The eagerly awaited compendium on the first-ever nationwide ranking of pre-eminent lawyers in Nigeria is to be unveiled at the forthcoming Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference in Abuja.
According to Emeka Nwadioke, Editor of the ground-breaking all-gloss compendium titled NIGERIA’S TOP 100 LAWYERS, “All is set for the unveiling of the compendium. This is very heartening for all of us, moreso as tremendous work has gone into the listing. The research has been painstaking in our efforts to ensure that the work is as up-to-date as possible. I dare say, it is a collector’s item.”
The full list of the 100 top lawyers features leading litigators, transactional lawyers and lawyers in the academia who have shaped the legal industry over the years. They include acclaimed litigators such as Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Rickey Tarfa, SAN and ‘new kid on the block,’ Adeniyi Adegbonmire who was listed prior to his recent inclusion among lawyers to be conferred with the coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on September 21.
In a Foreword written by highly respected jurist and Emeritus Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Hon. Justice George Oguntade (CON), he said of the compendium: “Rigorously researched, dispassionate and factually presented, the compendium is written with lucid simplicity and fine turn of prose, devoid of ostentatious and patronising language. The authors have also maintained professional detachment by adopting global best practices and by conducting the peer review survey in a most professional manner. I find it particularly refreshing that the authors are not taking payments of any kind for the listing. This will undoubtedly boost the integrity and standing of the listing. I am not unmindful that lists of this nature invariably engender debate. I am however comforted by the fact that such debate will positively impact future editions of the work.
“This compendium is unique in several respects, not least the fact that it comprises 100 ‘mini-biographies’ of Nigeria’s preeminent lawyers. It highlights the honorees’ career paths and landmark professional accomplishments including precedents where apposite, thus providing a beacon especially for law students, young and mid-level lawyers vis-à-vis the success factors in the legal profession.”
Former Chambers Global editor, Lloyd Pearson also heaped praise on the listing more recently, describing it as a brave effort.
Noting that the publishers shoved aside several odds in completing the survey, Pearson observed that “despite what appeared to be insurmountable challenges, City Lawyer Publishers bravely went ahead and released the results.”
Pearson has worked on several legal directories including ‘Chambers Global,’ ‘Chambers USA,’ ‘Chambers UK,’ ‘Best Lawyers,’ and ‘Best Law Firms’ survey. He later joined Herbert Smith, a leading international law firm, and moved to White & Case in New York to manage the firm’s global directories programme. He is the industry’s first dedicated law firm directories manager.
Writing on the survey’s methodology, Pearson noted that peer review “was the main way” through which the awardees were determined, saying “Senior advocates in Nigeria were asked the question: ‘If you could not handle a case/brief yourself, to whom would you, with utmost confidence, refer it?’ And the lawyers with the highest number of nominations (were) selected to the list.
Others who made the listing are Nigeria’s oldest surviving Senior Advocate, Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, SAN, Prof. Alfred Bandele Kasunmu, SAN, and Chief George Uwechue, SAN.
Aside from women lawyers such as Funke Adekoya, SAN, Dorothy Ufot, SAN, and Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, several non-SANs muzzled their way into the listing, including Messrs Asue Igbodalo, Lawrence Fubara Anga and Bankole Sodipo.