How long have you worked at your current organisation?
It's hard to believe that it was twenty years ago that I left Lovells to start this firm because it still feels as if I've got it all to do. From the safety of corporate tax law to not knowing where the next client is going to take me has aged me.
You're talking to a friend of a friend at a party. How do you describe what you do?
With difficulty! Now that I am no longer a specialist, I can't help starting the explanation with an 'ehm' and a long pause which makes people think you don't know what you do. Calling myself a franchise lawyer normally gets me out of the difficulty though.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am advising on a white-collar crime matter concerning the oil and gas sector in Nigeria involving mind-boggling figures and also on a franchise dispute concerning the violation of an exclusive franchise area.
What would you change about the Law Society, and how?
I would want the Society to fight our corner more: I've seen the profession repeatedly dumped upon and dictated to by the Bar, mortgage lenders and professional indemnity insurers. This needs a refocus on the bigger picture and upon external threats.
What was your first job?
I was working as a night security guard in various City establishments like Morgan Grenfell, Prudential, Coudert Brothers some of which I later revisited for client meetings as a lawyer. I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to see life through the different ends of the telescope.
It has to be my little firm taking on the mighty Taylor Wessing in the Companies Court in three Specsavers franchise cases which ran from 2011 and finished in 2015 and surviving the long ordeal.
Share some great advice you've been given.
'There is no such thing as a slam dunk case in litigation!' I would have been rich had I received the advice sooner.
How do you relax?
I'm a published author (cue plug for 'The law, the lawyers and the lawless') and so I do like to take time out from practice to work on my books whether researching material or putting pen to paper. I am currently working on a history of Nigeria.
Crazy as this may sound, it is my home town Lagos; the place of my birth; the capital of chaos; the soul of Africa. I have a law firm there now which allows me to indulge my passion for the unbridled madness regularly and more tax efficiently.
What did you want to grow up to be as a child?
I do still think that I missed my calling in life because, if truth be told, I was a natural on the football pitch in the Pele, Maradonna, Messi, Zidane, Bergkamp, Hoddle, Gascoigne - number 10 shirt-wearing tradition. Seriously!!