Young business lawyer spotlight: Ayodele Ashiata Kadiri

The Young Business Lawyer Section strives to promote our own young lawyers in Nigeria. This article spotlighting Ayodele Ashiata Kadiri of G. Elias and Co in Lagos, Nigeria, is part of a series featuring the voices of the next generation…

Full name – Ayodele Ashiata Kadiri
Firm – G. Elias and Co
Area of Practice – Capital Markets, Banking and Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions and New Economy (traditionally, the technology, media and telecommunications industry)
Years of Experience – Six years

Professional Summary – Ayodele Ashiata Kadiri advises on financing (derivatives, secured and non-secured lendings), equity issuances and debt offerings (including Eurobond issuances and securitisations), mergers and acquisitions and regulatory compliance in the New Economy sectors. She has a strong foundation in disputes resolution – having started out with litigation before pivoting to transaction advisory services in 2020. She has advised, among others, local and international financial services institutions (including a fortune 500 company), technology companies (including a FAANG company), start ups and media companies (including the promoters of the 1st real-time score services on the internet).

Ayodele is currently a Senior Associate at the law firm of G.Elias and Co and advises on finance, focusing on lendings, derivatives, equity issuance and debt offerings. She has advised on the USD1bn Term Loan from Afreximbank and Credit Suisse to BOI (Winner, International Syndicated Loan Deal of the Year 2022 Bonds and Loans Africa Award; Nominee, Loan Deal of the Year for the IFLR Africa Awards, 2021). She also formed part of the legal team that advised on the USD200mm Term Loan advanced by AFC to BUA Industries Limited (Winner, Agriculture Deal of the Year, African Banker Awards, 2022).

Read also: Young Business Lawyer Spotlight

Four Questions with Ayodele

What do you appreciate most about your work as a young lawyer?
I appreciate the learning opportunities the most. They are tremendous – the acquisition of technical skills and the honing of interpersonal skills. I also love interacting with clients and other professional advisers – it helps me to have a holistic view of transactions. Additionally, I appreciate being trusted to get work done – by clients, my peers and my partners/supervisors. It encourages me to do more.

What have you learned from your experience so far?
There have been a plethora of lessons – but I will highlight three. First, I have learned that I am judged by the results that I produce, more than the efforts that I exert in doing the work. While being hardworking is great, I also check that I am being efficient and impactful. Second, I have learned to be my own safe house and biggest cheerleader because things could get intense sometimes. Third, relationships are very important. It is a blessing to have people who are genuinely interested in my success around me.

In your opinion, what are the two major challenges faced by young lawyers in the legal profession in Nigeria?
I think there have been a lot of complaints about work culture particularly around inadequate compensations, long hours and inconsiderate employers. I think another reason is the high turnover rates. Experienced lawyers are leaving the country at an alarming rate. When I started out, I benefited from a lot of handholding. Now, the workload has not exactly reduced, but the number of experienced lawyers is dwindling. There is barely enough time to get work done and also look out for young lawyers. One could argue that it means the young lawyers have more room for growth, but at what cost?

What one leader do you most look up to and why?
I admire Ndidi Nwuneli. She is an expert on African agriculture and nutrition, philanthropist and innovator. I admire her consistency.

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