Over 1,000 participants including 100 law firms are expected at the 2017 ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards, the organisers have said.

Awards convener and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Legal Blitz Ltd, publisher of ESQ Legal Practice magazine, Lere Fashola, said this year’s edition would stand out following the introduction of innovative features.

Some of the innovations, Fashola noted, include a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) category which celebrates their contributions to the growth and development of the legal profession.

He said: “This SANs category is based on an online poll conducted on the various social media platforms through www.surveymonkey.com.

“We have also received various submissions from the National Law Student’s Essay Competition where Law Students across the various Faculties of Law all over the country were asked to write a 500 word essay on the SAN who inspire them to greatness.”

The top three essay writers will get scholarships to attend ESQ legal trainings, cash prizes among others.

Fashola explained that the event, billed for November 12 at the Landmark Event Centre, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, will be preceded on November 10 by the Judges Conference hosted by the African Finance Corporation (AFC).

The panel of judges comprises “Heads of African Practice Groups at United Kingdom-based law firms, CEOs, founding partners of national and multinational institutions, senior Nigerian lawyers, international consultants,” among others.

It will be led by AFC Executive Director and Legal Adviser, Dr Adesegun Akin-Olugbade.

Fashola identified northern Nigeria’s first lawyer, Alhaji AGF Abdulrazaq (SAN), former Chief Judge of Lagos State Justice Ayotunde Philips and the Nigerian Bar Association President, A.B Mahmoud, among others to be honoured.

“So far over 30 law firms have been shortlisted from among over 100 law firms that were earlier nominated for the award.

“Among top contenders for the awards are Aluko & Oyebode, Templars, Sefton Fross LP, Bloomfield LP, Udo Udoma and Bello Osagie, Ajumogobia and Okeke, Olisa Agbakoba & Co, SPA Ajibade, Jackson Etti and Edu, & Co,” he told The Nation.

Non-law firms in the race include MTN, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Total and Pandora.

According to him, top personalities expected to bag awards include Group CEO of United Capital Group, Mrs Toyin Sanni; outgoing company secretary of First Bank Holdings, Alhaji Tijani Borodo; Okey Wali SAN, George Etomi (SAN), among others.

Lere noted that the awards’ committee has re-introduced the corporate counsel category, which looked at the role of lawyers, who work internally in companies or organisations.

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