Aluko & Oyebode, Templars Barristers, Alliance Law and other notable law firms have emerged winners of the 2014 ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards.
Aluko & Oyebode won both the Law Firm of the Year and Dispute Resolution category; Templars Barristers and Solicitors won the Banking and Finance category; Kola Awodein & Co — Capital Market category; Alliance Law — Corporate Restructuring category; Septre Cross — Energy, Oil and Gas category.
Others winners include Odujinrin & Adefulu in the Mergers and Acquisition Deal category; Banwo & Ighodalo — Project Finance Deal category and Paul Usoro won in the Telecommunication Deal category.
Special awards were also given to some deserving individuals. Aare Afe Babalola in the Lifetime Achievement Award category; Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, the governor of Lagos State in the Leadership and Governance in Africa category; Wale Tinubu in the Business Icon of the Year category; Funke Adekoya, SAN as an Outstanding Female Icon of the Year category; JK Gadzama as Outstanding Achievers Award category and Funke Aboyade of ThisDay newspaper in the Editorial Merit Award category.
While welcoming guests to the occasion held in Lagos, Mr. Lere Fashola, Chief Executive, Legal Blitz, the organisers of the event, said the award was instituted to reward professionalism among legal practitioners, particularly those involved in initiating and executing impactful business deals.
He said: “It is our firm belief at Legal Blitz that celebrating excellence is a way of entrenching the value of professionalism, innovation and hard work. Legal firms that are surpassing expectations and achieving excellence must be identified and rewarded so they could serve as inspiration for others. It is also meant to challenge winners to beat their own records. That is the whole essence of this award.”
Speaking further on the selection process, Fashola noted that 32 highly-experienced professionals were appointed as judges in order to ensure the integrity of the process, adding that the winners emerged through a fair process.
Speaking on behalf of the chairman, award selection panel, Mr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade, Executive Director and General Counsel, African Finance Corporation, Mr. Dapo Otunla, said the selection process was a rigorous one and observed that it was very difficult in most cases to arrive at some winners due to the quality of the entries submitted
In his words: “The legal profession has gone way beyond the orthodox definition of law which determines success only in terms of litigation. The legal profession has embraced other aspects of corporate governance and this has carved a niche for the profession. The good quality of the entries made the job of the judges more difficult but it was worth the while”
Many of the award winners expressed their delight at emerging tops and promised to build on the foundation of excellence.
Kofo Dosekun, Partner, Aluko & Oyebode said: “We are delighted to win this category. It is the most coveted award. It brings relief to us that our efforts are being noticed and also encourages us to do more in the coming years. We have doubted if this award would come to our firm but we are glad to have won it. What has distinguished our firm is that we have a succession plan, diversity of service, quality of service and employee retention. This award is dedicated to the memory of Bankole Olumide Aluko, one of our founding partners.”