NBA Lagos Law Week: ‘Time to Upgrade’, Lawyers Told

Steve Aya

The Nigerian Bar Association Lagos Branch recently held its annual Law Week event, which brought together legal professionals from various sectors. The theme, “Charting New Legal Frontiers: Practice of Law in Nigeria, Cross-Border Alliances & Partnerships”, reflected the Association’s commitment to exploring the evolving landscape of legal practice.

The event featured a Keynote address, plenary sessions, and discussions on emerging trends and challenges in the legal profession. Participants emphasised the importance of adapting to global shifts in legal practice, embracing technology, and protecting clients’ personal information in the face of cybercrime.

Lawyers have been told to upgrade and equip themselves, so that they can better face the competition coming from International law firms. These were the views of most Speakers.

Setting the tone for what was to come, the Keynote Speaker, Mr Segun Osuntokun, whose Address was titled “Adapting to Global Shifts in Legal Practice” spoke extensively on the need for law firms to be prepared to face the coming of International firms who are coming to Nigeria with well structured administrative style, well functional offices, good salary structure, and  urged Lawyers to rise to the game in paying their staff well so that they can retain them, because Nigerian Lawyers are very talented and are sought after by a lot of International firms.

“We must embrace technology and the new world of ICT, and the development of AI and its solutions. While protecting your clients is very important, you should think about it in line with cybercrime and its attendant implications, particularly when it comes to the very vexed issue of stealing of clients personal information with you. This is an area where international law firms invest a lot ,and you should do the same’’, Osuntokun added.   

Following the Keynote Address, the first plenary session delved into the topic “Global Legal Trends and their Impacts on Nigerian Legal Practice: Navigating the New Norms”. Expert Panelists including Mr George Etomi; Dr Gbolahan Elias, SAN and Dr Eyimofe Atake, SAN, provided insightful perspectives on emerging trends and sparked thought-provoking discussions among attendees.

Mr George Etomi, stated emphatically ‘’that the Nigerian legal system needs modernisation to stay competitive globally. He noted that we should assess the sector’s worth, to understand the growing international interest. Additionally, collaboration with the Government is crucial, to ensure Nigerian law firms are prioritised, particularly for foreign clients with cases in the country’’.

Earlier in his Welcome Address, the Chairman of NBA Lagos, Mr Olabisi Makanjuola, said that this year’s theme, “ChartingNew Legal Frontiers: Practice of Law in Nigeria, Cross-Border Alliances & Partnerships”, reflects our commitment to exploring the ever-evolving landscape of legal practice with precision and purpose. Picture this, not just as an ordinary gathering, but as a crucible of ideas where seasoned professionals and aspiring legal minds converge to engage in meaningful discourse.

“Through insightful debates and thought-provoking discussions led by our carefully selected lineup of Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators, we aim to shed light on the most pressing challenges and exciting opportunities facing our profession today and tomorrow. Of particular interest, will be the riveting discussion on the future of the Nigerian Bar Association. This presents a unique opportunity for us to scrutinise visions, and actively participate in shaping the future of our esteemed association.

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Planning Committee for the event, Mrs Folashade Alli, SAN, spoke extensively on the need for Lawyers to adapt to the global shifts in the legal world. She said, “We are navigating an era where global partnerships and cross-border collaborations are not just beneficial; they are imperative for success and sustainability”.

The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm, as legal professionals from various sectors came together to exchange ideas and build connections. The week-long event ended on Saturday, with Lawyers having fun with members of their families  and loved ones at the Muri Okunola Park. 

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