Considering that quite a number of lawyers at any given time in Nigeria are qualified for elevation to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) but only a few make the list each year, when therefore a Law firm could boast of Two or More SANs in its fold, the impression is that such a Firm must be a redoubt of excellence and uncommon competence. STEPHEN UBIMAGO, in this piece, lists a number of such Firms and their SANS.
ADBULLAHI IBRAHIM & CO
Established in 1973 as a fully fledged Commercial law firm, Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co. has since diversified and built a robust general legal practice for which it has become recognised as one of Nigeria’s pre-eminent law firms.
The Firm boasts a whooping Four SANs and they are:
- Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, CON, FCIArb, FINALS, LLD, SAN.: Alhaji Ibrahim, who is the Firm’s founding Partner, was called to the English Bar in 1963. He was later called to the Nigerian Bar in 1964. He was admitted into the Inner Bar as SAN in 1982. He is a Notary Public, a Life member of the Body of Benchers. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria (FCIArb) and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) (MCIArb), and also a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Nigeria (FINALS). He was conferred with an honorary Doctorate in Law (LLD, Honoris Causa) by the University of Kogi in 2008.
- Adetunji A. Oyeyipo, Esq, SAN.: Oyeyipo, a Partner in the Firm, earned his BA and LLB with honours from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile Ife, Osun State in 1982 and the University of Ibadan 1986 respectively. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in1987 and has been in active practice with the Firm since 1987 to date. He was admitted into the Inner Bar as SAN in 2004.
- Olabisi O. Soyebo, SAN.: Olabisi Soyebo, a Partner in the Firm, heads its Abuja office. She obtained her BA in Sociology from the College of St. Elizabeth New Jersey USA and her LLB from the University of Buckingham, England in 1987. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1988. She has ever since been in active legal practice with the Firm. She was appointed a Notary Public in 1998 and was admitted to the Inner Bar as SAN in 2008.
- Rotimi Oluseyi Oguneso, Esq. SAN.: Rotimi Oguneso, a Partner in the Firm, earned his LLB from the University of Ife in 1990. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1991 and the iner Bar as SAN in 2012. He joined Abdullahi Ibrahim & Co in 1995 and has since remained in active legal practice with the firm.
AFE BABALOLA & CO (EMMANUEL CHAMBERS)
Founded by Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) in 1965, the firm prides itself in its rich alumni that include several judges and 14 SANs, said to be the largest number produced by any law firm in the country.
Emmanuel Chambers is a composite firm of legal practitioners engaged in providing a wide range of legal services to persons and corporate bodies. With its head office in Ibadan, the firm maintains branches in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt with two correspondence offices in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State and the city of London, UK.
The Firm’s SANs are:
- Aare Afe Babalola, OFR, CON, FNIALS, FCIArb, FFPA, LL.D, D.Litts, SAN.: Aare Babalola, the Firm’s Founder and Principal Partner, earned his B.Sc and LLB from London. He holds an honourary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Lagos. He is also the founder and proprietor of Afe Babalola University, Ekiti State.
- Adebayo E. Adenipekun, FCIArb, SAN: Adenipekun, the Managing Partner of the Firm, earned his B.Ed, LLB and LLM with honours from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Ogun State. He is a Fellow, Institute of Abitrator, Nigeria. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1991.
- Olu Daramola, MCIArb, SAN: Daramola, who is the Deputy Managing Partner of the Firm, earned his BSc, LLB, LLM and another LLM from the Universities of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of London respectively. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1993 and elevated to the rank of SAN in 2008.
WALE BABALAKIN & CO
The Firm is a leading Commercial law firm in Nigeria with nearly three decades of experience in various aspects of Commercial law practice and dispute resolution. Founded by Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), the firm is headquartered in Lagos with branches in Abuja and Port Harcourt.
The Firm is reputed for its extensive competence in Energy, Oil and Gas, Corporate Restructuring, Venture Capital and Project Finance, Banking and Securities, Company Secretarial Services, Corporate Governance, Joint Ventures and Taxation, Foreign Investments, Intellectual Property Protection, as well as Litigation/Dispute Resolution.
The firm boasts of three SANs. They are:
- Dr. Wale Babalakin SAN, OFR.: Dr. Babalakin, who is the Firm’s Senior Partner earned his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with honours from University of Lagos; an LL.M and Ph.D from the University of Cambridge, UK, and admitted to the Nigerian Bar with a BL. Dr. Babalakin was conferred with the rank of SAN in 2002 and has served as a member of the Body of Benchers, and former Chairman of both the Committee on Construction and Real Estate under the Section on Business Law.
- Wale Akoni (SAN) is the Firms Managing Partner. He bagged his B.Sc in Political Science and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with honours from the University of Ibadan; and admitted to the Nigerian Bar with B.L. Akoni was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2006.
- Tola Oshobi (SAN) is a Partner in the Firm and head of Firm’s Litigation and Taxation Groups. He recently made the list of lawyers to be sworn in as SANs in September this year. He earned his LL.B with honours from the University of Ibadan; and BL from the Nigerian Law School.
FRA LAW (CHIEF ROTIMI WILLIAMS CHAMBERS)
Chief Rotimi Williams’ Chambers, is one of Nigeria’s oldest law firms, having been in steady service for over 70 years.
It was established by late Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams, CFR, QC, SAN, one of Nigeria’s most prominent lawyers of all time. Chief Williams was the first Nigerian to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He was the president of the Nigerian Bar Association in 1959.
The firm boasts Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and they are:
- Abimbola Williams (Chief Mrs.) SAN, Partner: Chief (Mrs.) Williams was admitted to the Gray’s Inn London, United Kingdom and the Nigerian Bar in 1964. She bagged M. Comp-Jur from Howard University.
- Tokunboh Williams (SAN) Partner
Mr. Williams earned his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Buckingham, UK. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1982, and elevated to the rank of SAN in 2003.
WOLE OLANIPEKUN & CO
The Firm was established in 1980 by Chief Wole Olanipekun. It is a fully serviced legal practice that has earned a reputation for exceptional competence in litigation and commercial practice.
The Firm, which is headquartered in its Ikoyi office in Lagos, has branches Abuja, Ilorin and Akure.
The Firm boasts Two SANs, and they are:
- Chief Wole Olanipekun, OFR, LLD, SAN: Chief Olanipekun, who earned his LLB from the University of Lagos; and his BL from the Council of Legal Education, Nigerian Law School, is the Principal Partner and Founder of the Firm. He attained the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1991 at the age of 39 years. He is a Life Bencher and was 20th President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He was also a former Attorney General of old Ondo State from 1992 to 1993. Chief Olanipekun was the immediate past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Ibadan. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of Ibadan.
- Dr. Oladapo Olanipekun, FCIArb, SAN: Dr. Olanipekun bagged his LLB, LLM and PhD from the University of Lagos and Queen Mary and Westfield College of the University of London respectively; and his BL from the Council of Legal Education, Nigerian Law School. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria. Dr. Dapo Olanipekun was elevated to the rank of SAN, being the youngest person ever to be conferred with the rank since inception.
Olaniwun Ajayi was founded as a sole practitioner-ship on November 2nd, 1962 by late Sir Olaniwun Ajayi in November 2nd, 1962. The Firm is one of the largest and open partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the last five decades, Olaniwun Ajayi has established a sterling go-to reputation for a wide range of corporate, commercial and contentious work.
The Firm boasts Two SANs, and they are:
- Professor Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN: Professor Ajayi is the Managing Partner of the Firm. He earned his LLB from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolo University) Ile Ife, Osun State, and his LLM and PhD from Harvard and Cambridge Universities respectively. With over 35 years in practice, his expertise spans litigation and transactional work in banking, project finance, capital markets, power, infrastructure, M&A, energy and natural resources, privatisation and dispute resolution.
- Oluseye Opasanya, SAN: Opasanya, the Deputy Managing Partner of the Firm, earned his LLB from the University of Lagos; and an LLM from the University of London; and BL from the Council of Legal Education, Nigeria Law School, Lagos. Oluseye, who doubles as Head of the Banking, Finance & Capital Markets group, advises on corporate finance, trade finance, insolvency, receivership and capital markets.
SOFUNDE, OSAKWE, BELGORE AND OGUNDIPE
Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore is a full-service firm. The firm was established in May 1989 by Ebun O Sofunde SAN, Gabby N. O. Osakwe, Babajide O. Ogundipe & Mohammed D. Belgore SAN.
The founding partners have together been engaged in legal practice for a total of over 100 years. Both Messrs Sofunde and Osakwe were called to the bar in 1972, whilst Ogundipe was called in 1979 and Belgore in 1985.
The Lagos-based firm also works with leading law firms in various parts of the world especially in Europe and in the United States of America on a wide range of matters.
The firm boasts two SANs, and they are:
- Ebun Olusegun Sofunde (SAN): Ebun Olusegun Sofunde, founding Partner of the Firm, was elevated to the rank of SAN at the age of 38. He bagged his LL.B with honours from University of Lagos in 1971. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1972.
- Mohammed Dele Belgore FCIArb, SAN: Dele Belgore earned his LL.B with honours from Hull University, England in 1983; and his LL.M from Bristol University, England in 1984. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985. He was elevated to the rank of SAN in 2001 at the age of 40. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and became a Notary Public in 1997.
IDOWU SOFOLA & CO (EREKE CHAMBERS)
The Firm was registered under the Registration of Business Names Act, 1961 on November 24th, 1975. The Firm has its principal place of business on 4th and 5th Floors, Ereke House, Plot 15, CIPM Road, Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria with presence in all States of the Federation.
The Firm is a full-service litigation and commercial law firm noted for its professionalism that spans Four decades.
The Firm boasts Two SANs, and they are:
- Chief Idowu Sofola, MON, SAN.: Chief Sofola is the principal partner of the Firm. He was called to the English Bar at Middle Temple Inn of Court, London on July 17, 1962 and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria on July 30, 1962. He was elevated to the rank of SAN in 1989.
- Olusina R. Sofola, SAN.: Olusina Sofola, Esq. earned his LLB and LLM with honors from the University of Buckingham, England and the University of Lagos respectively. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1988 and the inner Bar as SAN in 2010.
OLAWOYIN & OLAWOYIN
The firm was established in 1976. It offers a full range of legal services, with principal focus on all facets of corporate, securities, maritime, foreign investment, litigation and arbitration matters. It also offer advice in the areas of real estate, international banking, insurance and international commercial transactions generally.
The Firm boasts Two SANs, and they are:
- Professor G.A. Olawoyin, SAN: Professor Olawoyin (SAN), the Founder and Principal Partner of the Firm, obtained his LLB and LLM in 1965 and 1966 respectively from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He went on to obtain his Ph.D in Company Law from the University of Bristol in 1970. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1975, and elevated to the rank of SAN in 2000.
- Dr. Adewale Adedamola Olawoyin, SAN: Dr. Olawoyin (SAN), the firm’s Managing Partner, obtained his LLB with honours in 1987 from the then University of Ile-Ife. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1988. He obtained his LLM and Ph.D from LSE in 1990 and the University of Bristol in 1991 respectively. He was admitted to the inner Bar as SAN in 2014.