Style-shifting Tips: Making a History & Carving a Path in Law

TWB: Thank you for speaking to TWB (The WorkBooth Magazine); this is an honour for us. Kindly take us through your professional journey? And most importantly at what point did you know that you wanted to develop a career as a Lawyer?

Lere: I had always wanted to be a lawyer as a child but I also had guidance and interesting elders who took interest in me and inspired me to become a lawyer. They include late Mrs. Folake Okediran, late Chief Bola Ige SAN, late Hon. Justice Owolabi Kolawole JCA and late Hon. Justice Olajide Olatawura JSC. Law for me was driven more by passion and early identification of my areas of strength. In spite of my science background, there was that undying interest to speak for the less privileged and to represent the interest of the vulnerable members of my community. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in May 2007. I practised briefly at the Law Firm of Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor and Segun now known as Denton-ACAS. Thereafter I became a counsel in the firm of Kola Awodein & Co. Established my Company Legal Blitz Limited 2012 which has over the years provided the highest quality continuous legal education to lawyers across Africa. I have authored many books and I am also the publisher of ESQ Practice Magazine. I am also the organizer of the Nigerian Legal Awards which is an annual award ceremony that celebrates the contribution of lawyers to businesses.

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TWB: What are some of the unforgettable moments in your career? Moments that you describe as turning points?

Lere: I have had a lot of unforgettable moments in my career and I will mention a few. One of the moments was when we launched the Nigerian Legal Awards

TWB: With the benefit of hindsight, are there things you would do differently if you were to start afresh?

Lere: I don’t think there is anything I will do differently. I can say I have no regrets. Every step on this journey has been a learning curve for me and it is what has helped me to get better at what I do and keep going on.

TWB: What aspect of the daily job of being a lawyer interests you the most?

Lere: As an avid learner, every day provides an opportunity for me to learn something new and also impart knowledge to others. This is the aspect of the day that appreciate the most.

TWB: In your view, what do you predict as some of the challenges that Professionals in Africa will face in the next decade?

Lere: With the advent of COVID 19, the legal industry witnessed a period of disruptive change. Clients are now demanding new ways to reduce their risk and legal spending. They are constantly changing how they select, manage and evaluate outside counsel performance. Expectations are changing too. Clients are demanding service delivery that is preemptive, not reactive, they are innovating in other sectors e.g. Fintech, they are looking for efficiency both internally & externally, they want enhanced value and reduced transaction costs. The legal market itself is evolving and it will continue to evolve even beyond the next decade. In the future, the business of law will require fewer lawyers that is, the general support staff members, junior lawyers, and generalists and will require more legal technicians and project managers. Tech skills in the areas of digital communication and collaboration, computer and data science, and statistics will become the coin of the realm in this profession. In some law firms, new roles including legal process managers and general legal technicians will emerge. These are some of the challenges that will be faced in the profession. One thing that will place professionals at the forefront of change and produce results is innovation. Innovation that comes through training. So, professionals, lawyers, law firms, in-house counsel that fail to embrace change, client-focused innovation, change leadership and technology will find themselves at a disadvantaged position.

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TWB: In 30 to 40 years, what kind of legacy do you want to be remembered for?

Lere: Jim Rohn, it was who said, “All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine”. I want to be remembered as one of the pacesetters who paved the way for the transformation of traditional law practice through legal technology. With a mission of expanding the frontiers of continuous professional learning, ESQ Trainings Limited has so far, through our different training services, trained over 5000 lawyers and other professionals across Africa and we are not slowing down. Some of the people who have attended our training are heading their organizations now and I know that they are pushing for change and transformation in their different sectors. It is good to

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TWB: What advice would you give to young and upcoming professionals about aspiring for greatness and advancing in their careers?

Lere: The Bible says, study to show yourself approved. What will make the difference between you and the next lawyer is what you know. Don’t rest on your oars, your LL.B certificate is just the beginning. You have to continue studying and increasing your knowledge through training, pupilage, internships etc.

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