Legal circles in Nigeria and the UK were abuzz recently when the British Nigeria Law Forum (BNLF) hosted the launch of its Junior Lawyers’ Division (JLD) in Lagos. A second London event is also to be hosted ensuring that ties between junior lawyers in the two countries are stronger than ever.
The JLD launch in Lagos was sponsored by George Etomi & Partners. Speakers at the event were George Etomi; Aji Ayorinde, co-head of the Junior Lawyers’ Division; Seye Aina, chair of the BNLF; Babatunde Akinyanju, treasurer and past chair of the BNLF; Lizzette Robleto De Howarth, international manager at the Law Society and Boma Ayomide Alabi (OON) head of Primera Africa Legal’s international commercial law practice.
As a London-based lawyer, Aji Ayorinde said it was clear that young lawyers in Nigeria and the United Kingdom were eager for an open and dynamic relationship – with opportunities opening on both sides.
“The position of these two countries is unique because their legal systems are so similar and run in parallel,” he said.
“Law students and young lawyers in Nigeria have always looked to the UK to enhance their education and hone their legal skills while junior lawyers in the UK now see in Nigeria an opportunity to learn and access opportunities in Africa.”
Aji said that interest in the launch of the JLD had been overwhelming with attendees including law students, young lawyers from the UK and Nigeria and senior members of the legal profession, who were there to support the initiative. He explained that, as Britain’s position in the global community shifted and its relationship with old colonies like Nigeria and Kenya equalised, opportunities for new ways of doing business were emerging. This was especially so now with the spectre of Brexit hanging over the UK.
One of the highlights of the launch was a raffle draw with winners receiving gift hampers, BNLF polo shirts, a book on Commercial Law in Nigeria written by George Etomi and opportunities to shadow senior BNLF lawyers at work.
Aji said “wonderful networking” happened at the event as BNLF members shared information about membership and young lawyers shared their experiences of being mentored or shadowing a BNLF member at work.
“Sometimes all it takes to get your career underway is an introduction to the right person,” he said.
Seye Aina, BNLF chair said, "I am delighted by the response we had to the launch. This forum is a chance for young and aspiring lawyers to exchange ideas and information, to network and also to get career advice or assistance." For information on how to join the British Nigeria Law Forum and Junior Lawyers’ Division go to the website www.bnlf.org.uk