A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships (ARISP), of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, has called for a rapid reform of legal education in Nigeria in order to develop practice-ready lawyers who can contribute meaningfully to Nigeria’s economic rebirth.

Olawuyi who is also co-chairman of the Legal Education Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), made these remarks at the Bar Lecture organized as part of the 10th Anniversary Law Week of the Ado Ekiti branch of the NBA.

Themed “The 21st Century Lawyer: Integrating Business Skills with Legal Knowledge”, this year’s conference explores innovative approaches for enhancing the skills of lawyers to thrive in an increasingly globalized marketplace. 

Moderated by Mr. Obafemi Adewale, SAN, the Bar lecture featured a keynote speech by Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, who emphasized the need for a 21st century lawyer to have a sharp understanding of the legal market and to integrate business knowledge and technology into the practice of law.

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The ensuing panel discussion featured Uruegi Anne Agi of the University of Calabar, and Inemesit Dike, convener of the Young Wigs Conference.

In his remarks titled “Thinking like a lawyer in the 21st Century,” Professor Olawuyi noted, “Not so long ago, being asked to ‘think like a lawyer’ meant having advanced oral advocacy and critical thinking skills to spot legal risks and win cases in court.

Olawuyi called on universities and the Nigerian Law School to embrace rapid pedagogical change by developing tailored courses that prepare law students for modern realities.

While discussing some of the ongoing initiatives of the NBA in this area, Olawuyi commended the foresight and innovation of NBA president, Mr. Olumide Akpata, for establishing the Legal Education Committee.