Lawyers consider different factors when deciding on which law firms to work with. It could be because the law firm specializes in an area that is of interest to such lawyer or for some other reasons such as salary, the possibility of huge bonuses, rankings in legal directories, work environment, growth and learning potential, or some kind of competitive edge that comes from working with a particular law firm.
In a recent survey conducted to ascertain the Nigerian law firms lawyers find most attractive to work in, the following law firms emerged.
1) ALUKO AND OYEBODE
Aluko & Oyebode is one of the largest law firms in Nigeria and provides a wide range of comprehensive legal services. It offers world-class legal services to multinational companies, local entrepreneurs and pro bono clients. The firm was founded in 1993 and has over 80 attorneys. It has offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt; the major commercial centres of Nigeria.
The firm and its attorneys have received recognition for excellence from several international bodies, including Chambers Global, IFLR and Legal 500. The firm was named the African law firm of the year in the African Legal Awards 2018, the Nigerian law firm of the year 2010 by Who’s Who Legal, Law firm of the year at the 2015 Law Digest Awards and Law firm of the year 2016 at the ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards. It was ranked as a top-tier firm by The IFLR 1000 in 2018 and The Legal 500 in 2017.
Aluko & Oyebode recently ranked top tier Nigerian law firm in the 2021 edition of the Legal 500 EMEA. The firm was given a total of 10 individual rankings, and the chairman of the firm Kofo Dosekun, is recorded to still be the only lawyer in Nigeria to have been inducted into the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for work in Banking, Finance and Capital Markets. The firm received tier-one rankings in four practice areas – Banking, Finance and Capital Markets; Commercial, Corporate and Mergers & Acquisition; Dispute Resolution; Energy and Natural Resources.
The firm was recognized as the industry leader in Chambers Global 2021 and was ranked in five practice areas – Banking and Finance, Corporate/Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Projects and Energy. Additionally, the firm received Band 1 rankings and the most individual rankings for a law firm in Nigeria.
The firm recently advised Allianz Nigeria Insurance Limited in connection with the acquisition of the entire shareholdings of its minority shareholders by its core shareholder, Societe Fonciere Europeene B.V through a Scheme of Arrangement.
2) BANWO AND IGHODALO
Banwo & Ighodalo is a top-ranking Nigerian law firm established on 1 February 1991 with a resolve to create a world-class law firm. The firm is known for providing innovative, competent, cost-effective and well-timed solutions. It is structured as a partnership and comprises over eighty solicitors.
It is consistently listed as a top-tier firm in legal rankings and retained the lead position for the second year in the recently released ratings by Legal 500 EMEA for the year 2021, as it emerged as the only Nigerian firm with tier 1 rankings in all 6 practice areas – Banking, Finance and Capital Markets; Commercial, Corporate and Mergers & Acquisition; Dispute Resolution; Energy and Natural Resources; Shipping & Transport; Real Estate & Construction. The firm also received 15 individual rankings across these 6 main practice areas in the Legal 500 EMEA.
In line with the firm’s goal of maintaining industry leadership, the firm’s partnership recently approved the admission of Mr Chinedum Umeche, Mrs Ayodele Adeyemi-Faboya and Mr Akindeji into the firm’s partnership with effect from 1 May 2021.
The firm recently advised the Appzone Group in connection with its US$10 million Series A investment, led by Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers Growth Fund LP. The investment will see Appzone expand its banking technology across Africa and support the Group in building the next generation of infrastructure for digital financial services on the continent.
3) OLANIWUN AJAYI LP
Olaniwun Ajayi LP has in nearly sixty years, distinguished itself as the leading Nigerian commercial law firm. The firm provides bespoke, client-focused services and is driven by the need for excellence. The firm has a team of over 100 lawyers, including multiple silks, and a broad range of services across virtually all the sectors of the economy.
The firm has been constantly ranked as tier one firm by all the leading international legal directories, including chambers global, IFLR 1000 and Legal 500. It has a consistent Tier I ranking for Corporate Commercial, Banking, Finance and Capital Markets transactions by both Chambers Global and IFLR 1000, and is involved in some of the largest and most complex commercial transactions in the country.
One of the firm’s partners, Dr Krushchev Ekwueme was recently ranked as a leading individual in Dispute Resolution in the 2021 Legal 500 rankings. Also, Mr Wolemi Esan, another partner in the firm was recently ranked as a leading individual in Energy and Natural Resources
Olaniwun Ajayi LP recently advised the Chapel Hill Denham Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund – the first listed infrastructure debt fund in Africa on its NGN1.8 billion (c.US$4.7 million) debt financing of Havenhill Synergy Limited, for the construction of solar mini-grid across twenty-two communities across Oyo and Kwara states in Nigeria, under the Nigerian Electrification Project managed by the Rural Electrification Agency. The project, which in terms of scale, is one of the largest of its kind and is the first phase in a series of renewable mini-grid projects being undertaken by the Havenhill team, is expected to significantly contribute towards the provision of renewable, clean and reliable power supply to rural unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria.
4) UDO UDOMA & BELO OSAGIE
UUBO was founded by Senator Udoma Udo Udoma as Udo Udoma & C0., in 1983 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most dynamic commercial law partnerships in Nigeria. The lawyers in the firm specialize in working with the firm’s Nigerian and non-Nigerian clients to create and implement innovative transactions and to facilitate business in Nigeria and throughout West Africa. The firm has a reputation for seeking to actively develop legal solutions and for providing sophisticated legal advice in the chosen areas of specialization.
UUBO was recommended as a top tier firm in five practice areas in the Legal 500 EMEA 2021 Edition. The practice areas include Banking, Finance and Capital Markets; Commercial, Corporate, Mergers and Acquisition; Dispute Resolution; Energy and Natural Resources; Real Estate and Construction.
The firm recently advised on the offering of US$650 million in guaranteed senior notes by Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc on the London Stock Exchange. The firm acted for Citigroup Global Markets Limited, J.P Morgan Securities Plc, Nedbank Limited, Rand Merchant Bank, Societe Generale, The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, Natixis, FCMB Capital Markets Limited, UBA Plc, United Capital Plc and Zenith Bank Plc (as initial purchasers). The transaction is the largest-ever oil and gas bond offering by a Nigerian-based issuer in the international capital markets and was concluded despite the current challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Templars is a full-service law firm with the know-how to handle the legal needs of clients in Nigeria’s peculiar business environment. The lawyers in the firm are well versed in domestic and international business transactions involving strategic alliances and business arrangements, and work daily with all types of businesses, large and small, to negotiate, structure and document their transactions.
Templars recently advised Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a leading Nigerian independent energy company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange on the offering of an aggregate of US$650 million in guaranteed senior notes to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. The transaction is significant for being the largest ever oil and gas bond offering by a Nigerian-based issuer on the international capital markets. The firm also recently advised Kuda – a London based Digital challenger bank, offering mobile-first banking services in Nigeria, on its successful US$25 million series ‘A’ Fund Raise.
The managing partner of Templars, Oghogho Akpata, has been ranked as a senior statesperson in the recently released 2021 edition of leading international directory, Chambers and Partners (Global). He is one of only two lawyers ranked as Senior Statespeople in Nigeria.
Also, the firm has been ranked as Nigeria’s largest law firm by Law.com International in the maiden edition of its ranking report, Africa Top 50 (2020). The report, compiled in collaboration with Africa Legal, assessed law firms on the basis of lawyer headcount and geographical spread, culminating in a ranking of Africa’s 50 largest commercial law firms. Templars lawyer headcount as at the time of compiling the report was 101 lawyers including 15 partners.
Templars partners, Oghogho Akpata, Chike Obianwu, Inam Wilson and Ijeoma Uju have been recognized as Global and National Leaders in the 2020 Edition of Who’s Who Legal (WWL), one of the world’s leading directories of legal practitioners. The firm’s partners, Oghogho Akpata, Olumide Akpata, Adewale Atake, Chike Obianwu, Zelda Akindele, Yemisi Awonuga and Desmond Ogba have also been recognized as Highly Regarded Leading Lawyers in the 30th Edition of the IFLR 1000.
In conclusion, lawyers and law firms play a major role in resolving disputes at local and international levels and an efficient legal system and regulatory framework is necessary for the development of sustainable markets in any country. Therefore, law firms that want to attract the best talents should ensure they pay attention to some of the factors that are usually considered in determining the attractiveness of a law firm. This would result in the efficient delivery of legal services and a viable legal system.