Mia, as she is fondly addressed, obtained her Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Nigeria in 1984 and was called to the Bar in 1985. She got an LLM in 1991 from the University of Lagos and is a Notary Public of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In 2007, she became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, making her the 7th woman to take the silk. She was listed among the world’s 500 top lawyers in the year 2014.
Miannaya is the Managing Partner of Principles Law Partnership, a firm that emerged from the merger of a number of law firms including her Miannaya Essien & Co.
She specialises in handling complex commercial disputes, oil and gas matters and litigation. She is a Chartered Arbitrator; a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), a Registered Capital Market Consultant with the Securities and Exchange Commission and a Panel Member, Maritime Arbitrator’s Association of Nigeria. She is an approved tutor of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a member of faculty of the Nigerian Law School, Abuja, where she lectures as an adjunct.
Mia has been actively involved and has served in various capacities within the Nigerian Bar Association. Amongst other positions, she is a former Council Member of the Section on Business Law; Council Member of the Section on Legal Practice and had served as the Chairman of the Section on Legal Practice from 2017 to 2019.
Mrs. Miannaya Essien, SAN has never seen being a woman as a disadvantage. In her words: “I have never felt intimidated by men. I may be intimidated by excellence generally, as most people would, but that has nothing to do with the person’s gender”.
Speaking on how she was able to strike the right balance, Mia noted that “as a professional, there is a tendency for society to find faults with female professionals. I recognised that early enough and knew I had to make time for all the different components of my life.” She does not believe that a woman needs to underplay her femininity in order to be successful in her career; a woman can be feminine and assertive.
The brilliant Mia Essien, SAN always stands in a crowd with her unique hairstyle and graceful gait. In spite of her obvious remarkable success in the profession and the fame that comes with it, she has remained quite unassuming.
She is devoted to mentoring younger colleagues in the profession, particularly the young women, whom she encourages to be certain about what they want out of the profession and to go for it.
As the world rounds off the celebration of outstanding women this month, I wish to salute my ever stylish, elegant and accomplished colleague Miannaya Aja Essien, SAN.
Yakubu Chonoko (YC) Maikyau
Chairman, NBA Welfare Committee
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