This week, we feature Gabriel Nwodo, a first class graduate and an Associate at top commercial law firm, ÆLEX. He spoke to Legal Pages about the supposed nexus between remuneration of entry level lawyers and the 2020 NBA Presidential Election, the grading system of the Nigerian Law School and giving back to the society.
Can we meet you?
My name is Gabriel Nwodo. I obtained my Bachelor of Laws degree from Enugu State University (ESUT) in 2015 where I finished top of my class. I also had the honour of delivering the valedictorian speech at my school’s convocation in 2016, having emerged as the overall best graduating student in a cohort of over 5,000. I was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in November 2016 after completing the bar vocational training at the Nigerian Law School (NLS), where I achieved distinctions in four of the five modules on offer. In 2017, I joined ÆLEX, and I am currently an Associate in the Tax, Corporate & Commercial and Dispute Resolution practice groups.
How many years post call experience do you have?
A little above 3 years.
At what point did you decide that you will specialise in your chosen field?
My interest in tax was first piqued in 2014 when I took the course at undergraduate level in ESUT. When I joined the Tax and Corporate & Commercial teams at ÆLEX, headed by the Managing Partner, Mr. Theophilus Emuwa [who, by the way, is arguably Nigeria’s most highly-regarded tax lawyer], I knew I was where I needed to be. My role has included advising local and foreign clients on tax structuring and representing multi-nationals in all sectors before the Tax Appeal Tribunal and superior courts of record in their disputes with federal and state tax authorities. I also routinely draft/review pre and post incorporation documents, including shareholders’ and joint venture agreements. Regarding dispute resolution, my interest started during my undergraduate moot court days. I was a very active member of the students’ bar, and led my team to several national moot competitions. So, I was excited to join the ÆLEX disputes team headed by Mrs. Funke Adekoya, SAN, who is a consummate litigator and very experienced arbitration expert.
Asides from thoroughly enjoying my work, I find being able to solve the problems of my clients extremely fulfilling. This is why I settled for these areas. It has been over two years since I joined the teams, and I have never regretted it. However, as a young professional, I remain open-minded, and am always happy to explore other areas of law, especially those inextricably linked to my current practice.