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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Nigeria > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Adeyemi Adefulu - Odujinrin & Adefulu
    • Funke Adekoya - AELEX
    • Abimbola Akeredolu - Banwo & Ighodalo
    • Ademola Akinrele - F.O. Akinrele & Co
    • Babatunde Fagbohunlu - Aluko & Oyebode
    • Fidelis Oditah QC - Oditah
    • Oluseye Opasanya - Olaniwun Ajayi LP
    • Paul Usoro - Paul Usoro & Co

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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AELEXepitomises the values of a world-class law firm; it has clients’ interests at heart, and frequently exceeds expectations’. Recent highlights include successfully representing China National Offshore Oil in challenging an education tax assessment before the Tax Appeal Tribunal, a decision that was subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal. Practice head Funke Adekoya has over four decades of arbitration and litigation experience in corporate, commercial, energy and tax cases; she acts as counsel in arbitration proceedings and has been party-appointed sole arbitrator or presiding arbitrator in several high-value disputes. Standing out for aviation, banking and finance cases, Lawrence Fubara Anga also has a broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice. Adedapo Tunde-Olowu’s practice is focused on banking and finance, tax, transport and investment disputes; Ola Orewale is recommended for business insolvency matters, including debt recovery, garnishee proceedings and corporate restructurings. Managing associate Godwin Etim has extensive commercial litigation experience and has represented oil and gas clients in a range of actions.

The team at Aluko & Oyebode, which is ‘a reputable and strong firm’ for dispute resolution and arbitration, is led by Babatunde Fagbohunlu. Fagbohunlu has led on some of Nigeria’s most significant petroleum-related disputes in the past year, successfully obtaining an injunction in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip Oil restraining Crestar Integrated Natural Resources from selling its assets to any third party. He has also been representing Chevron in potentially $10bn-worth of claims arising out of the 2012 ‘KS Endeavour Incident’. Debt recovery and receivership expert Adeniyi Adegbonmire was appointed by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to act as receiver of a Nigerian airline that had incurred debts worth over ₦11bn. Tax litigation expert Chukwuka Ikwuazom is handling a tax dispute for Trafigura Beheer worth over $600m, while IP and admiralty specialist Mark Mordi defended Guinness against a motion for an injunction to prevent it from proceeding with its rights issuance programme.

Olaniwun Ajayi LP is well regarded for advising on complex disputes and criminal investigations in the finance, capital markets, power, and oil and gas sectors, as well as acting in IP cases and white-collar crime matters. Senior Advocates of Nigeria Konyin Ajayi and Oluseye Opasanya are advising Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria as receiver on the receivership of Arik Air, involving realisation of over ₦90bn-worth of debt and a total debt exposure of around ₦400bn. Opasanya is also defending Depthwize in a dispute relating to alleged damage of two active pipelines belonging to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited. White-collar crime expert Khrushchev Ekwueme is acting for the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a case against a bank’s two former executives for alleged theft, receipt of stolen property and infractions of laws and regulations.

Banwo & Ighodalo’s practice is noted for its ‘detailed, precise and very high-quality’ level of service. Highlights included defending Oriental Energy Resources against an action seeking over $23m-worth of damages for alleged conspiracy and fraud concerning the transfer of crude sale proceeds. The team also represented Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services in a claim bought against all telecoms operators in Nigeria concerning alleged infringement of privacy rights by telemarketing activities. Abimbola Akeredolu heads the practice. ‘Speedy, skilled commercial litigator’ Chinedum Umeche has ‘very strong dispute resolution skills and a strong sense of urgency’.

The ‘efficient, knowledgeable and responsive’ practice at G. Elias & Co provides ‘excellent service’; all its team members are ‘friendly and always helpful’. Highlights included successfully defending Citibank against a $57m negligence claim brought by Afribank; representing MTN Nigeria in arbitral proceedings for alleged breach of contract to supply telecoms equipment; and advising Coca-Cola on product liability claims. Gbolahan Elias is ‘an erudite scholar who is well respected among peers’; managing partner Fred Onuobia is ‘an excellent litigator who keeps his ears to the ground and is always well positioned to advise clients’; and senior associate Fidelis Adewole is also noted.

Oditah regularly acts as counsel or arbitrator in ad hoc and institutional arbitrations in sectors including banking, oil and gas and telecoms. The team has advised the Securities and Exchanges Commission, Cadbury and Transocean Support Services, among others. Fidelis Oditah QC has ‘a very keen intellect, picking up concepts and ideas very quickly; he is also a persuasive and respected advocate’. James Okoh is another key contact.

Odujinrin & Adefulu represents high-profile clients such as MTN Nigeria, AG Leventis, Nigeria National Petroleum and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). One recent highlight saw senior associate Lucky Ayeki defend Lafarge against a claim brought by 39 claimants for compensation following their acquisition of land in Ewekoro, Ogun State – a parcel of land that was being held by Lafarge. Adeyemi Adefulu heads the team.

Templars is noted for its advice on tax disputes, having previously represented Esso and Shell in over $4bn-worth of appeals against the Federal Inland Revenue Services at the Tax Appeal Tribunal. Energy arbitration and construction arbitrations are also strengths of the team. Adewale Atake heads the group, with tax head Dipo Komolafe involved in tax disputes.

Uzoma Azikiwe heads the department at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, which handles litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution and provides advice in maritime, aviation, employment and energy matters. The team is currently representing Statoil in the Supreme Court of Nigeria in respect of a claim by Inducon Nigeria and Dr. John Abebe valued at a minimum of $230m. It is also defending Virgin Atlantic Airways (Virgin) in a lawsuit brought against it and Aviation Logistics and Management (ALM) by former ALM employees seconded to Virgin, who allege that the termination of their employment contracts constitutes unfair labour practice and that they were discriminated against. Managing associate Festus Onyia and senior associate Olukayode Dada are noted.

According to one client, Bloomfield Law Practiceprovides sound and comprehensive advice at reasonable prices’. The practice is recommended for commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution, handling general corporate, employment, debt recovery and financial services disputes. Recent highlights include advising Monjasa on the recovery of several unpaid and outstanding bunker supply claims, and representing Macmahon Contractors in a contractual dispute involving outstanding sums for the supply and installation of equipment. Adedoyin Afun is ‘a very competent lawyer who gets results in a complex jurisdiction, and is always proactive, efficient and commercially minded’. Adekunle Obebe is also recommended.

F.O. Akinrele & Co’s litigation group regularly appears in significant cases before state, federal and appellate courts; the practice’s experience includes contractual disputes, IP litigation and environmental law cases. The arbitration team regularly acts for global companies in international arbitrations, particularly regarding energy, construction, M&A and investment disputes. Ademola Akinrele, Olumide Aju, Benson Akunya and Chukwudi Eze are recommended.

Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors represents a number of banking and financial services clients, including Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Royal Exchange. Senior partner Anthony Idigbe, who heads the practice, is ‘an outstanding lawyer’, with ‘vast knowledge and very good business acumen’. Recent work includes advising Tower Aluminium on its response to a winding-up petition, and acting for Omega Maritime and Energy seeking declaratory and injunctive reliefs following its receivership.

Royal Heritage has considerable experience in commercial disputes, including contractual disputes, employment disputes, product liability disputes and creditors’ rights disputes. Clients include LG, United Airlines and the Lagos State government. ‘Results-oriented’ managing partner Prince Aderimi Adekile, who has ‘good listening skills’ and is ‘receptive to different perspectives’, successfully defended the CBN before the Supreme Court in an employment dispute with its former assistant director. Sussan Agu represented Yetsimer Property and Investment in arbitral proceedings relating to rent and service charges owed by the respondent under a property exchange agreement. Eniola Fadayomi, senior associate Olusola Oyebowale and associate Olukemi Somoye are also recommended.

Sefton Fross act in large commercial disputes and represent clients in mediations, domestic and international arbitrations and before the superior courts of record in Nigeria. Adeola Owoade heads the team; senior associate Enovwor Odukuye-Akpoguma is a key figure.

Tayo Oyetibo LP is recommended for its expertise in disputes relating to the banking, oil and gas, power, real estate and telecoms sectors. It is also experienced in cases involving administrative law issues, white-collar crime and admiralty matters. Highlights included a debt recovery action for over ₦1.5bn further to a share sale transaction, and acting for the Nigerian Ports Authority in a claim worth over $12m arising from a joint venture agreement for the dredging and maintenance of the Calabar Access Channel. Chief counsel and founding partner Tayo Oyetibo is recommended.

Uche Nwokedi & Co. stands out for its oil and gas experience, with clients in the sector including Nestoil, Inducon and Addax Petroleum. The team has previously advised clients in the maritime and finance sectors, such as B&Q Dredging and Marine Services and Keystone Bank. Uche Nwokedi has ‘extensive knowledge’.

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