By Tobi Amoo
Hello guys, I learn’t you’ll be concluding your court attachment this week. How time flies yeah! It’s countdown to your return to school, and you SHOULD start thinking about your portfolio assessment.
The portfolio assessment is an integral part of the training and examination of students at the NLS. Although it does not contribute to your grades at the bar finals, however you must score a minimum of 70% in the assessment for you to be called to the bar. In other words, if you do not meet up or failed to attend the assessment, even if you scored a First class at the exams, you would have to repeat the externship programme and wait to be called the next year. Most of you are being called ‘barrister‘ ‘the law‘ already, so I’m sure that’s not an option for you. You must therefore take the portfolio assessment very seriously.
While the portfolio consists of essays on ethical dilemma/law firm management; confidential report and Power point presentation, the following commandments will focus more on the power point.
1. Thou shall not write what you know nothing about.
It’s not unusual for you to start calling your seniors to request for their power point slides. However, it should be a guide and template, not to be copied word for word. So if you’re using someone else’s slides, don’t copy slavishly as the panel may quiz you on any area of your slides.
Particularly the ‘skills learnt’ slide, don’t include a skill you know nothing about. For instance, if you don’t know how to move a motion (and you SHOULD!), don’t insert “I learnt how to move a motion” in your slides.
2. Thou shall not use an uncommon font.
Although some campuses allow you to bring your laptop computer and connect to the projector, majority of the campuses only require you to bring a flash drive containing your power point presentation to be inserted into a provided computer system. I know some of you are graphic artists, calligraphers, special effect gurus and all, but please keep the fonts simple and popular. The danger of using uncommon fonts in your slides is that they (the fonts) may not be installed on the provided computer system, hence converting your slides to Chinese.
Also, be careful with your font colours and backgrounds. Use black font on white background. You may also use white font on a dark background. Avoid font colours like yellow, orange, green et al.
Your fonts should also be legible in size. Don’t make the panel strain their eyes to read.
3. Thou shall not prepare a sermon
It is a brief power point presentation and not your final year thesis. Be as brief and concise as possible. You may adumbrate with your mouth if you choose (and you’re given the opportunity) but only key points should be in your slides. No stories or essays please. They’re called bullet points for a reason.
Your power point presentation should not exceed 16 slides, including the title slide and the ‘thank you‘ slide.
4. Thou shall practise with your slides.
After you have prepared and perfected your power point presentation, begin to practise with it. Don’t wait for the D-day. Familiarize yourself with the contents and slides, such that if the panel asks for a particular slide, you can produce it immediately.
Rehearse the presentation in front of your mirror or a friend, and work on areas of improvements. Make sure you can answer any question(s) that may arise from your slides.
5. Thou shall be computer literate.
If someone is preparing the power point slides for you, you’re not helping yourself. In fact, it defeats the purpose of the exercise.
If you’re not computer literate, it’s not a sin (wait a minute! In 2016?! It sure is a sin.) but please get yourself tutored. Learn the rudiments. How to plug in and eject your flashdrive. What a USB port is. How to open folders and files on the system. How to make your power point full-screen and how to activate the slideshow.
Please, challenge yourself to prepare the slides by yourself. You will be better for it.
6. Thou shall not use a virus infected flashdrive.
I’m sure you know how Law school is tough on schedule. They hardly reschedule students for portfolio assessment. You don’t want to be the one that infected the school’s computer with virus. You also don’t want to open your flash drive in front of the panel to see files-turned-shortcuts because of virus.
Take precautions to ensure your file is properly saved on the flash drive, and the flash drive is virus free. I would also suggest you borrow a friend’s flash drive, save your presentation on it too and take it along as backup.
7. Thou shall not miss your scheduled time.
Each student will be scheduled by date, time and venue and the schedule will be published for everyone. Make sure you note your date, time and before which panel you’re appearing.
Except for health reasons (for which you must call your mentor or SRC President ASAP) please don’t miss your scheduled time. If you miss it, not that you may not be rescheduled, but it will cost you precious time going from office to office to plead for reschedule.
8. Thou shall dress well
The shortest way to say this is to say: dress like you would for the dinner.
Gentlemen, wear your black suits please.
9. Thou shall bring along all required documents
This is the reason why it’s called a portfolio. Your portfolio should have your court and law firm log books; your essays on ethical dilemma and law firm management; your assessment of court and law firm; and a confidential report to be filled by your law firm. Make sure to go for the presentation with all of them for submission. They have their marks too.
Importantly, please note that the confidential report by your law firm must be SEALED. It’s natural for you to be curious about how you were accesses by your law firm but if it was given to you sealed, please DO NOT unseal it, as it may be rejected. If your law firm gives you the report unsealed, please make sure to seal it before returning to school.
10. Thou shall be bold
The panel consists of two members – 1 NLS lecturer and 1 independent (private practitioner) member. They will throw questions at you from both your slides and all areas of law.
Be calm and be bold. Even when you don’t know the answer, show confidence. Note that I did not say ‘arrogance’. Be polite but be bold.
Make sure you don’t allow yourself to be unnecessary ruffled. It’s not unusual to see students breakdown in tears especially when they cannot answer the questions thrown at them.
I will be willing to share my essays and slides as template. If you need, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Request for Portfolio Assessment Template“.
Also, if you have question(s) you want me to address on this blog, send it to my e-mail address above.
hey guys, I’m sure you are wondering if Tobi Amoo has taken over the blog or whether Ilemona is strictly for Nigerian Law School Students. NO, and NOPE! Ilemona is “randomly random” (yea, you can roll your eyes at that), and it’s why we are featuring these special editions for the Law School Students. And don’t you worry, for those who think Law is boring (seriously, where are you from ø_ø?)keep watching this space something is coming soon.For the Law School Students, if you missed the former editions click here and here. DON’T FORGET TO SHARE, YOU JUST MIGHT BE HELPING SOMEONE WHO WILL SAVE YOUR BUTT IN THE NEAREST FUTURE.