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This Special Report covers 16 practice areas.

This will search all specialists in Nigeria.

Nigeria In Brief

With the past year witnessing, among other things, the continued fight against corruption, the ongoing high-level threat of terrorism as well as a series of reforms across a range of sectors, the environment remains highly demanding for those looking to conduct business in Nigeria. As corporate entities seek to navigate the Nigerian market, the need for top-tier domestic legal services remains high. 

The country continues to feel the effects of the fall in oil prices, with sources noting an uptick in restructuring activity in the power sector. Restructuring and refinancing work for power companies has kept lawyers in the field very active over the past 12 months, as industry players look for ways to survive the current downturn. However, this period has also seen a growing focus from the Nigerian government on renewable energy across the country, in a bid to ensure the revival of the power sector, which in recent years has been in a state of crisis. Indeed, the past year has seen key investment developments in the sector, including support from the EU of €94.5 million through the Nigeria 11th European Development Fund, €33 million of which is aimed at tackling the lack of access to power and electricity through the expansion of renewable sources. Furthermore, the government’s most recent renewable energy policy was accompanied by “Vision 30:30:30”, with the objective of attaining 30,000MW of electricity, with 30 per cent of this energy coming from renewable sources, by 2030. Sources believe that such developments indicate a positive outlook for the future, with government commitments providing reassurance to investors and thus paving the way for what practitioners believe will be a busy few years for the legal market.  

As the government seeks to ease the way in which companies can operate and conduct business throughout the country, dispute resolution continues to be an active field for lawyers. The area comprises 20 per cent of the total listings in our research this year, illustrating its prominence in the jurisdiction. Practitioners note that business crime defence work remains important as the battle against corruption continues. As the focus on corporate governance and compliance intensifies, the legal market is seeing an increase in anti-corruption litigation and enforcement action. Sources also note a continued trend towards arbitration as a form of dispute resolution when it comes to resolving domestic conflicts. Clients are becoming increasingly aware and attuned to the benefits of the arbitration process when pitted against the alternative of litigation through the “slow and ineffective” domestic courts.

The TMT sector also remains a growth area across the country, with increased communication networks and technology key aspects of the case for development. Lawyers note continued interest, particularly in the telecoms sector, from investors, but emphasise that they do not foresee many new entities entering the market, instead envisaging investment in the country’s existing networks. The last few years have seen the growing sophistication of the sector, a trend particularly noticeable when it comes to cybercrime. The landmark Nigerian Cybercrime Act came in to force in 2015, and signals the country’s first legislative focus on cybersecurity. The implementation of such regulation can be seen to mirror a more general trend on a global scale to clamp down on cyberthreats and is seen by sources to demonstrate a move to emulate international best practices. Lawyers note that the past year has witnessed an uptick in compliance work in this space; whether or not the next few years will see an increase in related litigation remains to be seen.

Competition within the Nigerian legal market has by and large remained the same over the past year, a trend reflected in our research, which sees the top three firms remaining the same as those in our 2016 edition. It is still the case that foreign law firms are unable to open offices in Nigeria, while foreign practitioners cannot practise in the country unless they have been called to the Nigerian Bar. Therefore it is unsurprising that full-service domestic firms dominate the legal market, most notably Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, Aluko & Oyebode and AÉLEX.

As is the global trend, cost-consciousness has gained prominence in the Nigerian legal market. Additionally, sources point out that practitioners are increasingly unable to rely on the reputation that they have always had and consistently need to prove themselves and up their game as clients become more sophisticated. Those we spoke to remain optimistic, however, that despite cost pressures, “there is still a lot to be said for great competence and talent”

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Analysis: Nigeria

Nigeria: Arbitration 2017

We list 22 of the leading arbitration practitioners who handle both domestic and international arbitrations as counsel and/or arbitrator under the auspices of various arbitral institutions.

Nigeria: Aviation 2017

This year our research has identified 13 leading practitioners who are internationally recognised for their exceptional skill in the field of aviation, in areas including insurance claims, aircraft acquisition and regulatory matters.

Nigeria: Aviation Review 2017

Etigwe Uwa

Etigwe Uwa SAN, Streamsowers & Köhn

The aviation industry, like almost all other industries in Nigeria, witnessed some downturn in the past year, for several reasons, including the economic recession that affected the country. The challenges range from scarcity of forex, scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1), flights and baggage delay, and corrupt practices by regulatory officers.

Nigeria: Banking 2017

We feature 12 leading practitioners who are recognised for their excellent work representing financial institutions and corporate clients in a regulatory and transactional capacity. 

Nigeria: Capital Markets 2017

In this chapter we recognise 17 practitioners known for their expertise in capital markets transactions, advising issuers and underwriters in IPOs, secondary offerings including rights issues, placements and other debt and equity issuances.

Nigeria: Commercial Litigation 2017

This year’s research identifies 28 outstanding litigators who have been recommended by peers and market sources for their expertise handling disputes in a broad range of commercial matters. 

Nigeria: Construction & Real Estate 2017

This year we highlight three practitioners who stand out for their exceptional work handling construction and real estate matters from financing and public procurement to regulatory and compliance issues in both the public and private sector.

Nigeria: Corporate Immigration 2017

This year’s research identifies six practitioners with market-leading expertise in handling the legal immigration and naturalisation of workers on behalf of corporate entities

Nigeria: Corporate Tax 2017

In this chapter, we identify five of the country’s leading corporate tax lawyers. The featured lawyers regularly advise on issues of taxation for corporations and commercial entities including transactions, restructuring and contentious and non-contentious work.

Nigeria: Energy and Natural Resources 2017

In this chapter we highlight 35 practitioners who stand out for their impressive work representing and advising energy companies and investors involved in the exploration, production, marketing and transportation of all types of energy, including oil, gas, nuclear and renewables.

Nigeria: Intellectual Property 2017

We feature 22 individuals in this chapter who are recognised for their outstanding intellectual property expertise. The following lawyers provide invaluable advice on patent and trademark enforcement, infringement disputes, prosecution and anti-counterfeiting. 

Nigeria: Labour & Employment 2017

In this chapter, we recognise two outstanding practitioners with proven track records in representing and advising on a variety of matters relating to labour and employment law.

Nigeria: M&A and Governance 2017

We feature 24 lawyers who stand out for their transactions expertise, and their ability to advise and assist clients on M&A in Nigeria and on cross-border matters.

Nigeria: Project Finance 2017

In this year’s Nigerian project finance research, we recognise 20 specialists for their expertise and experience advising sponsors and lenders on major project financing and refinancing transactions across a variety of sectors.

Nigeria: Restructuring & Insolvency 2017

In this year’s edition, we recognise nine leading individuals who are recognised for their expertise in the full range of bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency work.

Nigeria: Restructuring & Insolvency Review 2017

Etigwe Uwa

Etigwe Uwa SAN, Streamsowers & Köhn

In legal parlance, restructuring of a corporate entity is effected upon a declaration of insolvency or to avert insolvency or in some cases for the expansion of the business base of such organisation. In the case of statutory or corporate organisations, state authorities may implement the restructuring, while for private companies, private administrators effect the restructuring. A number of matters pertaining to insolvency and restructuring have occurred in Nigeria very recently; the most apparent being the power sector, where change in policy and industry reforms occasioned major overhauls in the structure and operation of the sector.

Nigeria: Shipping and Maritime 2017

This year’s research highlights 14 leading lawyers in the field of shipping and maritime law, who are recognised for their work handling related financing, logistics, transactions, and insurance and crisis management matters. 

Nigeria: Technology Media & Telecommunications 2017

We feature 11 leading practitioners who stand out for their exceptional work in the Nigerian telecommunications, media and technology legal market. 

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Firm Profiles: Nigeria

2017: Leading Firms

We list over 70 law firms in this year’s edition of Who’s Who Legal: Nigeria; however, over 40 per cent of the listings in the guide are earned by lawyers from just six standout national firms. Below we profile the individual outfits dominating the Nigerian legal market.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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