‘Millennials innovate to solve the problems they face and are not afraid to try new solutions”. – Chukwudi Ofili
In this edition, we interview the suave gentleman cum millennial, Chukwudi Ofili who is an Associate Partner at DETAIL Commercial Solicitors in Lagos, Nigeria, where he leads the Technology and Digital Economy Practice Group, as well as the Legal Tax Advisory Practice Group. He is a First-Class Honours graduate from Babcock University and an LLM degree holder from the University of Georgia School of Law. He is qualified to practice law in Nigeria and the State of New York.
Chukwudi is a solution-driven transactional lawyer who advises on a broad range of financing and commercial transactions such as corporate and project finance; project development; public-private partnerships; private equity; derivative transactions; the tax implication of different financing structures and asset holding structures; as well as the tax implication of providing cross border services. His experience also includes providing foreign investment advisory services.
He was once a Visiting Lawyer at Trinity International LLP in London as part of the International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA) Secondment Programme where he worked with the Finance and Projects team on several international transactions, with a focus on projects across the African continent. Chukwudi also had a brief stint at the headquarters of The Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, the USA where he worked with the legal team on cybersecurity, imports and OFAC compliance issues.
He is a recipient of the “Nigerian Rising Star Award” as well as a recipient of the “top 40 Nigerian lawyers under the age of 40” at the Nigerian Legal Award 2019. He also received the prestigious University of Georgia School of Law annual graduate assistant full-tuition scholarship award. He is also a recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Law Students Association, Babcock University Chapter, 2016. He has also featured as ThisDay Legal Personality of the week, February 2019 and has been described as an “experienced adviser” in the banking and finance area in the 2017 edition of Legal 500: Nigeria. He was equally mentioned as a “Lawyer to Watch out for”, ThisDay Newspapers, Nigeria, March 2016.
1. What makes the practice of law exciting for Chukwudi and who is his role model?
As a transactional lawyer, providing scalable business solutions to clients while utilising his legal knowledge, skills and network built over the years continue to excite him. For Chukwudi, the private agreements between parties on financing, investment, profit-sharing and corporate social responsibility fascinated him as a very young lawyer, and this continues to fascinate him every day as he practices law. The ability to strike an optimal bargain for clients, in a professional manner, is fulfilling for him.
He believes that as society and the economy develop, opportunities are also created for lawyers to expand their areas of expertise to interesting and fascinating jurisdictions and practice areas, whilst collaborating with other professionals. For him, technology law easily comes to mind, and with the rise of FinTech solutions, the trading of digital assets, and so forth. Further, as a lawyer licensed to practice in New York and Nigeria, the prospects of working with international and local participants in the technology ecosystem make even more interesting for him.
His role model in the practice of law is Mr Gbenga Oyebode, MFR who Chukwudi believes is arguably the most successful commercial lawyer that Nigeria has produced. He also thinks he is a “legalpreneur” and a “connoisseur of law and business” that has paved the path for almost every Nigerian commercial lawyer within Africa and outside of Africa.
2.What is Chukwudi’s philosophy of impacting the nation through the practice of law?
He strongly believes that law is a necessary instrument of nation-building, and lawyers are the custodians of these laws. He is of the position that lawyers understand the laws better and can use the law, the bar associations, and other media to effectively assist in building the nation. He thinks lawyers often serve as watchdogs in the decision-making process. Similarly, for him as a lawyer, he believes that mentoring is a means by which a positive impact can be made. He thinks mentoring is a great way to build future leaders and help these individuals in achieving their career goals with the right kind of guidance. Chukwudi understands that it provides an empowering opportunity to give back to the community.
3.What is the next big thing Chukwudi is working on?
For Chukwudi, his focus is on continuing to develop a thriving technology law practice and a legal tax advisory practice for DETAIL Commercial Solicitors. For him, there is no doubt that technology is driving innovation across all sectors and the technology sector spans a few different practice areas, from general corporate and securities work to mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, structuring and regulatory advisory. He plans to be strategically placed to help clients adopt and implement the correct digital strategy for their business as new technologies and new business models are disrupting existing ways of doing business. Similarly, he is working with the management team at DETAIL to continue to develop a legal tax advisory practice area that is strategically placed to provide creative, practical, business-oriented solutions to achieve clients’ goals in each deal.
4.What does he consider as the millennial’s greatest strength?
He thinks one of the greatest strengths of millennials is the ability to understand and use technology to drive innovation. He defines the millennial generation as those who are born between 1980 and 1996 and witnessed the arrival of technological growth and development, and perhaps because of it, he identifies them as being more progressive, creative and logical in thinking than earlier generations. He believes millennials are generally willing to take a risk in finding a new path for themselves. For him, millennials innovate to solve the problems they face and are not afraid to try new solutions. He understands that millennials’ creativity has benefited a great deal from their diverse perspectives and the willingness to apply the latest trends in technology to solve many of the world’s problems.
On a concluding note, he remarks,
“the belief that millennials mostly identify as being more concerned with intrinsic and moral values over extrinsic and material ideologies is also a strength.”
Click here to read our previous millennial, Mary Izobo
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