‘Every Lawyer Must Develop Logical Reasoning and Critical Thinking Skills’

Dayo Adamolekun

Please, give a brief introduction of yourself?

My name is ‘Dayo Adamolekun. I have been practicing law, for over a decade now. Currently, I am a Senior Associate and the Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group in Kusamotu & Kusamotu, a Nigerian and Pan-African commercial law firm, with offices in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Onitsha, with wide correspondent relationships with law firms across the globe.

I attended Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria where I got my LLB. I then attended Nigerian Law School, Abuja where I obtained my BL. Additionally, I recently concluded a Master of Law programme, with special bias in Energy and Natural Recourses Law, at the University of Lagos.

My areas of practice/interest include dispute resolution, international arbitration, oil and gas/power, election matters, infrastructure, international trade and corporate/ commercial practice.

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria. I’m also a member of the International Bar Association, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) Nigeria Branch, and Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) (NIM). I am also a public affairs analyst, and speaker at local and international conferences.

Have you had any challenges in your career as a Lawyer, and if so, what were the main challenges?

I have had my fair share of challenges as a private legal practitioner, from day one. Of note, is the poor earning while still a green horn. The take home pay, couldn’t take me home. The earning was not much, but the learning was much, so as to increase my competitive advantage.

Each case you handle, also comes with its own peculiar challenges. For instance, I have handled some good cases, but had no good witnesses to lead credible evidence, in support of the case. This is problematic, because no matter how good you are as a Lawyer, you need credible evidence by competent witnesses, to win a case.

What was your worst day as a Lawyer?

In a particular instance, I made the mistake of going to court, without studying the case file exhaustively. An issue arose in court, and I could not properly address the court on the issue. Nonetheless, the good thing is, all the experiences over the years have been valuable, and are part of the process that has sculpted my quest to become a consummate professional.

What was your most memorable experience as a Lawyer?

The first time I presented a case, in court. This was in 2008, and I was doing my NYSC in Bayelsa State. My principal then gave me a file the day I resumed work, to go to court the following day. I was instructed to argue an application for summary judgement, before the Chief Judge of the State – Justice Kate Abiri. I made sure I read and researched extensively on the application, that day. However, after announcing my appearance in court, my confidence took flight, as I was intimidated by the fact the Chief Judge drilled some senior Lawyers, whose cases were called before mine. Thankfully, before long, I regained my confidence, argued the application, and the Judge delivered a favourable judgement. Having my first appearance before the Chief Judge, and being able to articulate my position, in spite of the initial confusion, made the experience unforgettable to me.

Who has been most influential in your life?

This is a very tough question, in that so many people have been influential in my life at different stages, and phases. I will not be able to do justice to this question, but I shall make an attempt here. I will start with the Almighty God – the supplier and expounder of knowledge. I have been a beneficiary of His grace all through. Also, I learnt a lot from my late father, Pa Michael Adamolekun’s martinet lifestyle, and my mother, Mrs Felicia Adamolekun’s daily prayers and care. I will similarly mention my wife, Eniola Adamolekun, and my children. They keep me buoyed, and provide the love and stability in my life.

Professionally, so many people, particularly, my bosses and some of my classmates/friends who are doing very well in legal practice, have been momentous to me. I will mention my boss, Mr. Ayo Kusamotu, who has taught me the business angle to law practice. I admire his energy and dedication to work. Late Chief Ope Okusanya, also influenced me in so many ways. I admired his social and advocacy skills.

Why did you become a Lawyer?

To be honest, I would say that I studied law by happenstance. I can still recall that while I was in senior secondary school, I was more at home with Fine Arts. I was good in drawing, and I became the best student in Fine Arts. The Fine Arts teacher then, Mrs Ajiboro, encouraged me to study the course, and I actually applied to study Art and Design at the Polytechnic, Ibadan in 1999. Again, some friends also encouraged me to study Law, English language or Mass Communication, in view of my sterling performance at the Senior School Certificate Examination. I eventually decided to study Law, after some attempts to study English language failed.

What would be your advice to anyone wanting a career in law?

Becoming a Lawyer, is an exciting and noble goal. However, there are a number of things to consider before you start down the road, towards accomplishing this career. First, you must develop logical reasoning and critical thinking skills. These are essential, to the practice of law. Analytical skills are necessary for all practice areas, whether you’re structuring a multi-million dollar deal, or developing a trial strategy. Legal issues can be very complex, and solutions are not always straightforward. Finding an answer, would require a significant amount of analysis, research, discussion, and hard thinking. You need to be able to handle uncertainty, and exercise critical and creative thinking.

Again, it is important to know early that, Law school doesn’t really teach you how to practice law. You will need to learn on the job. Start practice in a reputable and a full- service law for some years, before diverting to other areas of practice.

It is also pertinent get a good mentor in the profession. Mentorship will also give a budding Lawyer, an idea of the area of law to focus on and specialise in. Needless to state that, litigation and other traditional areas of practice have already become overcrowded, with many Lawyers competing for limited opportunities. However, there are untapped opportunities for Lawyers in emerging areas of law, such as Electricity Law, Intellectual Property, Sports Law, Entertainment Law, Cyber Law, Solid Minerals and so on. In order to take advantage of these opportunities, there is need for capacity building and acquisition of competencies in these specialised areas.

If you had not become a Lawyer, what other career would you have chosen?

I would have chosen a career in Fine Arts or Mass Communication, if I had not become a Lawyer.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I hope to be a recognised as a go-to professional, in my areas of practice in Nigeria and beyond. By God’s grace, I hope to have also become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and bagged doctorate degree in Law.