First female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Folake Solanke has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards.

A former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and eminent lawyer Yusuf Ali (SAN) were also honoured with the Outstanding Achievement award.

The law firm of Aluko and Oyebode won the Banking and Finance Team of the Year; while Capital Market Team of the Year went to Templars.

Royal Heritage won two awards – the Dispute Resolution Team of the Year and Labour Relations Team of the Year. It beat two firms to the dispute resolution award.

Other winners were in Corporate Restructuring (Templars); Energy(Banwo & Ighodalo); Intellectual Property (Aluko & Oyebode), Mergers And Acquisition (Banwo & Ighodalo); Oil And Gas (Sefton Fross); Private Equity (Jackson Etti & Edu), Project Finance (Templars ); Real Estate (Sterling Partnership), and Telecommunications( G. Elias & Co).

Oando won the Corporate Counsel award for Oil and Gas; Mansard Insurance won the Insurance category, while MTN In-House counsel won the Telecoms Sector Team of the Year.

Templars was named Law Firm of the Year, while its Managing Partner Olu Apata, won the General Counsel of the Year.

The award’s organiser, Lere Fashola, said it was designed to celebrate integrity, professionalism and achievement in the legal profession, adding that the panel of judges selected the winners after a thorough assessment process that was based on merit.

“The ESQ Legal Awards is not an award for the highest bidder or one for sale, but based on distinction, merit and excellence. In order to decide who and who will win the award, we have pitched the lawyers and the clients against themselves but not in a usual battle as you find on the wrestling ring.

“For the General Counsel Category award, we appointed some of the most distinguished managing partners, senior partners as well as CEOs and external consultants, both locally and internationally, to appraise the whole nominations. This is based on the idea that these are the people who work with these in-house counsel.

“Similarly, in appeasing the Law Firm Category, we appointed seasoned General Counsel, international consultants, and CEOs. Each judge evaluates from their various locations and there is s score sheet on which they provided their various answers and evaluations,” Fashola said.

Managing Partner of Royal Heritage, Prince Aderemi Adekile, said his firm was privileged to be recognised.

“As we begin to take the next bold steps toward greatness, we firmly believe that collectively our proud history and numerous accolades will serve as a strong foundation and guiding light for the successes that lie ahead. And today as Royal Heritage positions itself toward national and international prominence; it is our time to continue writing our firm’s history and defining our firm’s legacy. It is indeed our time for future building,” he said in his acceptance speech.

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