In this edition of “TheMillennial” we feature Emokiniovo Dafe-Akpedeye, a bright Nigerian legal practitioner par excellence who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2015. Prior to obtaining her law degree from the prestigious Oxford University, UK, she studied Economics and Management at the University of Bristol and graduated with a first-classhonours degree. In her insatiable pursuit of excellence, Emokiniovo is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and holds a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration, which is the highest level of academic qualification granted by the CIArb. She is also a qualified solicitor in England and Wales.
Emokiniovo cut her legal teeth at one of the top law firms in Nigeria; Olaniwun Ajayi LP specialising in oil & gas matters among other transactional legal work. After leaving Olaniwun Ajayi, she joined Compos Mentis Chambers where she has excelled as a skilled litigator, solicitor and arbitrator. She has handled and continues to handle complex commercial disputes with great aplomb.
Emokiniovo is poised to reach the peak of the legal profession in Nigeria and beyond within record time. She is a strong advocate of gender equality and improving the welfare of young lawyers in Nigeria. She is an avid fitness enthusiast, fondly called “Wonder Woman” among her friends and owns a fitness blog.
For Emokiniovo, what makes the practice of law exciting for her is “the thrill”. Granted all professions in the world offer value for money, she believes the law practice is still unique and special. For her, the healthy intellectual rivalry between lawyers, which has the ultimate goal of pushing them to be better; as well as the artistic prowess in drafting beautiful briefs of argument or rock solid contracts for clients; the advice given to clients to help them save time and money; the travels; the people she meets; the eloquence and charisma lawyers command and respect accorded to legal practitioners; the inexplicable joy of winning certain cases. Emokiniovo mentions that it also does not hurt that a lot of money can be made while doing what she loves most; all these are “the thrill” for Emokiniovo.
Away from the thrill of the practice, Emokiniovo notes that there should also be some philosophy of impacting the nation through the practice of the law, for her the Right Ethics and Values are her guiding principles. She understands that the practice of the law helps develop a person’s sense of ethics and values. She further let us realise that integrity, loyalty, and honesty are as important as any other quality one may possess. According to Emokiniovo, fortunately, the law practice cuts across the entire systems and sectors of the country, ranging from advising the Legislature on the impact or problem which could be encountered in interpretinga proposed Law, advising the President on the legal implication of a planned policy; assisting companies merge or advising a company on legal impact their policies or decision may have; it could be advising a small business enterprise on how to get a loan or expand its reach; it could be defending a person who has been accused of committing a crime etc. Thus, for her, the law practice enables lawyers deal directly with people whose decisions and policies have direct impact on the nation. Therefore, she believes that:
“if lawyers possess the right ethics and values, and start to care less about the money, in favour of the greater good of the entire country when dealing with clients especially on sensitive issues, then, law practice can have a really positive impact on the nation.”
On Emokiniovo’s next big thing she is working on. Of course, she had a retort for us, “well, if I tell you now, then it won’t be a secret, would it?” However, in all honesty, she does not think there is one big thing she is working on. She works on little things in her career – taking on new courses in different areas of law, reading and writing more legal and non-legal articles, which all build her up as a better person and lawyer for her current and future clients. She also has non-law related goals, like doing pull-ups effortlessly. In addition, she engages with young members of the legal community and law students to build their capacity in different ways.
For her she asserts that the millennials’ greatest strength are two things – speed of connectivity and innovation. Emokiniovo notes that millennials are utilising every ounce of technology to their benefit and this has helped them in delivering top-notch services at unprecedented speed. Also, for her, the unparalleled pace at which technology is advancing in recent time has made connecting with the rest of the world faster than ever before. She believes millennials understand that the ease in connecting with the rest of the world means their market space and potential clients are not limited by their physical location; and the ability of millennials to innovate in a highly connected world is a great asset that cannot be underestimated. As a millennial, she remarks:
“We are a formidable voice of change and action; with a mere click of a button we can join forces with our peers worldwide as a powerful voice that reverberates globally.”