For Ohiri, working in-house as legal counsel and senior analyst with a top investment firm, is the culmination of years spent in law firms.
Now, he says, he has found his niche as an in-house advisor in a fast growing business where keeping up with changes to laws and new regulations is critical.
Cordros Capital Limited in Lagos is focused on raising capital, project financing, and corporate advisory services
Before his current position he was head of business development and research with Stark Legal and before that counsel at Oando PLC. One of his first jobs was as an associate in The New Practice. All these were within Lagos.
“At Cordros there is a strong synergy across all the departments. We constantly liaise with heads and team leads of all the departments to ensure their respective teams are carried along.
“We provide notifications of regulatory changes in the capital markets (CBN, NSE, SEC, NASD and FMDQ) and ensure compliance with anti money laundering/combating financing of terrorism laws. Training is another big part of the job ensuring all our staff are up to date with current internal and external policies.”
Ohiri says he feels “an immense passion” for what he does.Having worked for law firms and now in an in-house role, he says he prefers the latter.
“Working in-house puts me right in the middle of the work, where I get to witness the birth and consummation of deals. I am more involved than I ordinarily would be just providing external legal advice.”
Key to success in his role is managing expectations and clear communication.
“I prioritise on issues based on the level of urgency,” he says, the only way to manage the workload. It is doing this where he has embraced technology.
“Our internal process flow is fitted with an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) platform to ensure a speedy and effective approval process for compliance and review of legal documents.”
He says he has had to be consistent in improving his technical skills and he advises young lawyers to “make a conscious effort to take that leap of faith to be daring in their career and constantly thirst to be more than just a regular lawyer.”
The work of an in-house counsel is not done in isolation, though. Ohiri agrees there are times when, in the course of handling some sensitive work for the company, it is necessary for external legal counsel to be engaged.
“At certain points, an external counsel is specifically appointed to carry out company secretarial functions. Also, they handle any possible dispute resolution issues the company may face. We mostly engage external counsel particularly to provide legal advisory services to Capital Market Operators during initial public offerings (IPOs) and transactions involving the Issuing House roles.”
When not working, he enjoys networking on LinkedIn and catching up with friends.