Law News
Rewarding hardwork ‘ll drive legal industry – ex-AGF

Rewarding hard work and diligence among lawyers, law firms and related bodies will drive the legal industry and encourage upcoming lawyers in the country, said the former Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Chief Bayo Ojo. Ojo who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said this while fielding questions from journalists during the 2015 Law Digest Africa Awards (LDAA) presentation ceremony which held last Friday at the Oriental Hotels in Lekki, Lagos.

He described the award put together by Law digest as an ideal to increase capacity building and something to look forward to. “It’s innovative, it’s good; it’s to recognise hard work and diligence in the legal industry, It is an ideal to aspire more, it will increase capacity building and something to look forward to.” The  LDAAs are a brand new concept in recognising and honouring excellence in the African legal services market by recognising the contributions of individual lawyers, law firms and in-house teams.

Publisher/Editor, Law Digest, Mr. Seyi Clement, said that the award is designed to reward excellence in the practice of law across Africa, saying, “We gave awards to about 17 law firms and individuals, so it’s not just lawyers alone. Law firms, individuals, in-house practice and also those who provide support services to lawyers, such as IT services providers to lawyers.

“We look at the quality of work they do, not really the size. We’re looking at what they do, what people say about them, what their colleagues, clients say about them. “This is the third year the Law Digest journal has been in existence and the vision is to promote African legal practice through articles,” he said.

Mr. Gbenga Oyebode whose firm, Aluko & Oyebode, was confirmed “Law Firm of the Year award,” said: “I feel particularly proud, I’ve been chosen for the law achievement award, it’s a lifetime achievement. What this proves for me is that the last 35 years of practicing law have not been in vain and it also galvanises me to do more in future.

“Typically we have all these western publishers celebrating themselves and celebrating primarily Southern African law firms, so, it’s a great opportunity for us to have someone who takes a look at the best law firms on the continent but again focuses on the Nigerian law firms that have done extremely well and chooses to celebrate us.”

Chairman, British-Nigerian Lawyers’ Forum, Mr. Stephen Akinsanya, added that the awards will raise the profile of Nigerian and African lawyers, stating “We want to obviously celebrate Nigerian and African lawyers who have achieved a sense of excellence in their professions and their chosen fields and also to highlight the legal fraternity in Africa and Nigeria.

“The awards will also let people know that just as Africa is developing, there are law firms with Nigerian lawyers who are more than able to deal with the issues that crop up in the commercial world of developing the economy in Nigeria.” Business Development Director for Law Digest Mrs. Bebe Clement, said it’s a magazine behind African lawyers globally, “so that they can compete on the international stage and to raise the profile of African law firms.”

She disclosed that the awards is going to be an annual event and it is prompted by the need to recognise and reward the hard work of those who are making waves in the legal profession in Africa. “Law Digest is distributed in six countries in the world including The UK and America, and then the West is trying to get into Africa, particularly in the area of law.

“They have their skills, they have the money and if we’re not careful, they will come in and take the big, lucrative jobs. This is something that we’re already seeing. However, The Law Digest is currently in nine countries across the world: Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Australia, The USA and The UK.

Some of the key awards categories include: Life time achievement award, Managing Partner of the Year, Female Managing Partner of the Year, Young Managing Partner of the Year (under 40), Law Firm of the Year, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year, M&A Team of the Year, Banking & Finance Team of the Year, Capital Market Team of the Year, Media and Telecom Legal Department of the Year, Support Services Provider of the Year and General Counsel of the Year, among others.

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