Leading Firms 2018

In this edition of Who’s Who Legal: Nigeria we list practitioners from over 70 law firms, from full-service outfits to specialised boutiques; however, over 40 per cent of the listings in the guide are earned by lawyers from just six standout national firms. Here we profile the individual outfits dominating the Nigerian legal market.

Total number of listings: 15

AÉLEX boasts a strong reputation as a market leader in Nigeria, ranked this year as one of the top five firms in the country by number of listings. The original foundations of the firm have expanded greatly in its near 30 year history, with the expertise of its practitioners now recognised across 12 practice areas in this edition. The firm offers a wealth of expertise across a number of fields, with practitioners excelling particularly on the litigation, project finance and energy fronts.

In the litigation space, Funke Adekoya SAN comes highly recommended by sources in the field who praise her impressive expertise handling complex commercial disputes. She also garners strong support for her work in the field of arbitration. Soji Awogbade performs well in this year’s research into the energy, natural resources and mining space while Lawrence Fubara Anga stands out for his excellence in those spaces as well as when it comes to project finance and banking matters and shipping and maritime law. Meanwhile, Theophilus Emuwa gains recognition for his first-rate expertise across a range of areas including corporate tax, data, intellectual property, and M&A and governance law.

Total number of listings: 21

Leading full-service outfit Aluko & Oyebode stands out as one of the top commercial law firms in Nigeria. The firm’s 70-strong team of lawyers provides individuals and businesses with comprehensive legal services across a range of sectors and fields, both domestically and abroad. This year 21 outstanding practitioners are recognised across 12 practice areas, illustrating the depth and breadth of the expertise on offer.

Members of the firm are widely recognised for their corporate finance expertise, achieving recognition across our banking, project finance, corporate tax and capital markets chapters. The firm is also particularly strong in the energy and natural resources arena, seeing an impressive four top-tier individuals nominated for their excellent work advising on related transactions, regulatory matters and financings.

Members of the firm are among the top names in the Nigerian market, with key individuals including Uche Nwokocha, who ranks among the very elite of intellectual property practitioners in the country, and Kofo Dosekun, who wins praise for her financial expertise in our banking chapter. Other standout names include Gbenga Oyebode who is highlighted for his expertise across an impressive four practice areas, including banking and project finance, and Babatunde Fagbohunlu SAN, who is widely respected for his first-class dispute resolution practice.

Total number of listings: 14

Leading full-service Nigerian law firm Banwo & Ighodalo was established in 1991 and has since become an important and prominent player in the domestic legal market. This is reflected in our research this year as the firm achieves 14 listings across seven practice areas

The firm performs particularly well across the corporate finance arena, with lawyers recognised for their excellence in M&A and governance and capital markets matters. It also illustrates its strong sectoral offering receiving nominations across our energy and natural resources and construction chapters.

Leading figures at the firm include Ayotunde Owoigbe and Asue Ighodalo, who achieve listings for several chapters in this publication, including project finance, M&A and capital markets, with Ayotunde Owoigbe also being noted for her work in banking. Femi Olubanwo also displays a breadth of expertise securing recognition for his work in energy as well as intellectual property law.

Total number of listings: 12

Jackson, Etti & Edu is a standout commercial firm in Nigeria’s legal landscape, with over 250 international clients and 60 legal practitioners. It features prominently in our research this year achieving 12 nominations across seven practice areas, illustrating the range of expertise among its practitioners.

The firm particularly stands out in this edition for its top-tier IP offering, with five practitioners listed in our corresponding chapter for their stellar work in the field. Members also demonstrate their skill in the corporate immigration field this year, as well as strength and depth across a suite of corporate finance services with listings in our capital markets, banking and M&A and governance chapters.

Key names at the firm include Folasade Olusanya who is highly respected for her excellence in the corporate space, while Obafemi Agaba draws high praise for his first-class IP practice.  

Total number of listings: 17

Leading domestic full-service law firm Olaniwun Ajayi illustrates its prominent position in the Nigerian market in our research this year. Achieving 17 nominations across six practice areas, the firm once again showcases the breadth and strength of its offering.

Corporate finance is an area in which its practitioners truly excel, most notably when it comes to M&A and governance work where the firm achieves five nominations this year. Lawyers are well versed in handling a wide array of related matters, from due diligence and strategy to corporate governance compliance. The firm also performs well across our banking and capital markets chapters receiving three and two nominations respectively, while its strength in projects, and energy and natural resources, is also highlighted.

Key individuals at the firm include Wolemi Esan who stands out as one of the most highly regarded project finance lawyers in the country. Tominiyi Owolabi is also highlighted, thanks to his strong expertise in corporate law, while Konyinsola Ajayi SAN is recommended as a top-tier litigator by numerous sources across the region.

Total number of listings: 30

Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie is a full-service corporate practice with a leading presence in the Nigerian market. It achieves 30 listings across 11 practice areas in this edition, which is more listings than any other firm in this year’s research and showcasing the depth and breadth of expertise on offer.

With seven listings in our M&A and governance, the firm stands out for its market-leading corporate practice, which serves domestic and international clients in cutting-edge transactions. The firm has a strong financial practice and is among the leading players in the banking and capital markets space, where it achieves three listings apiece in our corresponding chapters.

The firm leads the market for energy, natural resources and mining matters. It sees five lawyers listed in this chapter, who are highlighted for their impressive experience advising on major transactions and oil and gas projects. It achieves a further four listings for its stellar project finance practice which encompasses power, infrastructure, transportation and telecoms projects both in Nigeria and abroad.

Standout individuals at the firm include Dan Agbor and Folake Elias-Adebowale who are highly respected in the market for their top-tier M&A work. Mena Ajakpovi is a distinguished IP practitioner and a leading name in the field, while Dan Agbor and Aniekan Ukpanah top the market in the project finance arena.

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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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