Nigeria's top law firms and lawyers: Chambers Global 2018 ranking

14 Mar 2018
Reporting by Martins Hile


Aluko & Oyebode, Banwo & Ighodalo, G. Elias & Co., Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie are the top-ranked law firms in Band 1 under the Banking and Finance practice area.

Chairman, Aluko & Oyebode law firm, Gbenga Oyebode

The Chambers Global 2018 rankings of Nigeria's best law firms and lawyers were released on February 15 by Chambers and Partners ( The Nigeria rankings are part of Chambers Global 2018 rankings, a directory of leading law firms and lawyers covering over 190 countries across the world.
The annual rankings rate leading law firms and lawyers in various practice areas, such as Banking and Finance, Corporate/Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Energy and Natural Resources, as well as Intellectual Property. According to Chambers and Partners, its directories are widely regarded as the go-to guide for clients in search of the best lawyers and law firms across the globe.

First published in 2000, Chambers Global’s coverage of the Nigerian legal market has continued to expand. The total number of law firms ranked in 2018 increased to 33, from 31 rated last year. This confirms Chambers' assertion that there is a growing interest from law firms who want to be featured in the annual rankings. The new entrants in the latest rankings are Perchstone & Graeys, a Nigerian commercial law firm; and G.O. Sodipo & Co., a law firm, which specialises in intellectual property law.

The role of lawyers and law firms in structuring transactions, resolving disputes, and helping investors interpret and navigate regulatory guidelines in both existing and emerging sectors is well-established. And for any country to attract capital flows and develop sustainable markets, an efficient legal system and stable regulatory environment are necessary preconditions.

The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has made significant progress in improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria, while it gradually implements policies aimed at diversifying the economy. Since the end of the economic recession last year, foreign investment inflows have been rising. Nigeria was ranked among the best-performing stock markets in 2017, coming only behind Argentina and Turkey, and outperforming the Hong Kong equity market.

One of the likely outcomes of the country's positive investment outlook is increased legal activity with regard to transactions and dispute resolutions. Lawyers and law firms worth their salt have an important role to play and clients need a go-to guide for their research before deciding who to work with.

"The top Nigerian law firms are very much in demand," said Maia Foulis, Deputy Editor of Chambers Global. Ms Foulis further pointed out: "Our coverage has grown substantially over the last few years to reflect the growing diversity of legal practice in Nigeria. We wanted to highlight the dynamism of this important market."

The Nigerian law firms and lawyers are ranked in categories or bands, with Band 1 having the highest rating. For example, Aluko & Oyebode, Banwo & Ighodalo, G. Elias & Co., Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie are the top-ranked law firms in Band 1 under the Banking and Finance practice area.

Although 33 law firms are listed in the current rankings, only four law firms feature in all five practice areas covered by the rankings. The law firms are Aluko & Oyebode, one of the largest integrated law firms in Nigeria; Banwo & Ighodalo, leading Nigerian corporate law firm; G. Elias and Co, one of Nigeria's leading business law firms; and AELEX, a full-service commercial and litigation law firm. These firms were similarly rated in the 2017 rankings.

Featuring in four different categories are: Jackson, Etti and Edu, a leading full-service commercial law firm; and Templars, a full-service law firm with offices in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Uyo.

Apart from the aforementioned firms, other leading Nigerian law firms in the rankings are Olaniwun Ajayi LP; Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie; Detail Commercial Solicitors; F.O. Akinrele & Co; Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore; ACAS-Law (Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun); Ajumogobia & Okeke; Odujinrin & Adefufu; Stillwaters Law Firm; Abdulahi, Taiwo & Co; O. Kayode & Co; George Ikoli & Okagbue. Others are Wole Olanipekun & Co; Giwa-Osagie & Co; Olajide Oyewole & Co; Solola & Akpana; Allan & Ogunkeye; Kola Awodein & Co; Strachan Partners;
Babalakin & Co; SPA Ajibade & Co; Advocaat Law Practice; and Streamsowers & Köhn. Perchstone & Graeys G.O. Sodipo & Co

Top-tier Nigerian lawyers, according to Chambers Global 2018, include Dan Agbor, Managing Partner at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie; Dr. Konyinsola Ajayi, Managing Partner at Olaniwun Ajayi LP; Prof. Gbolahan Elias, Principal Partner at G. Elias & Co; Asue Ighodalo, Partner at Banwo & Ighodalo; Gbenga Oyebode, Managing Partner at Aluko & Oyebode; Ayuli Jemide, Lead Partner at Detail Commercial Solicitors; and Funke Adekoya, Partner at AELEX.

Others are Sola Adepetun, Founding Partner at ACAS-Law; Omolara Kayode, Founding Partner at O. Kayode & Co.; Uwa Ohiku, Partner at Jackson, Etti and Edu; and Oghogho Akpata, Managing Partner at Templars.

The report also provides information on some associates and emerging partners whose legal careers are rising quickly. Some associates to watch out for include Abayomi Adebanjo, a Senior Associate in the Banking Finance and Infrastructure unit of Jackson, Etti & Edu; Aderemi Ogunbanjo, a Senior Associate in Odujinrin & Adefulu's Energy Practice; and Uzoamaka Emerole, a Senior Associate in the Corporate & Commercial Practice Group of ACAS-Law.

Chambers and Partners said the rankings are the product of extensive research conducted by a team of nearly 200 researchers.  

The full rankings follow.

Martins Hile, is Executive Editor, Financial Nigeria Magazine.

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