The Business Year

With the economy improving and growth on the horizon, lawyers have ample opportunities in new areas of the economy like entertainment, sports, and mining.

Konyinsola Ajayi

Managing Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP

Olaniwun Ajayi LP stands out in terms of innovation, technology, and Fintech. Another area in which the company is growing is leisure and entertainment. The majority of law firms are strong in pure IP, trademark, and patents, but we have taken a different approach and are focusing on music, arts, entertainment, sports, fashion, and design. A significant part of our past work was in banking and finance, power, and infrastructure. Other than that, project financing for the oil and gas industry is our forte amongst other things. One area of opportunity is the banking sector. Having Nigerians at the helm of affairs leads to better communication, as they understand the local market and the risks related to it better than international banks. In terms of the retail market, there are big opportunities, but domestic players need to do extensive work to cash in on them. Supporting financial inclusion is the key here. Law firms like ours have a big role to play in all the aforementioned markets. Other than that, we are also eyeing opportunities with SMEs.

Olukayode Ajulo

Founder, Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law

Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law was born out of a determination to impact society and humanity, using the instruments of law and best professional practices. We have been able to come this far by the grace of God and because we have remained focused and have consistently deepened ourselves in the legal knowledge, studying and fetching experiences both locally studies and elsewhere. One of the most important aspects of our firm is that we have excellent filters in our recruiting system and we maintain certain measure of standards. We are often extremely strict in recruiting new lawyers because we want to hire intelligent and excellent attorneys with sound knowledge and sterling characters. Personally, I am more into commercial and corporate practice, while human rights are a passion for me. We also have partners who are experts in oil and gas and others in real estate, and, as a result, we are extremely diversified. However, we explore other areas too and seek to engage new personnel in other areas of practice.

Clement Ighodarho Osuya

Partner, Clement Ighodarho Osuya

Innovation is the driving force at Osuya & Osuya Law Firm. There is no end to the opportunities available in the legal profession here, though the system in Nigeria is structured in such a way that most law firms focus on litigation and other areas of practice that have existed for many years. Osuya & Osuya Law Firm does not just follow what has existed in the past; our practice is based on innovation and creative ideas within the legal profession. This approach helps to drive our law firm. The Nigerian legal profession is unique compared to many other countries. When Osuya & Osuya Law Firm talks about wanting to lead in the corporate commercial field, this does not mean we will not practice in other areas of law; however, corporate commercial law has a wider scope compared to other areas of legal practice. Activities such as business, insurance, IP, and mergers and acquisitions all come under the banner of corporate commercial law. Our dream is to become one of the leading commercial corporate law firms in Nigeria and the biggest in Africa.

Ken Etim

Managing Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo

The firm started in 1991, and in 27 years it has clearly defined recognizable footprints in Nigeria and the continent. We provide a basket of services, though to make it easier we broke them down into five groups, the largest being the corporate securities and finance group. It is the largest in our group by revenue and makes up the bulk of the work that the firm is territorially and globally recognized for, namely banking, securities, capital markets, project finance, and corporate finance law. The second-largest, though fastest-growing, area in the group is what we call the energy natural resource group, where we have oil, gas, power and mining. We have a disputes group that does litigation, mitigation, and arbitration, as well as an intellectual properties practices group where we do our information technology work. The newest of our practice areas is our shipping, aviation, and international trade group. Oil and gas is key for the firm’s growth because in Nigeria, power has been a problem—and will continue to be—until we get it right.

Afamefuna Nwokedi

Principal Counsel & Group Head, Stillwaters Law Firm

The majority of our clients are active within the IP realm associated with manufacturing, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, retail, technology, media and entertainment, hospitality, and so forth. Many years ago, most of the industrial property issues that we handled were inflows from external jurisdictions; however, in the last few decades, we have seen tremendous rise in the number of matters pertaining especially to designs and trademarks. These are areas that are in the forefront of most IP practices. The entertainment industry also plays a major role as a result of the rise of Nollywood. We handle a few copyright issues for the creative industry in Nollywood. There are two components at play: the music and the film industry. The music part has experienced massive growth, and it is a much simpler process to handle. However, the movie part brings more challenges, as more often than not, it also encompasses the music sector. Most disputes that we have handled in the entertainment sector have been resolved through mediation. A few are in court though. Mediation is in its infancy here.

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