Legal luminaries including Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Malam Yusuf Ali (SAN) and first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mrs Folake Sholanke, will be conferred with the prestigious ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards in Lagos.

A statement issued by Lere Fashola, the Chief Executive Officer, Legal Blitz, the organisers of the programme, said that the award to the prominent legal luminaries and other distinguished persons from other sectors, was in recognition of their contributions in shaping the nation’s legal course.

The awards ceremony, expected to hold at Muson Centre, Lagos, September 18, will witness the launch of a new category, the Corporate Counsel Award (CCA) targeted at appreciating the role of lawyers working as in-house counsel for companies and corporate organisations.

The statement read in part: “Traditionally, lawyers in legal departments are regarded as deal killers. But they are now very strategic and play an all-important role in the commercial life of organisations. In fact, the legal departments are now seen as the commercial nerve centre of organisations.

“The outcome of this development is a better understanding of the evolving and complimentary role of lawyers in business development on the part of the senior management team and board of organisations.

“Consequently, understanding lawyers as business partners and the strategic and all-involving role they play, many organisations are beginning to get a lot of relief and confidence in reposing the business affair of the company in lawyers by promoting their in-house counsel to the position of CEOs or chairmen. We are looking at the role of these in-house lawyers in the strengthening and promotion of corporate governance and business development in organisations.”

Other personalities expected to receive awards this year are the chairman of Skye Bank, Dr. Tunde Ayeni, and Professor Fidelis Odita.

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