Oluwasegun Ojemuyiwa: A quintessential professional
Joseph Oluwasegun Ojemuyiwa, the Practice Chancellor of RockHaven Solicitors is a quintessential professional who truly dreamt, founded and thoroughly prepared to give the best of legal interventions in all areas of human endeavour. He had the unique opportunity of transcending the classroom, the boardroom and the courtroom within his first twenty one years at the distinguished Nigerian Bar. He spoke on the Focus of a CEO in this interview with NNAMDI NWOKOLO
UPON graduation with a Second Class Upper Honours in Law both from the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and the Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island Lagos. I’ve had the opportunity of excelling in the classroom, boardroom as well as the court room, firstly as Loans and Advances Officer with Union Bank of Nigeria, Secondly as an Associate at the Broad Street Oil and Gas/Commercial Law Firm of Siji-Soetan & Co. thirdly as IN-HOUSE Group Legal Officer within the multinational conglomerate UTC Nigeria and fourthly as Law-lecturer/Examiner in laws of Contract, Banking, Industrial and Intellectual property and Law of Taxation at the Universities of Abuja and Lagos. It is with this highly privileged background that I pioneered the establishment of Rockhaven Solicitors with a clear mission to redefine the Practice of Law in this part of the Globe.
Did you entertain any phobia when you wanted to set up?
There was no phobia at all because I was already equipped. I was a University of Lagos sponsored Postgraduate scholar and graduated with a Masters Degree in Law from the same University. The book by Gerald Singer “how to go directly into solo practice without missing a meal” was of tremendous help as it gave me a detailed direction of how to build my firm. To the glory of God, our firm has inbuilt values that cannot be compromised on ethics or values. My commitment to excellence and to best practices in the delivery of value added legal services stands us out as the perfectly blended law firm, blending the theory with the practice of law.
Assessment of Legal practice in Nigeria:
Legal practice in Nigeria is being approached strictly like a business. If you stay by the rules which some of us still do, you’ll find out that the fees noted on your briefs is not in any way commensurate with the efforts you’ve put in. If your reject the brief because of the fee, you’ll be surprised that there are a thousand lawyers that will jump at the fee. If you also reject a brief on issues bothering on values, the head of the department will feel insulted. Legal Practice is still very lucrative as it used to be. The truth is that there are many lawyers than the market can adequately absorb. The supply is more than the market demands, so you need to be extremely determined to achieve success.
I read a thread where someone expressed her frustrations at being a Lawyer, are thee no motivation or mentoring for young lawyers?
Young lawyers that want to succeed in Legal Practice should not bank on external motivation. They should bank on the ability to self inspire, self motivate and to seek the face of God. Meanwhile having a degree in Law is not a guarantee that you must practice. There are so many areas a Lawyer can concentrate and succeed without going into legal practice. I think the Bar should stress this in their conference that there are many options that one can legitimately do and succeed. Legal practice requires the mentality of a soldier. Our members are ruthlessly and efficiently trained to provide solutions where and when needed and hold opposite positions on an issue with equal brilliance that cannot be surpassed. Our litigation style is to predict with accuracy the Win-Lose ratio and demand only the price at which the best possible legal theme could be assembled, making it so easy for our prediction on every matter to come to pass exactly as predicted to the eternal satisfaction of the willing and able client.
What are the critical factors for a successful practice?
You must have a purpose and a mission. We thrive on such principles as honesty and honour in practice. We have emerged as the most reliable among our contemporaries in the industry as our impact is being felt nationwide. The fundamental basis and foundation of our operations are based on God and good principles. We have introduced a new style of work that essentially entails integrating theory with practice. As we continue to develop relationship both locally and internationally, the firm will definitely succeed.
How do you attract and retain the best talent?
To be honest with you, we are not doing as much as we love to do for the best talent. There’s far more we can do to attract the right talent and to provide an environment for the right talent to advance. Our vision is to be the best globally and we are built on a very solid foundation. Out of a great need to be of utmost relevance to the original Clientele, the Firm, perhaps more than any other, now provides detailed, step by step instructions for any Client, no matter where situated, no matter the angle of involvement, to triumphantly exit the global money laundering traps which seems to be everywhere these days. We still do not apologize for our insistence on a Masters degree in law as the minimum qualification for a seat in the law firm and the production of an annual scholastic paper extending the frontier of knowledge/practice in a professed field before retaining any Associate as a Group Head. For all of the above and more, our Clients remain committed to our Practice and her philosophy.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learnt over the years?
I keep saying it that integrity is an excellent characteristic of leadership. Leadership boils down to integrity. What we have in this country are people who pretend to care for the wellbeing of the country, but they are after self aggrandizement. Discipline is the bedrock of leadership because without it you cannot achieve goals in your life. I’ve watched many successful leaders and I’ve come to realize that they have discipline, they are honest, and their word is their bond. Good leaders also get the job done. A good leader should also try to develop himself to be abreast with recent happenings in the industry. Mentor and develop people under your care.
What drives you?
God is my driving force. He is the major reason why I live; He’s at the centre of my life and operations. There’s this fire that keeps burnin