2020 Training Programmes – T&Cs

GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  1. Unless otherwise advised, training programmes are scheduled to commence at 09:00 prompt and end at 17:00 on each day.
  2. Legally Engaged will provide materials needed to participate in the programmes. This includes a handbook for each module and writing supplies. Delegates may, however, choose to bring other items such as laptops, textbooks, etc.
  3. All materials, handouts, trainings, lectures, speeches, case studies, etc. provided are the intellectual property of Legally Engaged Career Centre Limited and/or its facilitators, and may not be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of Legally Engaged. For the avoidance of doubt, delegates are expressly prohibited from –
    • recording on video or audiotape, relaying by videophone or other means any portion of the programmes. Relaying of any portion of the programmes is permitted for the purpose of providing feedback regarding the programmes to an organization’s management.
    • using materials or any portion thereof to provide any other training, talk, seminar, discussion, etc. whether paid or unpaid, formal or informal, internal or otherwise.
  4. Where individuals are sponsoring themselves on the programmes, these terms and conditions will be between Legally Engaged and such individual(s). Where organizations send delegates to the programmes, these terms and conditions shall be between Legally Engaged and the organizations represented at the programmes, and it shall be the responsibility of each organization to inform its delegates and officials accordingly and bear any resultant liability.
  5. Whilst measures have been put in place to ensure that the programmes are administered as provided to registered delegates by way of outline and timetable, Legally Engaged reserves the right to alter or amend any of the modules or sessions without notice.
  6. The programme fees do not cover accommodation and transportation to or from the programme venue.
  7. A delegate is deemed to be registered only when payment has been made and acknowledged. Delegates will not be granted admission into the programme venue unless payment has been made and acknowledged by Legally Engaged beforehand.
  8.  Any requests for refunds must be received at least two weeks before the commencement of a programme. In the event of a no-show, (where a delegate registers for a programme but fails to attend), no refund can be claimed. Organizations are however free to send a replacement delegate and individuals may attend a similarly-priced course on the Legally Engaged calendar.
  9. To maintain the integrity of our training programmes, only delegates who attend the programmes will be issued certificates. Delegates must sign attendance sheets twice per day to be eligible to receive a certificate of completion.
  10. By registering yourself or your delegates on the Course, you agree to the above terms and conditions.
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Giveaway – Practice Preparation Course 2020

As part of our continued drive to build the capacity of Nigerian lawyers and give opportunities to lawyers who might not ordinarily have them, we are giving away slots on the highly-anticipated Practice Preparation Course (PPC) to three lucky followers/subscribers.

The PPC is an intensive two-week training programme to be held in Lagos from 13th January – 22 January 2020 (weekdays only). There will be over twenty sessions on various areas of commercial law such as Taxation, IP, Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, Banking, Energy, etc. These sessions will be facilitated by highly-regarded legal professionals who are at the peak of their careers.

Please read the below carefully to ensure that you have understood and complied with all terms and conditions before applying.

1st place prize – Full access to all 22 sessions taking place on the PPC over the period of 8 days. Includes training materials, feeding, etc.

2nd place prize – Access to 3 core modules on the PPC. E.g. the Banking & Finance module (made up of five independent sessions), the Business Advisory module (made up of two independent sessions), the Business Restructuring module (made up of four independent sessions), the Legal Skills modules (made up of four independent sessions), etc. Applicants have the liberty to choose the modules they attend.

3rd place prize – Access to 1 (one) core module on the PPC. As above.

Application – please send a 250-word write-up to learning@legallyengaged.com.ng (with the subject “Application for PPC Scholarship”) telling us why you are interested in commercial legal practice and why you should be selected. Deadline for applications is 9am, Friday 3rd January 2020. Winners will be announced/contacted by 7th January 2020.

Attach (i) evidence that you are following Legally Engaged on social media (e.g. screenshot) and (ii) evidence that you are subscribed to our newsletter and (iii) a copy of your CV.

Please note the following terms

  • Priority for the 1st place prize will be given to applicants who can prove that they were following Legally Engaged before the announcement of this giveaway. I.e. as at 27th December 2019. Please feel free to include such evidence in your application. This applies to 1st place prize only.
  • Applicants who are currently employed must be able to present an email from their employer/supervisor permitting them to be absent for the applicable days.
  • The giveaway is not available to lawyers who work in big (commercial) law firms. Our target is lawyers who ordinarily cannot afford to attend. What constitutes a “big (commercial) law firm” will be entirely at the discretion of the Legally Engaged team.
  • The giveaway is currently available to qualified lawyers only – not students.
  • Applicants outside Lagos must be able to bear their transport/accommodations costs where applicable.
  • There are no guidelines for the content of the write-up but please bear in mind that there will be many other applicants, so be sure to stand out.
  • Please ensure that you are following Legally Engaged before you apply and that you attach the required evidence to your email. As the purpose of this giveaway is to reward our followers and subscribers, failure to do this will automatically disqualify you.

All the best!

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Distinguishing Yourself in a Practice Area – Yemisi Falaye, Entertainment Law

Editor’s note For the second edition of the series tagged “Distinguishing Yourself in a Practice Area”, we interview Yemisi Falaye who has distinguished herself in Entertainment Law practice in Nigeria acting for brands such as Tiwa Savage, Adekunle Gold, Zlatan, Toke Makinwa, Wande Coal and more. She shares valuable lessons from her experience for those who might be working towards creating a niche for themselves in Entertainment Law or any other area.

Please tell us about your first few years in legal practice. 

I started my legal career (NYSC) at ACAS-Law and was fortunate to be retained afterwards. I have been working at the firm since 2007, primarily in the corporate commercial group and also dealing with intellectual property, company secretarial, immigration law, amongst others.

Before the Entertainment group at my firm was created, I felt like going to work was a chore. Typical of growth, my formative years in the legal industry and as an employee were tough. However, even though I was not particularly passionate about the areas of law I initially practised, I still made sure I worked very hard and delivered superb quality of work all the time.

How did you discover Entertainment Law and why did you decide to follow this path?

Prior to my appointment as Head of the Entertainment Law Group at ACAS-Law, the group was a part of the wider corporate/commercial group and I had done a few things for some celebrities relating to intellectual property and corporate law.

In response to the emergence of entertainment law in Nigeria, a Senior Partner at the firm (and my direct boss) created the Entertainment Law Group as a standalone department. I was appointed to head the department as a result of my already-established cordial relationship with celebrities and my flair for the practice area.

Entertainment Law is a path I chose to follow because it is truly my passion. It gets me excited and keeps me going. It is a lot of work but because I love my job, I constantly find joy in it.

Please give us a brief overview of what Entertainment Law practice is about.

Entertainment Law practice has to do with the provision of legal services to members of the entertainment industry such as recording and performing artistes, music producers, film producers, media companies, comedians, dancers, film actors, sports personalities, amongst others.

These services often intertwine and overlap with Intellectual Property Law which includes copyright and trademarks. In actual practice, entertainment law cuts across other areas of law such as tort law, criminal law, contract law, defamation and employment law.

What did the Entertainment law space in Nigeria look like when you decided to follow this path and how was your knowledge of other practice areas useful?

When I ventured into the Entertainment Law space in Nigeria, it was practically non-existent except for a few creatives who were aware that they needed to be legally protected in all deals they enter into.

I had acquired knowledge and experience in commercial and corporate law, company secretarial and intellectual property law which have all been of help to me in Entertainment Law.

What were the challenges you faced when you started in Entertainment Law?

The Entertainment Law space in Nigeria although growing fast is still in its formative years. The major challenge was that some of the clients’ matters had no judicial precedent; therefore, finding solutions to such legal challenges was done mostly by intense research and using foreign jurisdictions as case studies.

Secondly, getting some creatives to understand the importance of legal advice and carrying a lawyer along was quite tedious. My team had to do a lot of pro bono cases to gain the trust of the creatives and prove our relevance in the industry as lawyers.

Did you acquire any additional skills or certifications (e.g. online courses Masters, PhD, etc.) to enable you to work in this practice area?

I did not acquire any additional skills or certification. My expertise was mainly developed out of sheer passion, zeal, hard work, determination, research, experience, attending seminars, etc. Through this, I have been able to (and I am still working on) create a niche for myself in the entertainment industry as a lawyer.

You have done very well for yourself in Entertainment Law – why would you say that is? What is the most rewarding aspect of working in Entertainment Law?

I attribute my success to God. He helps me create magic. Honestly. I have also worked very hard, if I may say so myself.

Entertainment Law is a practice area that I have a flair for.  I believe propels me to want to be the best and turn out excellent work at all times. I think the most rewarding aspect is when my clients are satisfied and happy with the work that I have done.

How have you been able to carve a niche and distinguish yourself in this practice area and what keeps you going?

I think for me, it is my dedication to my clients that gives me an edge and distinguishes me from everyone else in this area of practice. I truly am my clients’ friend. This makes them feel comfortable with me.

Also, I make sure that I am available for my clients whenever they need me – I am a truly 24/7 lawyer. For me, there is no such thing as a ‘closing time’.

I also work very hard to ensure that my clients are always protected and that the quality of work I deliver is excellent at all times. My passion and drive for Entertainment Law practice keep me going as well as the grace of God.

How do you see your career in Entertainment Law progressing from here? What would be the pinnacle for you?

In the next few years, I see myself as CEO/Owner of the best and only properly structured record label in Africa that focuses on the artist. Right now, there are barely record labels that are truly artist-friendly. Caring for artists the way that they should be cared for would be the ultimate pinnacle for me.

Please tell us about the most memorable thing that has happened while working in Entertainment Law.

The most memorable things that have happened to me would be doing the paperwork for Tiwa Savage’s latest single “49-99”, Adekunle Gold’s “About 30” album and facilitating Zlatan Ibile’s release from EFCC custody.

How would you describe your workload?

My workload can be quite challenging because this is an area of legal practice in Nigeria that is new and has not been explored as in-depth as other practice areas. However, having been in practice for quite a while, crazy deadlines do not faze me anymore. Each day comes with a new matter and my job is to find creative solutions to my clients’ legal issues.

The process of getting the work done can be overwhelming at times, but the results and smiles on my clients’ faces make it rewarding for me.

What kind of clients do you find yourself working with the most?

I work mostly performing artistes and music producers although I still deal with creatives in general, such as songwriters, authors, sportsmen and women, music producers/composers and dancers.

What advice would you give to young/aspiring lawyers looking to excel in Entertainment Law?

My advice to young/aspiring lawyers that want to excel in Entertainment Law is that they must have the passion and zeal for this area of practice. This is very crucial, as these two elements will ultimately fuel their drive to succeed.

Hard work and expertise are also highly required to succeed as an Entertainment lawyer and knowledge can be acquired by studying and researching on various topics of Entertainment Law.

Finally, working in the entertainment industry is beyond meeting the celebrities, taking pictures with them and attending gigs. If you are not a guru at what you do, you will not fit in anymore.

‘Yemisi Falaye is an Entertainment Lawyer. She works with the law firm of Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun and heads the Entertainment Law Group of the firm.

‘Yemisi has over the years garnered in-depth experience in providing premium legal advice and representation to individuals and organisations in the entertainment industries in Nigeria, which include film, music, theatre, art, television, radio, publishing and digital media.

Asides entertainment law, ‘Yemisi also has a wide-range experience in Intellectual Property, Immigration and Company Secretarial matters in Nigeria. She focuses on the prosecution of trademark, patent, copyright and design on behalf of clients. She manages the immigration status of several expatriates in Nigeria and is involved in general corporate and commercial matters in the firm.

 

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Writing Award-winning Essays: Surmounting the Hurdles of Plagiarism

Read first: The Fundamentals of Writing Award-winning Essays.

When submitting my entry for an essay competition I entered for a while ago, it struck my mind that perhaps the reason many do not win essay writing competitions is that more often than not, their entries get flagged for plagiarism. In the world of writing, plagiarism is a big deal, and it may even constitute a crime in instances where it leans towards illegal activities such as infringement of an author’s intellectual property rights. This is the reason essay organizers emphasize in a bold caption that plagiarized essays will be immediately disqualified.

Unfortunately, most essay writing participants do not give much thought to cross-checking their essays for plagiarism and this may be due to several reasons; perhaps they think they are that good or they do not realize when unconscious plagiarism comes into their writing. It may also be that a good number of them fall under the category of those who write and submit on the verge of the submission deadlines, and as such, have little or no time for proof-reading or checking for plagiarism.

While short stories and creative writing may be good ways to grade how well of a good story writer you are, essays on the other hand, are scholarly. An essay requires one to invest diligence into research, analyze the problem and proffer solutions or make recommendations on the way forward. Because most essay writing competitions come with attractive prizes which are usually monetary, there are usually higher expectations from the organizers and judges with respect to the quality of essays received as entries for the competition and judges certainly do not expect to see regurgitated write-ups of someone else’s ideas or an essay that has basically been lifted out of someone else’s work.

However, there is also the situation that arises when plagiarism checkers flag essay entries because of the sameness of sentences that are so general and widely used that anyone could have written them and that should not connote the theft of intellectual property.

Today, thanks to technology, the world is a very open place and information transcends borders as almost anything is now online, even human beings and their works, especially the written ones which they consent to make available. Thus, with the use of plagiarism checkers, plagiarized content can easily be detected and more interestingly, these checkers provide the exact place where the plagiarized content was sourced from. This is largely as a result of the fact that these detectors are programmed to run content submitted across millions of documents, websites and databases.

These days, professional and standard essay competitions pull a very high number of entries running into thousands. Before editing starts, these entries are often run on plagiarism checkers to determine their uniqueness and once an essay is flagged for plagiarism, that essay is most likely disqualified. Sadly, oftentimes, what these plagiarism checkers flag as plagiarism do not fall within the concept of plagiarism. They are often statements that have been written the same way, without necessarily being anyone’s intellectual property. For instance, while running a check a few days ago, I was flagged for plagiarism, and when I investigated, I realized that I was flagged for this exact statement, “the country is often in the news for the wrong reasons.”

By all standards, this is a statement that could have been written by anyone sitting before a laptop and attempting to say Nigeria is in a bad state.

Putting things in perspective, let’s take Grammarly, one of the best plagiarism checkers that examiners often go to. When you use Grammarly’s plagiarism checkers, it tells you whether or not there is plagiarism in your essay, but it does not tell you exactly where the plagiarism is. To know where your plagiarized content is, you have to subscribe to their premium package. When there are thousands of entries to review, it is often difficult to say if an examiner would be willing to go the extra mile of subscribing to investigate where the problem lies.

So, what do you do? Here is a quick hack!

Method 1Use Grammarly and Small SEO tools

Small SEO tools are not as intense as Grammarly but not as strong either. However, when they flag you for plagiarism, these tools highlight the exact content that has been supposedly plagiarized and this allows you to adjust accordingly. After this, you can then run through Grammarly because it is always safe to make sure you pass Grammarly’s plagiarism test. However, because small SEO tools are not as intense as Grammarly, there are certain things which Grammarly would flag, but small SEO tools are not strong enough to detect. This takes us to the second method – to narrow down.

Method 2Narrowing down using Grammarly

For this method, instead of placing your entire essay into Grammarly’s plagiarism checker at once, place it paragraph by paragraph. By doing so, you would be able to know the problematic paragraphs and those that are free from plagiarism.

Following this, you then take the flagged paragraph one after the other, put them in the checker, and then start by deleting or amending the suspicious sentences that sound general enough to have been written by anyone. Once you have used this filter to make amendments, if the paragraph is still flagged for plagiarism, you should start taking out each sentence one after the other till you narrow it down to the exact problematic sentence. Once you have it figured out, then you can re-write the sentence and run through the plagiarism checker for uniqueness. Also, note that your quotes should be in italics so Grammarly can easily identify and read it.

Many times, when you get flagged for plagiarism, it may be some sentences which you have written the same way another person has. However, But, as Grammarly does not grant you the premium access to see what sentences, narrowing it down could be a little stressful. But, I put it to you; it is better than losing out because your essay was flagged for such thing as writing, “human beings are wired to.” I was flagged for this statement and I found it amusing but it happened. Grammarly said someone had written it before and of course, I was directed to the link where it had been used before.

While I am not saying that a plagiarism checker is the sole reason you have not been winning, there is a very strong possibility that it is one of the reasons. So, why not master its use!


Habeeb Asudemade is a 400L law student and an award-winning writer with interests in Law, Leadership, Business and Community Service. He is a 2019 Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF) scholar who has interned with corporate law firms in Nigeria.

In 2018, he was selected to represent his University at the Impact Africa Intercontinental British Parliamentary Debate Championship in Kumasi, Ghana where the University placed first runner-up. Also, in 2019, he was selected to represent his University at the John H Jackson European Law Students Association Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organization Law in Nairobi, Kenya.

He is also a co-founder and business development head of Tell! – a content development company and an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program.

legallyengagedWriting Award-winning Essays: Surmounting the Hurdles of Plagiarism
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Obtain your LLM degree from The University of Law, UK

The University of Law is one of the UK’s longest-established specialist providers of legal education. We continuously focus on developing the best legal minds. We have trained more practising lawyers in the UK than any UK institution. We also run an expert legal career and employability service which is one of the largest in the UK, with over 30 experts providing one-to-one support to our students. We have the UK’s largest legal alumni group with over 64,000 members, giving our students excellent networking opportunities.

Why Choose ULAW?  

The University of Law’s innovative postgraduate law courses are designed to set you for success in your career and taught by practising barristers and solicitors with industry experience. The courses place a strong emphasis on building the practical skills that employers are looking for. We offer flexibility to suit your needs. LLMs from our Masters’ in Law suite of programmes are designed for law graduates who want to explore the practical application of a particular specialist area of law.

Your LLM Options:

  • Masters of Law (General)
  • LLM Company Law
  • LLM Corporate Governance
  • LLM International Corporate Governance
  • LLM International Business Law
  • LLM Corporate Governance Grad ICSA
  • LLM International Human Rights
  • LLM Medical Law and Ethics
  • LLM Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • LLM Legal Practice (Commercial Law, Conflict Resolution and Intellectual Property)

Your Course Fees:

A deposit is payable upon acceptance of an offer to study here at The University of Law. The deposit relates to your course fees which cover your tuition, textbooks, course materials and your first attempt at exams and assessments. The total postgraduate course fees are detailed here.

Your Funding Options:

  1. You may consider an Instalment Plan
  2. Scholarship and bursary awards are available to current University of Law Students.
  3. Nigerian applicants are also eligible for an automatic scholarship worth of up to £3,000.

Your Prospectus:

Please find our Live Prospectus here or request a hard copy Postgraduate Prospectus here. Additionally, please read The University of Law’s Postgraduate Terms and Conditions here.

Application Dates

Applications for January 2020 is ongoing. The application deadline is 30th November 2019. Click here to commence the application process.


Please note that this is a sponsored advertorial.

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Legalpreneur’s Spotlight – Adedunmade Onibokun, Founding Partner at Adedunmade Onibokun & Co

Editor’s note – we are happy to introduce a series we have tagged “Legalpreneur’s Spotlight”. As part of this series, we will be interviewing successful young lawyers who took a bold step to leave practice and set up their own law firms (i.e. to become entrepreneurs in the legal industry). They will be sharing valuable lessons from their experience for those who might be considering a similar move. For the third part of the series, we interview Adedunmade Onibokun who founded Adedunmade Onibokun & Co, a fast-growing law firm based in Lagos.

Why did you decide to venture out on your own?

Adedunmade: I had always known that I would set up my practice. Shortly after I finished Law School, I registered my law firm but went ahead to undergo tutelage in other firms before setting out to practice on my own.

When were you ready? How did you know?

Adedunmade: I was not ready until after five years of practice. I just knew within myself that it was time.

How did you prepare for your transition into the “legalpreneurship” life??

Adedunmade: I mentally prepared myself by speaking to colleagues and seniors who had also established their practice so that I could learn from their experiences and better prepare for my exit. I was able to rent a small office space and just barely furnish it.

Which was your preference – partnership or sole proprietorship?

Adedunmade: I chose to go solo.

What was your funding experience?

Adedunmade: To be honest, funding was tough and for the first few months. Without the buffer a steady salary offered, it was not easy to adjust. I started small and decided not to bite more than I could chew. I played every role, from acting as a cleaner to litigation officer to the managing partner.

How did you manage your initial costs?

Adedunmade: A lot came from my savings and I had to manage my costs by cutting my cloth according to the available material.

Do you have a physical office? If so, what influenced your choice of office location?

Adedunmade: I chose to have a physical office because many clients are more comfortable knowing their counsel has an office space. Regarding location, I wanted a place not too far from my home to reduce the time I spent commuting to the office.

How did you put together a team?

Adedunmade: My first team member was a secretary who played multiple roles in the office. I was later able to employ a young lawyer who was participating in the NYSC programme.

How did you win your first client(s)?

Adedunmade: My very first client came from an Instagram message on a Sunday. The client had been following my law-related posts and asked me to come for a meeting the following Monday. Thinking back, I undercharged for the service but at the time, the fee I was offered was the highest professional fee I had ever earned.

How did you market your firm especially seeing that the legal industry can seem so saturated?

Adedunmade: I was able to leverage on social media to position myself as a lawyer that clients could count on. My posts educated readers on various aspects of the law and I was able to win clients from there.

How did you establish your name/brand?

Adedunmade: Through hard work and consistency.

We are told that being an entrepreneur means having your own time – would you say your quality of life has improved since you went solo?

Adedunmade: Entrepreneurship does not mean you have more time but it allows you the opportunity to manage your time. Generally, you spend more time at work knowing your input largely determines how successful you become. Regarding the quality of life, I still work late and spend more time at the office than my team. I practically go to work almost every day.

At what point did you begin to feel that this was indeed a sustainable venture?

Adedunmade: For me, this would be when I was able to land my first major client.

Tell us two things that you were not prepared for?

Adedunmade: Both of them are regarding staffing. First, recruiting competent people and then being able to manage staff.

Tell us about your worst day in private practice?

Adedunmade: We had made an error and the client was not too happy. I was not pleased either, but it taught me a lesson to make sure I always paid attention to all the small details.

How do you balance practice administration/management with the practice of law?

Adedunmade: I am still getting better at this daily. It is not easy to network, source for briefs, manage the firm, carry out research and also have the time to draft processes.

What is the place of mentoring in setting up and running your own practice?

Adedunmade: Mentoring plays a major role as it allows you to learn from the experience and guidance of others who have gone before you. Mentors also help you focus.

 How has the journey been so far?

Adedunmade: In one word, amazing! But it can certainly get better.

What is your biggest piece of advice for young lawyers looking to set up their own law firms?

Adedunmade: Take your time to learn and get pupillage. Be hardworking and don’t give up.

Adedunmade Onibokun is a Lawyer, Blogger and Author, whose legal practice focuses on Corporate Commercial Law. He is the Managing Partner at Adedunmade Onibokun& Co.

Adedunmade is internationally recognized for his legal advocacy work via The LegalnaijaBlawg; www.legalnaija.com.  His book, Legal Rights and Obligations Under Nigerian Law, educates its reader on Nigerian laws and legal obligations.

Adedunmade has contributed several articles to both local and international journals and also appears regularly on various media platforms as a regular analyst on national issues. Adedunmade has represented a varying degree of clients in several matters before different courts, arbitration panels and election tribunals in Nigeria.

At the 2018, Nigerian Legal Awards, Adedunmade was shortlisted as a finalist for the 40 under 40 Rising Star Award Category for his contributions to the development of law and business in Nigeria.

 

legallyengagedLegalpreneur’s Spotlight – Adedunmade Onibokun, Founding Partner at Adedunmade Onibokun & Co
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The Fundamentals of Writing Award-Winning Essays

We live in an era where industry experts and institutions are not only interested in spurring the personal development of undergraduate students, but also in hearing their views on important matters. One of the ways this is done is through essay competitions.

There are several essay competitions out there that students can get involved in. The best thing about doing this is that not only do you get to research and write on topical issues, but there are more often than not, cash prizes for the winners.

Although these writing opportunities are ones which law students can take advantage of, there are often problems encountered by law students. These problems include the inability to make proper research, inability to connect ideas, paragraphing, not being able to distinguish your essay, among several others. However, while it may be said that no one holds the exact key to writing an award-winning essay, it goes without saying that there are certain fundamentals which need to be learnt if you are to produce one. What then determines if you win is your mastery of these fundamentals.

Research Skills

If you intend to write an award-winning essay, then you must have very good research skills. Research is to writing what oxygen is to the human body – it gives life. What research does is to augment the level of knowledge and exposure you have on a particular subject matter. It moves you from the green area to a somewhat authoritative arena. Your examiners, when marking the entries for the competition, are not looking for surface-level analysis of the topic, neither are they interested in reading the very set of things that hit your mind when you see the topic. What they are looking out for is an advanced and deeper level of thinking, and this comes down to the quality of research that has been carried out.

In doing proper research, you have to learn how to use your search engines well. This will prevent a situation whereby you access and perhaps regurgitate the same information as almost every other person who enters the competition.

You have to do a personal analysis of the topic first. It is during this process that you highlight why the topic deserves to be written on, the factors that have brought the society to that point, the effects of the subject matter in consideration and then you can list out possible solutions on the way forward. For instance, assuming you are asked to write on “Creative solutions to the problem of unemployment in Nigeria,” instead of rushing to Google and searching on creative solutions to the problem of unemployment in Nigeria, what you would do is first of all, break up the topic into the sub-topics listed above and then proceed to Google these sub-topics, which in this instance may be, “causes of unemployment in Nigeria.” This way, you have a clear view of the problem thereby making it easier to get the solution. Essentially, knowing what to research is fundamental to carrying out quality research in the first place. It not only helps you to narrow down your research, but it also gives you a proper understanding of what you are writing on.

Paragraphing

When you have analysed the topic and you have done your research, the next step in the process is writing. This is where paragraphing and arrangement of ideas set in.

At some point, you must have heard some definitions of a paragraph. Several times, paragraphs are defined with regards to length. Some would say a particular number of sentences make up a paragraph while others may argue that it may be as long as half a page.

However, when writing today, all those definitions are mere technicalities that you hardly need to bother with. The true idea of a paragraph is embedded in the idea it carries and more importantly,  the logical progression and coherence of that idea.

Paragraphs are to essays what building blocks are to a building – they provide support. They give meaning to your sentences and also give it a structure that helps your readers understand.

When you look at your paragraph, see it as a guide which you can use to lead your readers by the hand. Having a sound knowledge of paragraphing is, in fact, half of writing an essay. This is because no matter the number of documents you have consumed while doing your research or the ideas you have acquired while brainstorming, if you do not know how to pass it onto your readers effectively, they will not be able to properly receive it. After all, if you do not give them, how will they take it?

In constructing your paragraph, a topic sentence is the first building block. And more often than not, a topic sentence works the way I started this paragraph itself – by introducing the concept that you intend to talk about. The idea of topic sentence emanated from how human psychology works. Once we see something, it becomes easier to identify with it going further. Topic sentence helps eliminate the burden of the reader wondering what the writer is talking about and instead informs you of what the writer intends to discuss.

The secret to having a sound paragraph is to make sure there is an “unfolding”. Unfolding is the sequence you get when you know your paragraph is moving in ascension – introduction, explanation, solution, and conclusion. Let us assume we are writing a paragraph to solve a problem. Start your paragraph with an introduction of the problem otherwise known as the topic sentence, then move to an explanation of the problem. It is during the explanation that you discuss what has led to the problem, the effects of the problem and why the problem needs to be solved. Following this, you list the solutions you have brought and discuss they will be implemented. Then, you conclude your paragraph. The essence of this conclusion just like the topic sentence is to enable the examiner immediately connect with your topic sentence.

Finally, use nice paragraph starters and proper transitioning words. Ensure that your paragraph does not just contain independent sentences or sentences that stand as though they are fighting one another. Create a very beautiful nexus between your sentences such that the flow of your paragraph becomes effortless and this is only possible when you have transitioning words in your paragraph. By doing all we have discussed, you would have created a nicely sandwiched essay for your examiner. And trust me, you don’t taste a nice sandwich and not nod your head in praise and satisfaction.


Habeeb Asudemade is a 400L law student and an award-winning writer with interests in Law, Leadership, Business and Community Service. He is a 2019 Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF) scholar who has interned with corporate law firms in Nigeria.

In 2018, he was selected to represent his University at the Impact Africa Intercontinental British Parliamentary Debate Championship in Kumasi, Ghana where the University placed first runner-up. Also, in 2019, he was selected to represent his University at the John H Jackson European Law Students Association Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organization Law in Nairobi, Kenya.

He is also a co-founder and business development head of Tell! – a content development company and an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program.

 

legallyengagedThe Fundamentals of Writing Award-Winning Essays
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Legalpreneur’s Spotlight – Adeleke Alex-Adedipe, Founding Partner at Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe

“Editor’s note – we are happy to introduce a series we have tagged “Legalpreneur’s Spotlight”. As part of this series, we will be interviewing successful young lawyers who took a bold step to leave practice and set up their own law firms (i.e. to become entrepreneurs in the legal industry). They will be sharing valuable lessons from their experience for those who might be considering a similar move. For the second part of the series, we interview Adeleke Alex-Adedipe who co-founded Duale, Ovia and Alex-Adedipe, a fast-growing law firm based in Lagos.

Why did you decide to venture out on your own?

Adeleke: My decision to set up a firm of my own had always been part of my career plan. The only thing I was not sure of was when the time would be right but I always knew the day was coming.

When and how did you know that you were ready?

Adeleke: I have come to realise that there is never a perfect moment for such a decision. I believe that the moment you set out is the perfect one. Not to say that this journey does not come with some preparation, that is, emotionally, financially, psychologically and mentally.

How did you prepare for your transition into the “legalpreneurship” life?

Adeleke: Like I mentioned earlier, I always knew the day would come and so every move and direction was in anticipation of this journey. However, I had an active 6 months of full preparation where all the stones where turned and I ensured I was on the right track for this journey.

Which was your preference – partnership or sole proprietorship?

Adeleke: I believe sole practitionership is gradually becoming extinct. I always knew partnership was the ideal model for me even when I was not sure who the partners would be. This again is part of the preparation process – knowing what model you are going to adopt. I remember when I had a conversation with my former Boss (I still call him my Boss by the way) and he asked me about my plans – his words were “Partnership or Solo?” I replied that I intended to go into a Partnership and he said it was great, particularly for the corporate commercial market especially in an age of diversification of practice.

How did you decide on areas of practice especially seeing that some are saturated and/ or dominated by the big players?

Adeleke: Selecting our areas of practice for our law firm was driven by our passion, our areas of expertise and the market. We considered the saturation in some areas of practice, but were not swayed by it – we follow the market need, our passion and the expertise we have built in these areas over time.

What was your funding experience?

Adeleke: Funding was provided by the Partners. It is important to start small but continue to grow and expand as the pocket accommodates all the needs arising.

How did you manage your initial costs?

Adeleke: As earlier stated, it was self-funded and we decided not to overshoot the runway.

Do you have a physical office? If so, what influenced your choice of office location?

Adeleke: I believe that as a lawyer in the Nigerian market, the office needs to be physical. Lawyers like doctors have personal relationships with their clients and a lot of clients ask to meet in person. It is important to have a befitting place to accommodate the client.

Based on this, we went for an office building in Lekki.

How did you put together a team?

Adeleke: The initial team consisted of the Partners and later we employed full-time Associates. I believe that since a lawyer deals with a lot of confidential instructions from clients, it is important that the team sees and appreciates this, therefore working with a freelance team may not be a great idea for a firm.

How did you win your first client?

Adeleke: I remember once marketing our services to an oil service company. We had a few meetings, but long story cut short, we did not get the brief. Days after that, we got an email from a financial institution asking us to do some work for them. This was our first official brief. The rest they say is history.

How did you market your firm especially seeing that the legal industry can seem so saturated? How did you establish your name/brand?

Adeleke: Our greatest marketing tool has been good work product. As a result of this, we have been able to leverage referrals from existing clients and this has been our greatest selling point.

We came up with the name of the firm by combining the surnames of all the partners and it sounded well and appeared to be good for us as a brand.

We are told that being an entrepreneur means having your own time- would you say your quality of life has improved since you went solo?

Adeleke: I would say it has been busier and I mean a lot busier but as an entrepreneur, you can always plan around your schedule and manage your time more efficiently.

At what point did you begin to feel that this was indeed a sustainable venture?

Adeleke: At the point at which I made the decision to go ahead and start my own firm. I also confirmed this at the start of the business and I have no regrets.

Tell us something that you were not prepared for

Adeleke: We were not prepared for the high cost of doing business in Nigeria. We started business at the peak of the economic downturn (some said it was bad timing but I do not think there is ever a “perfect” time to start). The cost at that point and even now is indeed ridiculous.

Tell us about your worst day in private practice.

Adeleke: Just like every other lawyer, I am sure I have had bad days. Unfortunately, none comes to mind right now. I guess it has become part of my nature to learn the lesson, forget and move on.

How do you balance practice administration/management with the practice of law?

Adeleke: To be a founding partner of a firm, I believe it is important you understand what practice administration entails as well as the practice of law. They are much intertwined and one cannot exist without the other. Fortunately, I have been able to understand the place of good practice administration and this was borne from my years working in a good and structured organization.

Also, I have always ensured that I stay abreast of new developments in practice administration as well as attending seminars/conferences and other creative opportunities to improve myself in this area.

What is the place of mentoring in setting up and running your own practice?

Adeleke: I believe in mentoring and I have continued to preach the need for young lawyers to have mentors. I have a mentor in this space and it is has been one of the best decisions for my entrepreneurship journey.

How has the journey been so far?

Adeleke: It has been an amazing journey so far and to God be the glory.

What is your biggest piece of advice for young lawyers looking to set up their own law firms?

Adeleke: My advice is to stay focused and have a mentor to guide you. Most importantly, do not be swayed by money. Someday your hard work will pay off.

 

 

 

 

legallyengagedLegalpreneur’s Spotlight – Adeleke Alex-Adedipe, Founding Partner at Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe
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