40 Law Firms for ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards
Posted: 22/Aug/2014

No fewer than 40 law firms have been short listed for the prestigious ESQ Nigerian legal award organised by  the number one legal practice magazine in Sub-Saharan Africa. The key component of the restructured award, scheduled for September 18, 2014 in Civic Centre  Lagos, include a  new approach to the judging process and criteria for the various categories of awards.

Also, 32  eminent experts drawn from various fields  have been constituted as  judges for the award.
The  Chief Executive Officer  of Legal Blitz Limited, publishers of the ESQ Legal Practice Magazine, Mr. Lere Fashola, who spoke on the modalities of the award in Lagos  said it covers over 700 commercial deals undertaken by  outstanding law firms and legal professionals in Nigeria and in the diaspora.

According to him, the award rewards  contributions in key business transactions, practice areas, strategic growth, excellence and innovation in client service, advancement in technology and support to the growth of the legal profession at large.

He said: “The award is based on the legal deals or unique contributions to legal business in Nigeria within the last eighteen months. 
“ It  recognizes and honours novel deals and transactions across different sectors of the country’s economy, corporate organisations legal teams as well as the law firms who were involved in structuring such deals.

“As globalisation of legal services reinforces the need for standardisation of practices and systems, the legal profession in Nigeria continues to witness greater changes and innovative achievements far higher than many other sectors in the economy.

“ There is therefore the need to celebrate the unique contributions that lawyers make to the growth of businesses in Nigeria. 
“This award is set out to recognise the important contribution the legal business community makes to the development of the Nigerian economy. 

The quantity and quality of entries received during the maiden edition indicate that the accolades are valued highly by the industry.” He added. In order to guarantee the credibility of the award, Fashola said  several changes have been made to the nomination and assessment systems. 

“All submissions are made electronically after which the ESQ Research Team will contact the referees to gather more information about the deals submitted for the award. Judges will then mark entries based on clearly-stated criteria. 

“The first five deals with the highest votes from judges will be announced as nominees for each category”, he added. 

It is gathered that executive Director/General Counsel of the Africa Finance Corporation, Dr. Adesegun Akin-Olugbade, will head the Panel of Judges that also include experts like Mrs Toyin Sanni, CEO of UBA Capital; Mrs Nike Laoye, Chief Legal Officer at Eco Bank Plc; Mr Michael Otu, General Counsel, Zenith Bank Plc; Mr Ore Olajide, Head of Legal, Coca Cola Nigeria and Mrs Ngozi Okonkwo, Chief Legal Officer, OANDO, among others.