Folake Solanke receiving the award
By Akinwale Akintunde, with IBAâ€ˆReport
The International Bar Association’s Women’s Interest Group (WLIG) has presented first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief FolakeSolanke with the 2012 IBA Outstanding International Woman Lawyer award.
The Award, which recognisedSolanke's professional excellence and her ongoing contribution to the advancement of women within the legal profession, was presented on April 27 at the IBA’s 5th World Women Lawyers Conference in London with rapturous applause for the recipient.
Delighted about the recognition, Chief Solanke said, 'It is a pleasure to be recognised by such a distinguished group, and I am honoured to be the recipient of the IBA’s Outstanding International Woman Lawyer Award.
'In my professional life since 1963, I have laboured to have a positive impact on younger lawyers. I emphasise professional responsibility to uphold high professional standards, to reject mediocrity and aspire to reach the very top of the profession.’
A woman of many firsts, Chief Solanke who turned 80 in March was appointed as the first female Commissioner in the Western region of Nigeria in1972 and became the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1981. She was honoured as a Fellow of The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2009.
Chief Solanke has a long and distinguished human rights record, particularly with respect to the rights of women and children.
She also contributed significantly to FIDA (International Federation of Women Lawyers) to confront societal evils such as sexual assault against women and girls. This led to her election as President of Zonta International, an international organisation of business executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide, in 1994.
Maria Wolleh, Senior Vice-Chair of the IBA WLIG said, ‘Chief Solanke is truly deserving of the IBA’s 5th Outstanding International Women Lawyer of the Year award. She has distinguished herself from an extraordinarily strong field of contenders by her professional accomplishments and I am delighted that at an event where leaders in the legal profession have assembled to network, exchange experiences, and discuss topics of global significance to women practitioners such a legal luminary should be recognised.’
The award, sponsored by LexisNexis, includes a gift of a charitable donation of $5,000 in the name of the honouree to an organisation of her choice.
The IBA’s 5th World Women Lawyers’ Conference which attracted almost 200 lawyers from across the world took place from April 26 to 27, 2012 in London.