Nigeria’s best law firms and lawyers
A comprehensive and dependable ranking of top Nigerian lawyers and law firms has been released by Chambers & Partners. Published on March 17, the Chambers Global 2016 directory (www.chambersandpartners.com) contains 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. It is a product of extensive research conducted by a team of 150 researchers.
In any country, business and investment go hand-in-hand with sound legal practice. Having an efficient legal system and integrated regulatory environment helps in encouraging capital flows and the development of sustainable markets. Improvements in Nigeria’s legal system and regulatory environment in recent years have facilitated the structuring of many cross-border investments in the country, while ensuring investor protection.
For five years, between 2010 and 2014, Nigeria attracted foreign direct investment inflows worth $32.4 billion, according to the World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investment. FDI inflows declined in 2015 to an estimated $3.4 billion from $4.7 billion recorded in 2014 as global oil prices led to a slowdown in Nigeria’s economic growth. But notwithstanding, investor interest in Africa’s largest economy remains high.
Publishers of the Chambers Global report say Nigeria’s economic diversification agenda has important ramifications for domestic and international investors. Lawyers and law firms worth their salt have an important role in helping investors interpret and navigate regulatory guidelines for structuring transactions in relevant sectors. The increase in funded projects in Nigeria will translate into heightened legal activity for transactions and disputes.
“Never has the need for reliable legal representation been so important,” says Rachel Annandale, Deputy Editor of Chambers Global. “Our rankings have grown over the past years to reflect this market reality.”
A quick look at the Nigerian rankings will show that since the first publication in 2000, there has been a 650% increase in ranked lawyers. “It’s a bustling legal market in Nigeria, but the choice can be overwhelming. That’s why clients turn to Chambers, we only rank the best in the business,” Ms. Annandale stated.
The law firms and lawyers are ranked in categories or bands, with Band 1 being the highest rating. For instance, top-ranked law firms in the Nigerian Banking and Finance sector, according to the latest Chambers Global legal directory (Band 1) are Aluko & Oyebode, Banwo & Ighodalo, G. Elias & Co., Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie.
G. Elias and Co, one of Nigeria’s leading business law firms, is the only firm that is ranked in all five practice areas of the ranking, including, Intellectual Property, the newly introduced category of the ranking. The repertoire of deals undertaken by the firm include derivatives transactions in the banking sector, petroleum acreage sales agreements in the energy sector, private equity transactions in the corporate sector and capital markets disputes.
Leading Nigerian corporate law firm, Banwo & Ighodalo, is also a top-ranked firm in the Corporate/Commercial, Energy and Natural Resources and Intellectual Property sectors of the report. The firm’s areas of expertise include capital market, securities, mergers & acquisitions and corporate finance. Aluko & Oyebode, one of the largest integrated law firms in Nigeria, is ranked in all practice areas, except Intellectual Property. Established in 1993, the firm has an extensive litigation experience and was named Nigerian law firm of the year in 2010 by Who’s Who Legal. The firm was also named law firm of the year at the 2014 edition of the ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards.
Also appearing in four different categories are ÆLEX, a full-service commercial and litigation law firm; Templars, also a full-service law firm with offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Uyo; and Jackson, Etti and Edu, which emerged as the only first-tier firm under Intellectual Property sector.
Some of Nigeria’s best lawyers, according to Chambers Global 2016, are Dan Agbor, Managing Partner at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie; 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 and Ayuli Jemide, Lead Partner at Detail Commercial Solicitors.
The report also provides information on some Associates and emerging Partners. Up-and-coming Partners in the Energy and Natural Resources sectors are Dolapo Kukoyi, a Partner at Detail Commercial Solicitors and Stella Duru of Banwo & Ighodalo.