Maximizing Your University Years: the undergraduate’s guide to legal excellence

It is no gainsaying that the undergraduate years of law students are germane to their overall development. These years not only represent a key part of the student’s self-growth but also shapes his approach to life.  In fact, to a very large extent, how you, as a student, position yourself during these university years has an overwhelming influence on your life after school. So, if you can determine how best to position yourself, you would be a step ahead in maximizing your undergraduate years.

While there are no hard and fast rules as to maximizing these years, there are, in the very least, helpful tips that can set you on the right course. And whether you are in year 1 or 5, it is never too late to start. It’s like the saying goes: the right time to start was years ago, but the second right time is now.

Be diligent with your studies

First things first, work on getting good grades during your undergraduate years. Do not fall into the category of those who write off school examinations as not being the “true test of knowledge”. This notion is one that often pushes students to adopt a lackadaisical attitude to their academics. The students then start to believe that being active in other extra-curricular activities somehow justifies their nonchalant attitude to their studies. However, the question that this category of students refuses to answer is why not do both; Why can’t you be a diligent law student and an astute participant in extra-curricular activities?

Therefore, do not get sucked in by those that preach against good grades. As a law student, you need your grades. And most importantly, since you lose nothing by chasing them, why not chase them excellently and passionately!

Source and apply for opportunities

If you must fully maximize your years as an undergraduate, then you must constantly be on the lookout for opportunities. The modern-day law student is not one that sleeps on opportunities and allows them to pass by. Even if the opportunity does not present itself as a clear-cut one, you source it out and then ensure you take advantage of it. One interesting thing about the world of today is that there are several opportunities out there for undergraduate students which have the capacity to change your life and the only way you would know is if you reach out and try.  More so, these opportunities – which may be conferences, scholar programs, essay competitions, internships – help increase the quality of your experience. They expose you to the framework of a life outside the classroom and this is a key factor in knowing the purposeful law student.

Be active in student organizations

In addition, plan your time well enough to accommodate law student organizations that may be interesting to you. These organizations are always charged with a specific task which they carry out. They include the Moot and Mock Society meant for mooting competitions; the Literary and Debating Society meant for debating the International Law Students’ Association, the Tax Club, the Intellectual Property Club, the Junior Chambers’ International, and several other more. Asides sharpening your skill on the specific purpose of these organizations, they further help you with your leadership skills which are very important.

The longer you spend being diligent in these student organizations, the more chances you have of being elected or appointed to handle tasks and manage responsibilities. As a student and future lawyer, you can learn a lot from these tasks, responsibilities, especially with regard to how you handle your relationship with people. The ethics you develop from the proper management of tasks in your student organizations will influence your work ethic later as a lawyer.

Asides this, as a committed member of these organizations, you can get the opportunity of meeting top players in the law industry. As such, you see that the benefits of joining these organizations while you find a balance with your academics are simply immeasurable.

Take online courses

Again, the modern day law student does not sleep on avenues which they can use to boost their CV. There are tons of courses online which you can conveniently take during your undergraduate years and get certified for. Taking online courses basically does two things for you: for one, it equips you with a wider knowledge of the law, and secondly, it adds value to your CV. It indicates to recruiters – especially for internships – that you are not an average law student.

Apply for undergraduate internships

Apply for internship opportunities with different firms in the industry. These internships offer you the avenue to get a hands-on and practical approach to how the law is practised. They provide you with the opportunity to be in the environment in which you hope to later work. Regardless of whether the internship is paid or not, what should be a priority to you is the experience, the people you would meet and what you would learn. Also, interning with firms further leaves your CV robust and attractive – a sign of a hardworking law student.

Equally important is the fact internships give you the opportunity to test out if you really want to study law. Seeing the numerous benefits, the question again is: why not apply for the internship programs? In most cases, all you need do is to forward your CV and Cover Letter to the firm which you intend to intern. It is, however, always competitive getting internship with top law firms, so you would have to tighten your belt.

Finally, as an undergraduate myself, I have found out that in maximizing your years as an undergraduate law student, it is most important that you know how to find the balance. While it is good to be versatile and engage in all the above-stated things, it is more important that you master the art of ensuring that one does not affect the other (read how here). Once this is reasonably understood, then getting the best out of your years becomes effortless.

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.

 

legallyengagedMaximizing Your University Years: the undergraduate’s guide to legal excellence
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Balancing Academics with Extracurricular Activities

As students, we have individual interests. Although we desire good grades, the need to develop these interests often rivals our academic fancies. In an era of incredible advances in technology and the resultant global demand for highly cognitive and behavioral skills (such as interpersonal skills, problem solving, creativity, communication skills, analytical skills, project management, leadership, risk-taking and strong work ethic ) it has become imperative that premium should be placed on extracurricular activities as much as academics..

On the one hand, academics seek to instil in-depth intellectual knowhow and acquaint students with the scholastic demands of their field of study. On the other hand, extracurricular activities present an ecosystem that helps to build the personality of a student through active engagement in projects that require them to develop and apply requisite skills.

However, the narrative often gets twisted where a student cannot balance these two and find themselves robbing Peter to pay Paul. The result is a graduate that can neither meet the demands of a fast-paced work environment nor answer basic questions in their supposed field of study. Safe to say, a balance is all that is required. The question, however, is how do we balance both academics and extracurricular?

Accept that you cannot do everything

First, you need to come to terms with the fact that you cannot do everything. There are cases of students who went off the academic grid because they got themselves involved in too many extracurriculars. Take your time to choose wisely. You definitely do not want a situation where your commitment in those activities is mediocre, as this immediately echoes low engagement and growth. Be sincere with yourself and let the number of activities be commensurate with your strength and passion.

Prioritize your academics

Establish the fact that your academics are your priority―of course, your academics got you to school in the first place. Further into your LLB journey, you need to remind yourself of this truth because there will be instances where you feel compelled to sacrifice your academics, but doing this comes with substantial repercussions. A decision to prioritize your academics helps you maintain the balance.

Draw up a timetable

It is usually tasking to maintain good grades and at the same time continue to be very active in extracurricular activities. By drawing up a timetable, this gets much easier. The timetable should reflect the activities you plan to attend, and the preparations or activities required for you to maximize your experience at each club meeting. This timetable should revolve around your reading schedules, and you should make deliberate steps to keep both studies and extracurricular in check. This way, you can keep track of time, and be less susceptible to spontaneous schedules.

Join Study Groups

Joining a study group helps you monitor your status with a course at any point in time. Through discussions, points that you would never have averted your mind to are brought to the fore, and ingrained into your subconscious. Besides, you can easily ask questions where you are not clear on classes you missed as a result of extracurricular engagements. Checkups never go wrong.

Simplify topics by discussing with friends

Law courses can be technical and when extracurricular activities limit your engagements in class, it gets much worse. What you can do then, is simplify topics taught in class with friends. This means you have to discuss the topics casually with friends; argue and brainstorm on cases and courses. Foremost philosopher Bertrand Russel advises us to philosophize as it unlocks portals of profound understanding. We can also compare them with real-life stories, make jokes and quips from them, and before long, the topics would have unveiled themselves. It even gets better when this gist partner is equally or more passionate about both the extracurricular and academics. The icing on the cake ― you have got yourself an accountability partner!

Relax

Take deliberate efforts to relax. However, do not just relax; also take stock of how much you have achieved in the past week.

In conclusion, the future of work is changing and the legal profession is being automated; if any student will not be left behind in the wave of technology, they will equip themselves with needed skills manifest in their respective interests. Extracurricular activities help to develop these skills; however, in order to acquire and develop a profound understanding of legal canons needed in practice, academics must never be compromised. In effect, deliberate efforts must be channelled towards achieving a balance between academics and extracurricular.

Olanrewaju Moses is a 400 Level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan. He is a Director of Research and the Head of Divisions at Intellectual Property and Technology Law Club, University of Ibadan where his passion for this emerging field of law got him featured on University of Ibadan’s Diamond FM to discuss IP in relation to startups. He currently serves as the Speech Coach of Faculty of Law Literary and Debating Society, and the Managing Editor of Citizen NG, a fast-rising network of African writers. A recipient of various awards, he recently won the 2019 Omituntun in Diaspora Essay; and emerged third place at the 2019 National Intellectual Property Advocacy Competition organized by University of Ilorin Intellectual Property Club. Moses is a futurist, and he hopes to time travel.

legallyengagedBalancing Academics with Extracurricular Activities
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Increasing Your Response Rate on LinkedIn; five things to do before you hit the Connect button.

In today’s world where your network can determine your net worth, it is no longer news that LinkedIn is the best platform for networking, getting hired and cultivating rewarding business relationships.

Many people, students and young professionals alike, complain that LinkedIn is overrated simply because they feel once they sign up, jobs and great connections will be served to them on a silver platter. Others feel it is not worth the stress simply because some industry experts hardly accept connection requests and even when they do, they hardly respond to messages.

All these notwithstanding, the truth is that most times, we are the architects of these occurrences. In the following paragraphs, we will be looking at five things you should have done or you should be doing to increase your networking response rate on LinkedIn.

1.      Polish Your LinkedIn Profile

This issue cannot be overemphasised. Remember, first impressions matter and your profile is the first thing about you that gets the attention of your prospective connection. Polish your LinkedIn profile before hitting the connect button. Once this is done, you will be able to present yourself in the best possible and credible way, and this helps to increase your networking response rate.  An article has been written by Yimika Adesola,  on tips to build a killer LinkedIn profile for Nigerian professionals you can check it out here.

2.      Use Your Alumni Network

We understand how difficult it can be to look for and connect with the right people after your profile is polished. This is where the alumni network comes in. You should try to connect with the alumni of your university or even better,  find out how many of them work in the organisations, practice areas, divisions or cities that you may be interested in working. It is expedient to avail yourself of the opportunities that exist in connecting with your university alumni.

Most people are unaware that LinkedIn has provided a feature for this great connection and reunion You can find it here.  Upon clicking this link, you will be directed to your university alumni page which LinkedIn has structured to enable you to view the alumni of any given year.  The page  provides details such as; “Where they live”, “Where they work.” “What they do”, “What they are skilled at” and “How you are connected.”

Using this feature, you can also filter based on location to view whether you have any alumni living or working in your city.

Connecting with alumni from your university can make the process easier as it could give you an icebreaker to adopt when reaching out.

3.      Be Strategic

Do not just connect with any name that pops on your feed. It is not about volume; it is about quality. In terms of connecting with industry experts, be on the lookout for mutual connections you share with them and where necessary, ask for an introduction from your 1st-degree connections.

4.      Personally Invite

After building your profile and determining those you would like to connect with, the next thing is to personally invite them. Don’t get lazy and just spam random people with impersonal invites to connect. The key to success on LinkedIn is personalized 1-on-1 conversations and networking.  The first step to take on this is to use the “Personally invite” button.  Instead of hitting the “Connect” button straightaway click on “More” then on “Personally invite” and craft a thoughtful and personalized message politely asking them to accept the connection request. Do not send generic messages.  Remember, the intention is to build relationships, and not to amass connections.

5.      Add Value 

Lastly, you can appreciate them for connecting. Always remember to add value first before you ask for value!  You can add value by reading and commenting on their works, congratulating their career progress, asking them for their expert opinions on topical issues, making a recommendation and giving endorsements, offer offering your help and assistance to do something you are good at for free, forwarding interesting articles or posts pertaining to their fields and ultimately finding  out what they need help with.

WISHING YOU GREAT CONNECTIONS AHEAD!

Evaristus Okechukwu is a Content Curator at Legally Engaged and a 2019 Scholar of the Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF) founded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He is currently a 400L Law student of the University of Ibadan and has represented his university in a number of national competitions. He is passionate about research, writing and public speaking.

legallyengagedIncreasing Your Response Rate on LinkedIn; five things to do before you hit the Connect button.
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From Intern to Award-winning Entrepreneur; we interview Bidemi Zakariyau

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money.

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedFrom Intern to Award-winning Entrepreneur; we interview Bidemi Zakariyau
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From Lawyer to Award winning Actress & TV Presenter; we interview Olive Emodi

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedFrom Lawyer to Award winning Actress & TV Presenter; we interview Olive Emodi
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Exited Lawyer (Banking) – Dozie Egolum

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money.

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedExited Lawyer (Banking) – Dozie Egolum
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Qualified Lawyer & Project Manager; we interview Obinna Okonkwo

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedQualified Lawyer & Project Manager; we interview Obinna Okonkwo
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Foreign Lawyer – Reginald Aziza

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedForeign Lawyer – Reginald Aziza
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Public Sector – Funmi Owuye

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedPublic Sector – Funmi Owuye
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Academia – Reason Emma Abajuo

Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their employer or of Legally Engaged.

Private Equity (PE) is smart money deployed by investment management companies (usually PE firms) on behalf of themselves and other investors (e.g. pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, High Net-worth Individuals etc.) to invest in businesses and help such businesses grow. After a few years, the fund’s stake in the business is sold.

The most common ways a company raises money for expansion are either through loans or by listing its shares on an exchange. Private equity money isn’t made available publicly, but by investors who invest on behalf of themselves and other institutional investors in control for a stake in the business. They are also involved in the governance of the company (usually by taking up seats on the board) for the duration of their investment. This is why I call it smart money

A PE lawyer is usually involved in structuring and negotiating transactions such as buyouts, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, restructurings, divestitures etc. as well as drafting the requisite documentation required to close those transactions.

Apart from providing email responses to client’s questions on Nigerian law issues with regard to the transactions, I regularly take part in drafting, reviewing, negotiating and issuing comments on various agreements such as Investment Agreements, Share Subscription Agreements, Share Sale and Purchase Agreements, as well as Shareholders’ Agreements.

I also conduct due diligence investigations on target companies, i.e. companies that are sought to be acquired by organizations such as PE firms. The due diligence documents are usually uploaded to a virtual data room (i.e. an online site) for review, but there are occasions where the investigations may require visiting the target company’s offices to review hard copies of documents to verify the information provided.

My decision to study law was greatly influenced by my mother, who is an accomplished lawyer herself.  In my younger years, whenever I got into ‘trouble’, my mom was the one to go to – I was inspired by how she was always able to argue her way out of a variety of situations and thus aspired to be like that.

After choosing to study law, I wasn’t provided with much guidance on how to navigate through my career.  My mother suggested that I become a civil servant, but I didn’t fancy it because it didn’t seem ambitious enough.

I am delighted that I ended up becoming a corporate lawyer, considering that I was only advised to join the civil service.  It is a bit embarrassing but my decision to be a corporate lawyer was greatly influenced by a fictional character named Harvey Specter from a television series titled Suits.  I took a liking to the manner with which he closed deals and the confidence his clients reposed in him, so I considered it not bad to emulate him.  I didn’t have a plan at the beginning, but things sort of came through and I gradually leaned towards Private Equity and Corporate M&A once I started working at my current firm. Do I have any regrets? No

A young lawyer would need to be commercially aware.  Read the news and stay up to date with new laws, government policies, market statistics, the focus of investors and thriving industries, etc. Other soft skills like networking skills and the ability to build relationships are equally important because lawyers should always think of generating new business/clients and solidifying the existing ones.

I work mostly with global and local private equity investors, strategic buyers and sellers and other financial sponsors

It’s quite busy as expected, but nothing out of the ordinary – the typical level of work one would expect to face as a 5th-year lawyer. I work for 10 hours per day on average, but on some occasions (e.g. when a transaction is intense or about to close), then I may be required to for work longer hours (or even on weekends) to meet deadlines. I usually work as part of team, so everyone usually puts in their own bit, that way there’s not too much work left for only one person

The satisfaction on a client’s face, or the tone of their voice or email when you give them practical solutions that help solve their problems.  For me, there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Not quite.  There’s a lot of focus on theoretical (as opposed to practical) knowledge in the Law School and you find that it takes you about a minimum of 2 – 3 years of practice to really start to get a hang of things.  The Law School syllabus isn’t reflective of what truly obtains in the corporate legal world.

I’m just taking each day as it comes for now, but I don’t see myself leaving the practice of law.  I enjoy what I do.  It’s still early days in my career, so I’m making sure I garner as much experience as I can.  In the long term, I would like to be one of the go-to lawyers for corporate clients looking to do business/invest in Africa and, dare I say, maybe even the best African private equity lawyer that God ever created.

The most memorable thing that happened while working as a Private Equity Lawyer was receiving a cake and chocolate from a client after a deal closed.  It’s that memorable because it’s the only time that’s happened – and I enjoyed it

Take your career where you think it should go, not where others think it should go. Learn the trade and skills required for you be exceptional in this industry. Focus on building a long-lasting career instead of being fixated on obtaining immediate financial gratification.

legallyengagedAcademia – Reason Emma Abajuo
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