BusinessDay

Young Business Lawyer Spotlight

Professional summary

Chinweizu is a Senior Associate in the Intellectual Property (IP) Department of Jackson, Etti & Edu and Deputy Head of the FMCG Sector. Her illustrious practice covers all aspects of Intellectual Property Law- prosecutions, transactions, and enforcement.

She currently handles the portfolio of all European clients of the IP Department and has extensive practice in over 30 African countries. Chinwe also advises on brand protection strategies, licensing, franchise operations, IP investments, and everything in between. She advised on a two-level assignment of 21 trademark portfolios in Nigeria between three Health & Pharmaceutical Companies. She was also part of the team that advised on and prosecuted the assignment of trademark portfolios registered in eighteen (18) African countries between two multinational companies.

Chinwe is a recipient of the ESQ Legal Awards (40 Under Forty, The Nigerian Rising Star Category) in 2019 and has been named Leader by the World Intellectual Property Review (2022).

Four Questions with Chinweizu

What do you appreciate most about your work as a young lawyer?

One of the most tactical requests any Intellectual Property lawyer can receive is to advise on a multinational strategy for a brand or patent. Thus, what I appreciate the most about my work is being able to advise on IP strategies and assist to remove possible roadblocks for the protection of an IP right and subsequent execution at the market. This also involves advisory on complex issues in transactions and being able to foresee enforcement loopholes to help clients maximise their entries into African markets.

Read also: Intellectual property concerns for social media influencers in Nigeria

What is that one valuable experience in your practice of law that continues to spur you on?

Mentorship has always been a top priority for me. I accompanied our Senior Partner on his trip to Austria for an international IP conference. That experience for me stands out because it has helped me integrate the business of law into my practice. This spurs me on because it changed my perspective about the IP practice that others may even describe as repetitive or monotonous.

What is your opinion about inclusion in Nigerian law firms and what initiatives can still be taken to encourage such?

Speaking from the perspective of my law firm and a few others that I am privileged to be aware of their inner workings, I will say that the inclusion strategy is very good. For instance, hiring and promotion is strictly based on competence and the value you bring as a lawyer to the table. As with all human systems, there are a few gaps here and there. I think the management of law firms in Nigeria can provide more affirmative actions for ‘minority groups’ e.g., persons living with disabilities, young female lawyers, etc.

What one leader do you look up to and why?

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. It is impossible to ignore her career journey despite the criticisms, vexatious comments, backlash, and so on. She stands tall, ignores the noise and focuses on her goals. I believe her growth is an example for every career woman out there – you can be anything you want to

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