LAGOS LAW WEEK 2021: STELLAR CAST OF SPEAKERS, PANELISTS TO EXPLORE TECH-DRIVEN CHANGES AND THEIR IMPACT ON LAW PRACTICE

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Going by the anticipated contents of it’s panel discourses, the focus of this year’s Law Week of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association is to consider the multifaceted changes being wrought by 21st-century technological changes, especially on the ways we work and live, and to explore these in-depth, the better to discover ways of responding to them in an effective, timely and beneficial manner.

The event,  slated to hold between July 23-29 at the iconic MUSON Centre, promises to be an unforgettable experience for attendees – whether as individual practitioners or as law firms or other corporate organizations, as far as re-tooling their practice for the challenges and opportunities ahead is concerned.  The Law Week, which will interrogate the theme, ‘Disruption, Innovation and the Bar,’  will feature a star-studded conglomeration of knowledgeable and influential personalities In the Nigerian and international legal space, as well as other sectors of the economy who would bring their experience and expertise to bear on various topical issues and trends. 

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NEWSWIRE’s correspondent gathers authoritatively that Lagos State Attorney-General  Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, and Mrs. Efe Etomi would formally welcome delegates to the Conference, after which  Nigeria’s vice-president , Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, is expected to deliver the keynote address at the event, an activity that will set the tone for the Conference.

In all, Lagos Law Week 2021 would see eight plenary sessions with experts from various sectors of the economy.

The opening activities  will thereafter feature a panel discourse will provide overviews from a distinguished faculty of speakers on how technology, innovation and trade liberalisation are disrupting the practice of law across the globe – and how this has impacted on the work and fortunes of the Nigerian legal practitioner.

The opening plenary session of the knowledge-sharing sessions  will dwell on the topic: ‘National Security and our Fundamental Rights,’ a clear-eyed assessment of recent encroachments by the government of the day on fundamental rights on the grounds of ensuring national security. It will feature speakers such as Mr. Femi Falana, SAN; Profs. Akin Oyebode and Chidi Odinkalu, and will be moderated by Mr. Charles ‘Deji Adeogun-Phillips, a former UN genocide and war crimes prosecutor. .

The role of lawyers and law firms in protecting rights in the face of threats and efforts to combat these threats, as well as carry out their other services to society is crucial. But how equipped are they to effectively play this role? Indeed, what’s the health status of law firms today? That’s what the second plenary session seeks an answer to, as it considers the topic,  ‘Built to Last: Creating World Class Law Firms in Nigeria.’ Discussants will share their respective experiences of building durable law practices and their challenges, as well as the future of law practice in Nigeria in the face of global competition, and the importance of succession planning.         Asue Ighodalo, Founding Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo; Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi SAN,Managing Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP; Mrs. Myma Belo-Osagie, founding Partner, UUBO; Mrs. Kofo Dosekun, Partner, Aluko & Oyebode; Mr. Adeleke Alex-Adedipe, managing partner, Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe; and Moray McLaren Lexington Consultants will join the moderator, Baba Alokolaro, Managing Partner, TNP, in tackling this important subject.

The panelists at the 3rd plenary session of Lagos Law Week 2021 will discuss the current state of justice delivery in Nigeria, causes of delays therein, the extent to which judicial officers should be involved in  court administration and the ways in which technology can be deployed to birth a justice delivery system that meets the needs of the people, as they dissect the topic, ‘Bringing Justice Delivery in Nigeria Into the 21st Century.’ Supreme Court Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun will chair this discussion, and will be joined by Mr Babajide Ogundipe, Justice A.O. Faji,Justice Lateefat Okunnu, Mr Fidelis Oditah, QC, SAN and Ogun State Attorney-General, Gbolahan Adeniran.

The 4th plenary session of the conference, for example, will speak to ‘The Changing Landscape of Arbitrator Disclosure Obligations,’ as panelists discuss recent cases and developments relating to the obligation of arbitrators to disclose possible conflicts of interest.     The moderator,  Seyilayo Ojo, will be joined by the likes of Babatunde Fagbohunlu SAN; Mrs Mia Essien SAN;  Mayowa Owolabi and  Mrs Olamide Aleshinloye.

A robust discussion is expected during the 5th plenary session of the conference, as it is about money – or rather, the lack or inadequacy thereof. ‘Financial Autonomy of the Judiciary: Key to Judicial Independence or Ruse?’ is the topic of this session, which will focus on the recent clamour for financial autonomy for the judiciary and examine whether this request, if granted, will deliver the much-desired judicial independence in Nigeria. The moderator for this session is no other than the much-respected Dr Babatunde Ajibade SAN. The learned silk will be joined onstage by the retired Hon. Justice Iyizoba, Y.C. Maikyau SAN, Ekiti State Attorney-General Olawale Fapohunda and Mrs Ayo Obe, former President of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO).

The future is upon us, and the need to prepare those who will shape that future has never been more urgent. The task of the panelists at the 6th Plenary Session, tagged: “Soro Soke!: Young Lawyers, Minimum Wage, Brain Drain and Professional Development,” will be to discuss contemporary issues affecting young lawyers – especially the question whether there should be a minimum wage, as well as the ongoing brain drain in the legal profession, and the need for professional development. Panelists are expected to proffer suggestions on what should be done to retain and enhance young talent in the profession. Dayo Okusami will moderate this session, as bright young Turks such as Caleb Adebayo, Yimika Adesola and Modupe Odele (popularly known as Moschievous) join SBL Chairman Ayuli Jemide, Femi Banwo of Banwo & Ighodalo on the podium to do justice to this topic. 

The borderless business landscape of the 21st century marketplace will not leave the legal profession untouched – a fact that will animate the   7th plenary session of the 2021 Law Week, which will address the topic: ‘Lawyers Without Borders: Opportunities or Threats?’ Discussants will interrogate the growing trend of lawyers practicing across borders and the likely impact of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement(AfCFTA) on the liberalisation of legal practice on the African continent, and what  opportunities and threats exist therein. They are expected to offer suggestions on how Nigerian lawyers can either prepare for or prevent this liberalisation.            The moderator for this session, Wolemi Esan, will be speaking to Chief Anthony Idigbe SAN, pioneer SBL chair George Etomi, another former SBL chair Mfon Usoro, Mr. Dele Belgore,  SAN and Dayo Idowu.

The 8th and final plenary session at this year’s conference will see a discussion on legal education, professional development, and strategies for young lawyers to develop and flourish in the legal profession in line with the topic, ‘Career Development Strategies for Professional Growth.’  Tobenna Erojikwe will anchor this one, along with such distinguished panelists as Prof. Isa Hayatu Chiroma, SAN, who is the current Director-General of the Nigerian Law School;Dr Adewale Olawoyin SAN, Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN and Prof Gbolahan Elias, SAN.

The outgoing Chairman of the NBA Lagos branch, Omoyemi Akangbe will deliver the closing remarks to bring the 2021 Lagos Law Week Conference Programme to a befitting close.

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