Can you please state brief introduction of who you are?
I am Mr. Ikechukwu Uwanna, a graduate of Abia State University. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2003 and I obtained a Master’s Degree in Law from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. I also acquired a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management from the Pan African University. I am happily married to Mrs. Chinasa Uwanna (a lawyer) and we are blessed with a daughter.
What area of law interest you more?
After a successful completion of the one year National Service in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, I began my legal carrier with Serenity Legal Union and Partners, Port Harcourt, Rivers State where I was exposed to corporate commercial matters. I also had a brief stint doing Tax Advisory with SIAO Partners. This explains why I find Corporate Commercial Law, yes including Commercial litigation most interesting.
Lawyers are learned. The nature of our job requires that we read and carry out research in different areas of life. Sometimes, we are required to speak with experts whose professional field is far from law. To do this, we research, listen to news, read dailies and do whatever we can to keep abreast with the current trends in the society. Therefore, law practice exposes me to different information and broadens my knowledge.
Why do you choose to be a lawyer?
Growing up, I wanted to be a fine artist. I had a very deep flair for drawing. However, my father was a Lawyer and without saying so, he set out to make me love the profession. During the holidays, he would take me along to his office, to Court etc. and he usually introduced me to the Court when he announced his appearance. I remember once I was with him in Court and the Judge walked in and requested to know what I was doing there, so my father introduced me and the Judge encouraged me be like my father, someday! I loved to go with my father – the major attraction being that he would always buy me biscuits, sweets, fruits etc.
What was your most critical time in practice you had to deal with?
As a young lawyer I had to go for matters in Bonny, Rivers State by speed boat. There were many times I had to travel to distant places such as Ogbai, Warri etc. to represent clients in court. It wasn’t easy at all but I made up my mind to do it because I knew I was in a learning process. I am glad to say it has indeed paid off and I remain grateful to God for where I am today.
What do you think determines progress in practice?
Diligence, patience and hard work.
Have you ever held any post in NBA?
Yes. In 2007, I was appointed as the foremost National Secretary of the Young Lawyers Forum of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and that gave me the opportunity to push the interest of Young Lawyers. My Team introduced the Young Lawyers Summit and also ensured the vibrant sessions of the Young Lawyers Forum during the NBA Conferences. I also served on the National Editorial Board of the NBA between 2012 and 2014, and have at various times been a member of the Law Week Planning Committee for the Lagos Branch of the NBA and currently coordinate the Branch Legal Email project. I am also a very active member of the NBA Section on Business Law. I currently serve as the Secretary of the Law Firm Practice Management Committee. I am also representing the NBA in the Civil Society Committee of the National Extractive Industry Initiative. I didn’t just hold these positions, I considered them as platforms to contribute in changing of our profession.
Do you intend to contest for any?
I am currently contesting for the post of the Secretary of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association and I am seeking the said office for the reason that I am of the firm view that I can contribute to creating a more efficient and customer friendly secretariat at the Lagos Bar. I think it is time we broaden the Legal Market, the number of entrants into the market keeps increasing and this necessitates a dire need to create room for our younger colleagues.
What is the latest non-legal book you’ve read?
Olusegun Adeniyi’s Against the Run of Play.
What are your outside interests and hobbies?
When I am away from work, I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends or you can easily find me at Ikoyi Club.
Are you proud of your professional achievements so far?
Yes. I am happy to say that I am a member of the International Bar Association, Capital Market Solicitors Association, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Chartered Conciliators and Mediators and the Association of Outsourcing Professional of Nigeria. I am also a member of the Lagos Court of Arbitration. In 2012, I was appointed a Notary Public of Nigeria.
Recently, I was nominated by ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards, as one of the 40 lawyers under 40 who will shape the future of the legal profession in Nigeria.
What is your advice to young lawyers?
I work almost round the clock, weekends, holidays etc., if you are interested in being a lawyer, get ready for hard work. But, I have also learnt that hard work does not kill, it only makes you stronger. Law is also a ticket to see the world. You will travel very far and wide if you are ready. I will not forget to add that it is also very rewarding.