BusinessDay

Young Business Lawyer Spotlight

The Young Business Lawyer Section strives aims to promote our own young lawyers in Nigeria. This article spotlighting Oyeyemi Aderibigbe of Templars, in Lagos, Nigeria, is the first in a series that will be featuring the voices of the new generation…
Full name- Oyeyemi Aderibigbe
Firm – Templars
Area of Practice- Corporate and Commercial practice
Years of Experience- 13 years
Professional summary – Oyeyemi Aderibigbe has over a decade’s cognate experience advising international and Nigerian businesses on Nigerian corporate and commercial law. In her current role as Senior Associate in one of Nigeria’s biggest law firms, she has advised on market leading transactions including the capitalization of Nigeria’s biggest digital bank and the venture and investment by leading technology companies into Nigeria. She extends her impact in the legal services community and beyond through active volunteering and advocacy, and has served in several capacities including, Chairperson, Young Lawyers’ Committee of the Section on Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association. She was recently nominated as a rising star and one of the young lawyers shaping the future of law in Nigeria by one of the notable legal directories in Nigeria.

Four Questions with Oyeyemi
What do you appreciate most about your work as a young lawyer?
As a young lawyer we get the front row privilege to create within so many spaces from technology, medicine to family life and development. Any young lawyer who is interested in adding value in today’s business market has such a large pipeline of commercial value to plug into. In a post-covid world, the access granted is boundless, the market is more sophisticated, and you can personally manage your growth notwithstanding the limits of your immediate environment.

What have you learned from your experience so far?
My most critical lesson thus far is this, “lawyers sell experience, clients desire competence and this is what drives the value chain in the legal services market.” The resilient, diligent and competent lawyer will be rewarded significantly. More importantly, what you are competent in matters, one cannot be static in competence or get stuck in the familiar or comfortable space and grow efficiently. Secondly, do not ignore market trends and developments when creating a frame of reference for career development. If there is a gap, work to fill it, get the knowledge and skill and begin to build value even before the clients materialize. In recent times, I have seen young lawyers accomplish daunting feats in the commercial space, starting their law firms, closing landmark transactions, leading client management in novel spaces and clinching market leading deals. Also, leverage on the skill and access given to older lawyers to deliver value for their organizations and themselves.

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What are the two major challenges faced by female lawyers in the legal profession in Nigeria?
In my opinion, female lawyers do not face any unique career challenges that the average professional woman in Nigeria has not encountered. I also think that the challenges which often affect us arise more from cultural learnings that impact the women which have influenced how our workplaces are structured. These cultural leanings on the role and function of women in society have influenced bias, fueled discrimination, and resulted in a general lack of empathy for the peculiar changes women have to navigate over time, such as pregnancy, post-partum healing, physiological capacities amongst others.

If you had to focus on solving one big world problem, what would it be and why?
The quality of education that is available to most lawyers and young professionals in Nigeria is appalling. I am grateful for stellar mentors and excellent career professionals. The exposure to this standard of skill, competence, thought and professionalism has shaped every facet of my life. If I had the opportunity to customize this into a product, I would make it a public good, maybe a mandatory vaccine that every young person in Nigeria and Africa must take before they proceed into the workplace.

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