It is well-known among legal luminaries that when a law firm commands not just the respect of its peers, but the kind of briefs that yield huge sums that make bankers drool in envy, such a firm has landed in the top-tier league.
While barristers earn their stripes by the number of cases won in court, solicitors only get to play in the big league based on the quality of legal advisory services, corporate and commercial transactions as well as impressive legal skills they wield in a wide range of practice areas.
Ask many lawyers that know their onions across the country about Eyimofe Atake, a corporate lawyer of high repute, and you will definitely receive a good story about this man whose contribution to Nigerian law and the judiciary is almost unmatched.
Many would surely have good testimonies about him. Atake knows law like the back of his hands and he has demonstrated so much brilliance that many of his mates and counterparts consult him in knotty legal situations.
The Delta State-born lawyer is also a delight to watch in courtrooms; you could not but be enthralled by his articulation and aplomb. He was graceful in his fine grasp of legal intricacies and erudition of the law.
The brilliant lawyer and solicitor, who has many firsts in his kitty, by virtue of his rare accomplishments, is one of the few of Nigeria’s corporate lawyers who can rub shoulders with other top lawyers around the globe. Eyimofe has handled and argued contentious cases, especially in the field of maritime/admiralty law, constitutional, and commercial law at all levels of the courts, including contested appeals, both in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Some of those contested cases are landmark decisions.
He persuaded a Nigerian Court to be moved to New York to hear proceedings and take the vital evidence of some citizens of the United States who live there. The Judge agreed with him and proceedings were moved to New York. It was the first time in the history of Nigerian legal jurisprudence that a court was moved to a foreign land to hear proceedings. That case received a lot of coverage in the Nigerian and international press.
When a man with such an intimidating profile who has also contributed in high measure to the growth of Nigeria’s law celebrates his birthday, be rest assured that the world would also celebrate with him. That was exactly how it happened last Monday when he clocked 65.
Although the stylish lawyer is not given to frivolities or wanton revelry, he was celebrated by families, friends, close associates, staffers as well as admirers who poured encomiums on him for his impact on the lives of many of them.