Young Business Lawyer Spotlight – Sixtus Iwuoha
Full name: Sixtus Iwuoha
Firm (Place of Work) – Banwo & Ighodalo
Area of Practice – Commercial Litigation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Years of Experience – 11 years
Sixtus is a Senior Associate and a complex commercial disputes practitioner. He represents corporates and individuals in big ticket transactions and disputes across a broad spectrum of industries, including shipping and international trade, energy and natural resources, intellectual property and labour and employment. He is also a trial generalist who efficiently delivers results across a variety of commercial practice areas throughout his career.
In 2018, he was seconded to the Civil Disputes and International Arbitration Group of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London for 3 months under the International Lawyers for Africa Flagship Secondment Programme. Sixtus was recently ranked as a Rising Star and Recommended Lawyer in the 2022 edition of Legal500 EMEA.
Sixtus has represented and successfully obtained judgment in the sum of NGN3.3 billion Naira in favour of over 127 investors (consisting of individuals and corporate entities) in a recovery action against certain investment companies and their alter egos.
He was part of the team that represented an indigenous oil and gas company, in an arbitration proceeding with a monetary claim above US$75 Million and successfully achieved a significant reduction of the claim which subsequently led to the execution of an Award Compromise Agreement between the parties.
Four Questions with Sixtus
What have you learned from your experience as a young lawyer so far and how has it shaped you?
As a young legal professional, experience has taught me to be nimble, to read widely and importantly, to always be prepared to sometimes venture into uncharted legal waters. This has shaped me to critically think through legal [and sometimes, non-legal] issues and come up with top notch commercial, bespoke and practical solutions. More often than not, this process can be a lonely path, but I am consistently driven by the unshakable belief that there is always an answer somewhere. This healthy discontent consistently propels me to go the extra mile in delivering exceptional quality legal advice and strategy.
What do you appreciate most about your work as a young lawyer?
What I appreciate most about my work is the dynamism; the sheer fact that 9 out of 10 commercial litigation and/or arbitration mandates I receive will not have the same fact pattern. This undoubtedly brings my creativity and out-of-the-box thinking skills to bear and allows me to approach each mandate differently whilst drawing from my previous experiences. I also appreciate the vast resources, depth and quality of subject matter experts at the Firm whose knowledge, depending on the issues in dispute and area of law, influence and enhance my final work product.
In your opinion, what is one promising area of law that young lawyers continue to neglect and how can they explore the advantages in the area?
Within the Nigerian disputes space and considering my experience in commercial litigation I will say arbitration. This is primarily because of the flexibility, autonomy and confidentiality that arbitration affords. Commercial litigation in today’s Nigeria is arguably not time and cost effective when one considers the unending congested dockets of the courts, administrative lapses and sometimes poor quality decisions.
What one leader do you look up to and why?
Kindly permit me to choose two. Globally, I will say Martin Luther King Jr. for his vision considering the reality of his time and his gift of the gab. Within the legal profession, I look up to Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN, FCIArb. for her sense of leadership and devotion to duty. Mrs. A as she is fondly called is always willing to provide mentorship and guidance to young legal professionals. In addition, she rarely passes an opportunity to contribute and share her vast legal experience at speaking engagements be it conferences, webinars, symposia et al. This in my view, makes her a treasure trove for young lawyers.