Developing the intellectual property legal field will be one of the most important priorities for the Nigerian legal industry in coming years.

Olugbemiga Ojo

Managing Director, Lakinberg

Our focus is on commercial law. I call it "corporate commercial," meaning we offer provisional legal services and structure in corporate institutions of commercial transactions. Everything revolves around trade and commerce. Our core is transactions, legal requirements, risk, and regulatory intricacies. This includes helping international companies wanting to enter Nigeria for business purposes. Typically, they are interested in expanding their business frontiers to make more profit or gain further ground. We provide regulatory and legal services for all of these purposes. We started our operations in Nigeria in 2010 and are now present in Dubai and the UK. In the US, it is only an international trade company, which can offer corporate structuring or create trade synergies. Lakinberg started as a law practice, and in Nigeria, law is competitive. We remain leaders in the market with our level of professionalism. It is all encompassing, which involves doing a detailed job and providing a detailed service. We are also versatile at trading. Versatility is not limited to the knowledge of law. It makes one acknowledge business practices and international best practices. This allows a firm to get ahead of their contemporaries in law practice. Since most of our clients are international, we want them to feel confident in the services we deliver, whether it is creating a business presence or signing transactions, contracts, or partnerships. We also do oil and gas transactions. Local clients approach us to help structure their contracts and advise them on regulatory and legal compliance.

Ken Etim

Managing Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo

To date, beyond our traditional practice areas, including the ones mentioned, we have expanded our frontier into new areas such as tax advisory and disputes. In this area, our client base covers high-net-worth individuals, local corporations, and foreign entities doing business in Nigeria. The list keeps growing by the day. We have also established a media and entertainment practice, because, looking at the horizon and activities happening in Nigeria, it is the next big player—much bigger than oil, gas, and other natural resources. In that regard, we met with creatives in Nigeria at our inaugural media event that brought together actors, musicians, artists, financiers, and regulators in the media and entertainment space. On top of this, we have also added competition law as a practice area. Competition has always been regulated on a sectoral basis, but we now have a competition and anti-trust law in Nigeria. Interestingly, the statute establishing our competition regime also creates the framework for consumer protection in Nigeria. We have thus started to talk about consumer protection and related issues as a practice area and have the skillset for all these. Equally, we have delved into Islamic finance because Islamic financing arrangements provide an additional breadth of financing for infrastructure development. We are number one in this market in relation to financing. We also have a new practice area that is focused on Nigerians in the diaspora, because there are many Nigerian expats who need to do things by way of investments domiciled in Nigeria.

Afam Nwokedi

Managing Partner & Group Head, Stillwaters Law Firm

We follow a slightly different trajectory as an intellectual property law firm, with a launch into media, entertainment, technology, and sports, areas that hold many prospects for the future. Admittedly, there is not much capacity in Nigeria in terms of legal practice in those areas. Few people can draft specialized contracts in those areas. It is not about a lack of general knowledge, but the specialized knowledge required in those areas. We trained ourselves to be knowledgeable in order to improve our capacity and be able to add value. That was how the firm expanded from a single-track IP law firm to a multi-functional, multi-dimensional one in 2016. Our projects so far have included helping the movie industry with protecting its IP content. We have assisted clients by offering capacity to negotiate with major firms such as MGM and other producers. We know what to do in navigating the bumpy roads in the entertainment industry. Other than the content produced by our IT section, we do not produce content for the entertainment industry. Instead, our IT section produces software and internal programs that we run and use in our office, of which the Mark Tracker is one. There is great awareness and drive toward specialization in the legal sector in Nigeria.