Law at an international level is the focus of the collaborative event being held by the UK Ministry of Justice, GREAT Legal Services and Africa Legal on 31 August. In this podcast, Dr Gabriel Onagoruwa chats to Tom Pearson about why being a dual qualified lawyer gives you the upper hand.
Dr Gabriel Onagoruwa’s journey to becoming a dual qualified lawyer began when he was at university. The Nigerian-born Chair of Finance and Project Development at Olaniwun Ajayi, London, said back then he had already set his sights on working for the best law firm in the world and researched what it took to become a top lawyer.
Onagoruwa then modeled his future along the profiles of the lawyers he read about on the internet, who happened to look nothing like him. He pursued his goal of taking his education beyond Nigeria, and completed his Masters at the University of Cambridge.
Talking about the benefits of being conversant in Nigerian and English law, Onagoruwa said, “It gives me a background where I know some of the pressing issues from the Nigerian point of view, and when I'm advising on English law, I know what kind of questions I should be asking the local counsel. You become more marketable when you are a lawyer who is practicing English law having qualified in Nigeria.”
He says being dual qualified is particularly useful in the finance sector. “The need for Africa today is around the development space. The hope is that Africa would rise, and therefore financing will continue to be a pivotal area of law for Africa. Having English law, knowledge, experience and qualifications just puts you in a good place. Most of the law in countries like Nigeria was fashioned on the English law which today is the law of global finance.”
Onagoruwa’s advice to aspiring lawyers considering dual qualification is, “Stay hungry, keep an open mind and go for what you want.”
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