Davidson Oturu is a partner at ǼLEX, a top law firm with offices in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt in Nigeria and Accra in Ghana. He spoke to Rilwan Shittu on his life, work and the future of legal practice.
“Being a partner in a top law firm requires a lot of hard work,” Oturu admits.
Hard work, at his level, is largely geared towards sustaining the business. Thinking of ways to generate new business opportunities, keeping existing clients happy and rewarding employees adequately, are what takes up his time. However, the most fulfilling part of the job, he notes, is delivering excellent services to his clients and it is in this that he takes great pride.
When asked what skill set every lawyer must possess to excel, Oturu says: “I compartmentalize skills into three categories: analytical, professional and team building. For analytical skills, I recommend cultivating critical thinking; for professional skills, dedication is crucial; for team building, I recommend collaboration. However, the most important skill is attention to detail which falls under critical thinking. If you cannot pay attention to the client’s work, then the lawyer will be unable to grow. Sharpening these abilities requires different approaches and the young lawyer must be willing to build these skills to excel.”
Before joining ǼLEX, Oturu worked in two firms, honing his craft and gaining useful knowledge on commercial transactions, regulatory compliance and dispute resolution. During these formative years he developed a flair for “researched and legal drafting” and also became knowledgeable in IP prosecutions and oppositions and other commercial matters. From this he learned how to balance the expectations and challenges each of these aspects of law presented.
Oturu says that as a multidimensional lawyer who engages in IP practice and also does corporate/commercial work, he has had clients in the telecommunications, technology and financial space who require advice on different licensing regimes to carry out their operations. This motivated him, a few years ago, to develop his knowledge of the technology, media and telecommunications sector.
“It has been rewarding as there appears to be limitless information in these spaces.”
Oturu is of the view that lawyers can contribute to the economy using technology by garnering expertise in areas like data protection, digital assets and cyber security, as well as the underlying technology that drives them.
“With new regulations and policies emerging in these spaces taking centre stage there are growing opportunities that exist for lawyers who want to find legal solutions to their clients’ tech related problems.”
Oturu engages in mentorship and thought leadership regularly. He has also been a speaker and panelist at a number of seminars and conferences at home and abroad, and he is passionate about driving innovation and change in the legal profession in Nigeria.
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