research doctorate in law. It originated from the US and is offered in that country as well as in Canada.

Types of contract clauses

The following types of clause are typical in contracts:

An assignment clause permits, prohibits, or restricts a complete transfer of contractual rights by one or more of the contracting parties to a non-party.

A confidentiality clause prohibits or restricts disclosure of specified information (usually related to intellectual property or trade secrets) to non-parties.

A consideration clause sets out what one party undertakes to do or not do in return for the other party’s entry into agreement. It also typically provides the price of the contract or terms of payment.

An entire-agreement clause provides that the contract represents the parties’ entire understanding on the subject matter of the contract. It expressly or impliedly incorporates and consolidates into the contract any oral or prior agreements the parties had reached on the subject matter.

A force majeure clause shields parties from liability for failures to perform contractual obligations when unavoidable events beyond the responsible party’s control have caused the failures. Such unavoidable events include natural disasters and wars, and are sometimes called ‘Acts of God.’

An indemnification or indemnity clause imposes on a party financial responsibility for specified types of claims, damages, or losses. The responsible party undertakes to ‘hold harmless’, ‘indemnify’, or reimburse the other party in the event of any such claims, damages, or losses.

A liquidated-damages clause imposes a fixed financial penalty that a party who breaches the contract or any specified clause must pay to the innocent or injured party.

A severability clause provides that even if some provisions of the contract are declared invalid, unenforceable, or void, the rest of the contract remains in force. Severability clauses are common in agreements with arbitration clauses.

A termination clause sets forth how, when, by whom, and why the contract may be terminated.