Nige­ria's best law firms and lawyers: Cham­bers Global 2017 rank­ing

Cham­bers Global 2017 is a rat­ing of lead­ing law firms and lawyers in var­i­ous prac­tice ar­eas such as Bank­ing and Fi­nance, Cor­po­rate/Com­mer­cial, Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion, En­ergy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources as well as In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty.

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - By Martins Hile

Cham­bers Global 2017 rank­ing of Nige­ria's best law firms and lawyers was re­leased last month by Cham­bers & Part­ners (www.cham­ber­sand­part­ners.com). The Cham­bers Global directory, pub­lished ev­ery year by Cham­bers & Part­ners, is a rat­ing of lead­ing law firms and lawyers in var­i­ous prac­tice ar­eas such as Bank­ing and Fi­nance, Cor­po­rate/Com­mer­cial, Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion, En­ergy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources as well as In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty.

Cham­bers' di­rec­to­ries are con­sid­ered a go-to guide for clients in search of the best lawyers and law firms across the globe. The rank­ings are the prod­uct of ex­ten­sive re­search con­ducted by a team of nearly 200 re­searchers, cov­er­ing over 200 ter­ri­to­ries.

A to­tal of 29 Nige­rian law firms are fea­tured in the Cham­bers Global 2017 rank­ing. Cham­bers said Nige­ria is a bustling le­gal mar­ket. Since 2000 when the first directory was pub­lished, the num­ber of law firms and lawyers in the an­nual directory has con­tin­ued to in­crease. With the in­clu­sion of In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty prac­tice area in 2016, the cov­er­age of the Nige­rian le­gal mar­ket has be­come more ex­ten­sive, as the coun­try en­tered the league of ti­tans of com­mer­cial law on the African con­ti­nent along­side Kenya and South Africa.

“By cov­er­ing more prac­tice ar­eas, we have a chance to speak to a broader va­ri­ety of peo­ple – lawyers and clients – and it is these

voices that give us a di­rect route to the pulse of the Nige­rian mar­ket," said Rachel An­nan­dale, Deputy Edi­tor of Cham­bers Global.

Cham­bers said the di­ver­sity of prac­tice ar­eas sup­ports the eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion agenda of the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment. A num­ber of sec­tors in the econ­omy are emerg­ing, in­clud­ing the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor where Nige­ria has wit­nessed an un­prece­dented ex­pan­sion of lo­cal fin­tech start-ups over the past three years, as the coun­try be­came a favourite des­ti­na­tion for ven­ture cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in Africa.

Cham­bers added that as long as the rule of law plays a cen­tral role in the Nige­rian busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, law firms will be con­sulted on new de­vel­op­ments in all sec­tors. Lawyers and law firms have an im­por­tant role in help­ing in­vestors in­ter­pret and nav­i­gate reg­u­la­tory guide­lines for struc­tur­ing trans­ac­tions in rel­e­vant sec­tors. Re­cently, im­prove­ments in Nige­ria's le­gal sys­tem and reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment have led to res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes be­tween some ma­jor multi­na­tion­als and reg­u­la­tors in the coun­try.

The Nige­rian law firms and lawyers are ranked in cat­e­gories or bands, with Band 1 hav­ing the high­est rat­ing. For in­stance, topranked law firms in Band 1 un­der the Bank­ing and Fi­nance sec­tor are Aluko & Oye­bode, Banwo & Igho­dalo, G. Elias & Co., Olani­wun Ajayi LP and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie. Jack­son, Etti and Edu emerged as the only first-tier firm un­der the In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty sec­tor.

Only four law firms fea­ture in all five prac­tice ar­eas cov­ered by the rank­ing. The law firms are Aluko & Oye­bode, one of the largest in­te­grated law firms in Nige­ria; Banwo & Igho­dalo, lead­ing Nige­rian cor­po­rate law firm; G. Elias and Co, one of Nige­ria's lead­ing busi­ness law firms; and AELEX, a full-ser­vice com­mer­cial and lit­i­ga­tion law firm. Jack­son, Etti and Edu is ranked in all prac­tice ar­eas, ex­cept En­ergy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Apart from the afore­men­tioned firms, other lead­ing Nige­rian law firms in the rank­ing are Tem­plars, De­tail Com­mer­cial So­lic­i­tors; F.O. Ak­in­rele & Co; So­funde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Bel­gore; ACAS-Law (Ade­petun, Cax­ton-Martins, Ag­bor & Se­gun); Aju­mogo­bia & Okeke; Odu­jin­rin & Ade­fufu; Still­wa­ters Law Firm; Ab­du­lahi, Taiwo & Co; O. Kay­ode & Co; Ge­orge Ikoli & Ok­ag­bue. Oth­ers are Wole Ola­nipekun & Co; Giwa-Osagie & Co; Ola­jide Oye­wole & Co; Solola & Ak­pana; Al­lan & Ogunk­eye; Kola Awodein & Co; Stra­chan Part­ners; Ba­bal­akin & Co; SPA Ajibade & Co; Ad­vo­caat Law Prac­tice; and Stream­sow­ers & Köhn.

Some of Nige­ria's best lawyers, ac­cord­ing to Cham­bers Global 2017, are Dan Ag­bor, Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Udo Udoma & BeloOsagie; Dr. Konyin­sola Ajayi, Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Olani­wun Ajayi LP; Prof. Gbo­la­han Elias, Prin­ci­pal Part­ner at G. Elias & Co; Asue Igho­dalo, Part­ner at Banwo & Igho­dalo; Gbenga Oye­bode, Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Aluko & Oye­bode; Dosekun Kofo, Part­ner at Aluko & Oye­bode; Ayuli Jemide, Lead Part­ner at De­tail Com­mer­cial So­lic­i­tors; and Funke Adekoya, Part­ner at AELEX.

Ak­pana T. Iboroma, Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Solola & Ak­pana, is classified as an Em­i­nent Prac­ti­tioner by Cham­bers & Part­ners.

Some lawyers moved up in the rank­ing over the last year, no­tably Ola­nipekun Wole, Prin­ci­pal Part­ner at Wole Ola­nipekun & Co; and Do­lapo Kukoyi, Part­ner at De­tail Com­mer­cial So­lic­i­tors. Mean­while, new en­trants in the rank­ing this year in­clude Nwokedi Afame­funa Fran­cis, Prin­ci­pal Coun­sel at Still­wa­ters Law Firm; and Nwokocha Uche, Part­ner at Aluko & Oye­bode.

Up-and-com­ing Part­ners in the En­ergy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources sec­tor is Stella Duru of Banwo & Igho­dalo. Ogun­banjo Aderemi of Odu­jin­rin & Ade­fulu is an as­so­ciate to watch in the same sec­tor.

Cham­bers also noted that there has been a grow­ing in­ter­est from law firms who want to be fea­tured in the an­nual rank­ings.

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