Anifowoshe, a barrister with Ajasin Chambers, practises in civil litigation, data protection (GDPR), family proceedings and immigration. In 2017 she was also admitted to the Nigerian Bar enabling her to grow the African side of her practice.
What prompted you to become qualified in England and Wales?
After my secondary school education in Nigeria, I was sent to the UK by my mother to undertake my A levels and further education. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, following in my mother’s footsteps, and so I made sure I took A level subjects that would stand me in good stead to study law at university. The big question upon achieving my LLB was whether I wanted to become a solicitor or a barrister.
The legal system of England and Wales is unlike that of Nigeria where one is called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and barrister. I chose to become a barrister because I wanted to advocate in court, as well as undertake my own research upon being instructed by both professional and lay clients.
Has being qualified to practise in England and Wales helped your career?
Yes! Knowing what I wanted to do early in my career gave me the patience and strength to deal with the struggles that came along the way, because I always knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. That light being my goal of becoming a barrister.
Upon being called to the Bar of England and Wales, I worked as a paralegal/legal assistant and a tribunal advocate for a couple of years before securing my pupillage training. This meant that I had gained years of work and advocacy experience before pupillage, which prepared me for life at the Bar.
Was the initial investment worth it - in terms of getting business?
I don’t regret either the money or time my family and I spent in ensuring that I achieved my aspiration of becoming a barrister. The money helped to secure my education and the time helped me gain invaluable experience which has helped me secure not only legal jobs but enabled me to properly advocate
Do you find the type of work you are doing straddles both the Nigerian and UK jurisdictions?
I was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2005, and to the Nigerian Bar in 2017, some 13 years apart. Prior to getting called to the Nigerian Bar, I only worked on cases originating in England and Wales, even when the clients were Nigerians. However, since I've been called to the Nigerian Bar, I have been getting instructions from both professional and lay clients on matters originating in Nigeria.
Is being qualified in multiple jurisdictions something Africa-based lawyers should do?
There are a lot of Africa-based lawyers who cross qualify, undertaking the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), either so that they can undertake their own litigation in the UK, work for a firm or company in the UK, or have some knowledge about the practice areas in which they instruct UK qualified lawyers. I would not discourage any Africa-based lawyers from cross-qualifying, especially if it is for one of these three reasons. However, I would only encourage cross-qualification where a lawyer will definitely be making use of the qualification; otherwise, it’s a waste of time, effort and money, just to have a dual-qualified title.
Could you share more about the education you received to achieve your goals?
I have gained all my post-secondary school education outside of Nigeria, except for my attendance at the Nigerian Law School. I attended Stamford High School in Lincolnshire for my A Levels, the University of Hull (and the University of Tilburg, Holland) for my LLB, Inns of Court School of Law, City University, London, for my Call to Bar of England and Wales, and the University of Portsmouth for my Msc in Police Science and Management. The intention behind doing the Msc was to be able to return to Nigeria and work with the Nigerian Police Force which I still intend to.
My ambition is to grow my chambers both in Lagos and London, and to be able to run both efficiently and successfully.
To find out more about how to qualify in the UK click here
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