Nigerian based Pavestones Legal won the award for African Law Firm of the Year – Small Practice at the 2022 African Legal Awards; the founding partners spoke to Africa Legal about their path to success.
“When we started Pavestones four years ago, we had a common mission. We wanted to establish a sustainable legal practice which was, in many ways, different from the norm,” explained Aderonke Alex-Adedipe. “We set out to be divergent – to be solution providers to our clients and hand holders every step of the way.”
Seun Timi-Koleolu had been an inhouse lawyer and understood from personal experience the pain points clients have with traditional services. “We set out to meet their needs by providing what we call ‘modern legal services’ – simple, easily accessible, commercially savvy. It is important to us that we are not far from our clients, we see ourselves as part of our clients’ team working closely with them to achieve their goals,” she said.
Alex-Adedipe and Timi-Koleolu also noticed there was a lack of free online legal and regulatory information to guide local and foreign companies and individuals wishing to do business in Nigeria. They set out to solve this problem through their weekly newsletter – Doing Business Simplified Series – which is published on various online platforms.
In response to winning this award, Alex-Adedipe commented: “One thing is clear. We are on the right path to achieving our vision as a firm and this award propels us to keep working towards it.”
The award is a huge achievement, especially given the firm’s age and how far they have come. The partners believe there are a number of specific factors which led to them gaining such success: Having the right team from inception who believed in the vision; understanding the needs of the modern client in the technology age and aiming to deliver legal services that meet those needs; distinguishing themselves and positioning the firm as a legal service provider with footprints across the globe; being resilient and remaining committed not only to meeting business goals, but also in giving back to their community through various CSR programs.
“We are very proud of our community initiatives,” said Timi-Koleolu. “There’s the Women Empowerment Program where we aim to provide free legal services to ten female-led tech businesses annually, then we sponsor law school students who require financial support to complete their qualification exams, and we also sponsor underprivileged children to go to school through a foundation we support.”
“What I love about us is that we are authentic,” emphasised Timi-Koleolu. “We haven’t done anything for accolades. I am amazed and grateful for the recognition we have received for diligently and authentically doing us. The recognition has come in various ways – the vote of confidence we have received from major multinational clients who have reached out to us to support them and referred more clients to us, winning Partner of the Year at the 2021 African Legal Awards, and now winning African Law Firm of the Year (small practice)! The award is a stamp that we are doing something right, and we are encouraged to keep working towards actualising our vision.”
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