the porn industry: influence on society morals

The porn industry in America is a thriving business which every dick, Tom and Harry is getting themselves into all for the sake of the popularity and the money which is involved. They all wanna make it very big, and the stars of the screens that they have there are all becoming the very embodiments of what the church and common Christianity abhors greatly. Talk of the likes of Nicki Minaj who is so surgically altered to become the very embodiment of the porn industry that the people are seeking out and they all love her very much and cherish her for the fact that she’s the sexual equivalent of an inflatable doll on the screens for them to ogle and wish they can fuck and get away with the fact since there’s the fake appeal that she offers to the viewing public.
Everybody is exposed to the pornography that is being dispensed across all the media types and there is nothing to be done about it by the viewers, some of whom even stumble upon the thing in the course of an honest internet search for something that will serve a great need for their lives.
And one would be very tempted to ask the burning question as to what the people that view the porn being churned out by both the professional actors and the amateurs that we have all over the place who are seeking their own little spot in the limelight with the best of them. There are the pictures of the stars all nude and done up in sexually provocative poses that have men having hard-ons for them at the mere sight of the nude bodies that are being churned out all over the place. We have the likes of our bad girl Rihanna posing and having Google turn up millions of hits per day for her nude body and her bum; we also have the likes of Nicki Minaj, Madonna herself who was the poster bad girl of the eighties and the nineties. And I ask again: are these celebrities trying to dabble into the porn industry that the common people have already filled to overflowing?
The average 15 year old boy has seen porn a total of not less than fifty times per month. Is this the trend that is to be supported by the people who are now screaming that their children are becoming too sexually active at very young ages?
The answer is too ridiculously simple: there is a glorification of the fact that a man and a woman or a woman and another woman or a man and another man or a mixture of the both, are having raunchy sex which will then be forwarded up to the internet with a single click.
Morality and decadence are now glorified beyond the goodness that is supposed to be the very milestone for the kids to grow up on. They now grow up on a rich diet of nude bodies and is that the very ideal that should be promoted? Move over, Briana Banks, and do you know why? It is because of the fact that the young ones are all taking over from the older ones in the porn industry. Just take out the time to perform a very simple Google search for the latest porn from the under-age category and the hits you’ll see for the sexual exploits of a young girl from a rural town in Minnesota will completely eclipse the hits gotten by a Nobel prize winner who wants to do something to the world and for the world. Is that funny? Or is it hot? Or is it some thing that the parents of the young kids of today should be very worried about in their beds as they sleep?
WHAT DO YOU THINK????

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life at the nigerian law school

I made a post on the life at the lagos campus of the nigerian law school. Now, an update. The place is hectic because there is a lot to assimilate and a lot to learn. And then there is no alone time because you’re always busy. Gosh!!! Its as if we are being grinded.

However, the lecturers there are really trying, and that’s a good thing to say for them. Lol

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How a company can protect its Intellectual Property assets in Nigeria | Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani 

Brands and firms/companies are devising strategies and means to protect and safeguard their Intellectual Property Assets as it relates to their businesses and how same can be exploited for commercial gain in the short and long term.

It is no news that currently, IP has become a huge topic of international discourse, with large brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Louboutin coming into loggerheads over protection and ownership of IP assets which they all seek to protect for commercial exploitation in different countries where they have brand presence.

How can Nigerian Businesses Protect their Intellectual Property Assets?

The protection of IP assets depend largely on the type of industry the firm seeking protection is operating under and/or has business operations under. It is worthy to note however, that the Intellectual Property protection framework in Nigeria devolves largely around these core focus areas:

  1. Copyrights
  2. Trademarks
  3. Patents & Designs
  4. Trade Secrets

What are the Laws that Guide IP protection in Nigeria?

Nigeria, like other countries within other jurisdictions of practice, have a robust spread of laws that safeguard individuals’ and corporates’ IP assets. These laws are:

  1. The Nigerian Copyright Act
  2. The Trademarks Act
  3. Patent & Design Act

It is worthy to note that there are differing opinions on whether Trade secrets falls within the specific specter of areas specifically provided for under applicable Nigerian extant laws.. While commentators tilt their arguments in favor of the fact that trade secrets fall within the purview contemplated as IP rights, others are of the view that this is not so and is largely a creation of trade/industry usages. To these set of commentators, trade secrets are not a part of IP law because of the fact that trade secrets defies a major IP requirement/policy: public knowledge. For something to be regarded as a trade secret, it must not be in the public knowledge. If it is in the public knowledge or becomes revealed, then it ceases to be so.

What is the framework for Trade Secrets protection?

It is worthy to note that while it is agreed that Trade Secrets is an intellectual product, it is not protectable as intellectual property because none of the Nigerian laws on ground provide for this. There is no provision under any Nigerian Law that carters to trade secret protection, so this cannot be protected under any intellectual property law within Nigeria. However, this does not mean that they cannot be protected. Employers can protect their unique work codes, product processes, secret recipes and programs, alongside any work product which is proprietary to them and which is integral to their business operations using Non-Disclosure Agreements which are intended to bind employees and work users with access to such confidential information. After all, let’s not all forget that a trade secret is just that; a “Secret” which gives a firm or company a competitive economic advantage over others operating within the same market and which will cease to be one and no longer protected as a secret once it’s been made known to the public or disclosed to competitors who can utilize such information to the detriment of the owners of same.

Related Post: What is Trade Secret and why should a company take steps to protect its trade secret?

Can IP products get Copyright Protection?

The answer is yes. Of course. Literary works, artistic works and related works provided for under the Nigerian Copyright Act are afforded protected so long as sufficient time and effort is expended into giving the work originality and that same has been fixed into a definite medium of expression. Companies can get copyright protection for their literary work products and this can be done by the company inserting a Copyright Assignment clause in the employees’ contracts, vesting copyrights in the work of the employees on the employers. Alternatively, they can create and execute an independent copyright assignment agreement.

It’s always advisable though that these works over which the employer is taking copyright be directly related to the work the employee is doing for the employee and not on unrelated subject matter so as to avoid dicey situations in the future.

Related post: Do I need to register my copyrighted works with the Nigerian Copyright Commission before it can be protected by the Law?

What about our Marks? Logo? Unique brand signatures?

All these can be protected using the Trademark vehicle at the Trademarks Registry, Department of Trade & Industry. Logos, marks, identifying marks and signatures, stylistic marks, and other related IP products can be offered protected under the various classes of Marks at the Registry. Firms and companies can apply to have their marks protected. It should be noted however, that this protection is limited by jurisdiction and subsequent need for registration across multiple jurisdictions may become necessary if the company is one that has business operations across different jurisdictions.

How do I go about these?

First, it is necessary to identify the Brand’s IP portfolio and products. A company can hire a competent IP Attorney to assess and audit the company’s IP products. Once done, the different IP protection vehicles offered under Nigerian Law (alternatively, this may include other jurisdictions as well) can be set in motion by a competent IP Attorney.

Why should I seek IP protection for IP products?

The reason is not far-fetched. Intellectual Property assets are top assets companies can leverage, not only for the purposes of protection, but because of the other accruing benefits likely to come from it. For example, a manufacturing company with a strong IP portfolio duly protected by Law can easily license their IP for use by similar companies who will then pay them royalties based on the terms and conditions stipulated in the IP Assignment contract between both parties.

At what point does it become necessary to start protecting IP?

From inception, companies can take appropriate steps to protect their developing IP portfolio. Even if they don’t, they can do it at later stages, but it is always advisable for firms and companies to develop their portfolio and seek relevant protection so as to preclude others from using it. Hire a competent IP Attorney, conduct your IP audit, then seek relevant protection using the necessary regulatory vehicles.

If you have a company that needs registration and protection of its IP products, then please consult an IP attorney and start immediately. Never wait for the future, for the future is NOW.

Need further info? Contact the author on aniugochukwu@gmail.com for advice on your specific needs. 

This article was originally published on Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani L.P and  here onMedium.

Further Reading:

A comprehensive guide to Intellectual Property Assets protection in Nigeria.

Posted in Article Writer., Business Strategy, Corporate Management, Intellectual Property, IP Rights, Law, Uncategorized, Writer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Comprehensive Guide to Intellectual Property Protection in Firms and Businesses: How can Firms protect their IP against infringers?  – Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani 

Article Contributor: Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani, Esq.

 

Intellectual Property Protection for businesses and firms. The need for IP protection; areas to consider for IP protection, and steps to take for such IP protection.

 

Key Words: IP, IP protection, Intellectual Property, Trademarks, Patents, Trade Secrets.

 

IP protection in businesses in Lagos, Nigeria

 IP in business firms

 

So many businesses and senior-level management executives complain that their employees are stealing their firms’ Intellectual Property rights and walking away with it; that these employees abscond with the batch of IP rights developed for business operations.

The complaints run the gamut of areas like software development, employer work sheets and sector-specific industry trade usages, client rolodex, trademarks (in cases where these firm trademarks and names are unregistered for maximum protection from infringement), alongside a whole plethora of other issues and areas.

HOW CAN BUSINESSES PROTECT THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

Can businesses protect their intellectual property rights? Are business secrets, work sheets, data sheets, Big Data, Small Data, safe in the hands of the employees that handle them daily?

It is inarguable that there are a lot of threats – both internal workforce threats and external corporate threats – that besiege businesses in the course of their operations, among which is IP. Truly, it seems that protection of Soft Assets (IP rights), are the worst hit since many companies do not have the full operational mechanisms for IP protection, and it is also unfortunate that IP seems to be one of the most vulnerable areas wherein businesses suffer loses since they usually overlook IP-related issues.

Perhaps the reason is simply because of firms’ lackadaisical attitude towards the protection of firm Soft Assets, or perhaps because they seem to be at a loss pertaining to what to do. Either way, either due to their workplace attitude to IP protection or due to lack of understanding of the necessary operational mechanisms needed for the protection of employer IP, firms lose massive amounts of money to internal and external IP theft.

You may want to read: What is Trade Secrets and Why Firms should take adequate steps to protect their firm Trade Secrets from unauthorized Disclosure and Use

NEED FOR PROTECTION

Protection of a firm’s IP is integral to its long-term business developmental stability, core work stability, growth stability across sectors, and overall firm trade stability. IP protection for firms is necessary because of the fact that this can have short, mid-to-long term effects on the growth of the company’s assets if they fail to take appropriate steps to secure and protect their Intellectual Property rights.

AREAS OF PROTECTION

There are certain areas of IP that can be protected by businesses. These include:

  1. Copyrights
  2. Patents
  3. Trademarks (and can include several trade marks utilized in a set by a business which are then registrable in a set as one registration). under these, a lot can fall under the umbrella of marks to be protected and these include: logos, stylized lettering, stylized marks used by businesses, all geared towards distinguishing their business brands from those of their competitors.
  4. Trade Secrets. And these include: employee work/data sheets, client rolodex and billing information; customer lists; Big Data; Small Data; Work-specific computer algorithms. It should be noted that a lot of materials can fall under employer trade secrets, but there are no specific universal standards for marking up what exactly will constitute Trade Secrets since such secrets can vary by industry and staff hierarchy/level. It should be noted however, that unlike the three aforementioned classes of rights, Trade Secrets are not registrable. Protection will accrue for Trade Secrets if businesses has taken the necessary legal steps to control disclosure of such information by employees.

MODES OF PROTECTION

There are various ways by which enterprises can protect their business ideas to prevent them from being stolen by their competitors or even employees who can turn around to become competitors themselves. These include:

Registration: For Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights.

Non-Disclosure Agreements; Restrictive Covenants; (these being applicable predominantly to Trade Secrets)

Restricted Access to Confidential Information by Authority Level.

NB: Suggestion: All of the IP should be held online and licensed hopefully in the form of templates with only approved access by level. It is then easy to profile usage and identify who is trying to access or copy IP that is outside their expected or normal use. It can also be used at separation time to audit what people may have taken at what particular point in time for whatever work they are working on.

FINAL NOTE

Before embarking on a comprehensive IP protection program, it is necessary for businesses to run an extensive IP Audit so as to discover which of their available information are protectable and which they should consider inconsequential enough to ignore. The reason is simple: IP protection is a long and expensive process, particularly for patent and Trademark registrations. Firms and businesses will need a good budget and a great IP lawyer to handle their IP protection matter, plus loads of patience as this process falls into gear.

NB: This article is the Intellectual property of the author and does not constitute legal advice in any way, neither does it create any legal relationship between him and the blog owner and anyone reading this article. Expert advice should be sought for your specific needs. 

The author can be reached via aniugochukwu@gmail.com 

 

Posted in Intellectual Property, IP Rights, Law, National Issues | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Need for firms and organizations to protect their IP Rights: Prospects and Ways to ensure IP protection

IP PROTECTION IN BUSINESS FIRMS: THE NEED, PROSPECTS AND WAYS

Intellectual Property Rights and Protection KUA L.P.

Intellectual Property Protection for businesses and firms. The need for IP protection; areas to consider for IP protection, and steps to take for such IP protection.

Key Words: IP, IP protection, Intellectual Property, Trademarks, Patents, Trade Secrets.

 

Intellectual Property Protection for Businesses; why, how, and to what extent businesses need to protect their IP.

 

So many businesses and senior-level management executives complain that their employees are stealing their firms’ Intellectual Property rights and walking away with it; that these employees abscond with the batch of IP rights developed for business operations.

The complaints run the gamut of areas like software development, employer work sheets and sector-specific industry trade usages, client rolodex, trademarks (in cases where these firm trademarks and names are unregistered for maximum protection from infringement), alongside a whole plethora of other issues and areas.

HOW CAN BUSINESSES PROTECT THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

Can businesses protect their intellectual property rights? Are business secrets, work sheets, data sheets, Big Data, Small Data, safe in the hands of the employees that handle them daily?

It is inarguable that there are a lot of threats – both internal workforce threats and external corporate threats – that besiege businesses in the course of their operations, among which is IP. Truly, it seems that protection of Soft Assets (IP rights), are the worst hit since many companies do not have the full operational mechanisms for IP protection, and it is also unfortunate that IP seems to be one of the most vulnerable areas wherein businesses suffer loses since they usually overlook IP-related issues.

Perhaps the reason is simply because of firms’ lackadaisical attitude towards the protection of firm Soft Assets, or perhaps because they seem to be at a loss pertaining to what to do. Either way, either due to their workplace attitude to IP protection or due to lack of understanding of the necessary operational mechanisms needed for the protection of employer IP, firms lose massive amounts of money to internal and external IP theft.

NEED FOR PROTECTION

Protection of a firm’s IP is integral to its long-term business developmental stability, core work stability, growth stability across sectors, and overall firm trade stability. IP protection for firms is necessary because of the fact that this can have short, mid-to-long term effects on the growth of the company’s assets if they fail to take appropriate steps to secure and protect their Intellectual Property rights.

AREAS OF PROTECTION

There are certain areas of IP that can be protected by businesses. These include:

  1. Copyrights
  2. Patents
  3. Trademarks (and can include several trade marks utilized in a set by a business which are then registrable in a set as one registration). under these, a lot can fall under the umbrella of marks to be protected and these include: logos, stylized lettering, stylized marks used by businesses, all geared towards distinguishing their business brands from those of their competitors.
  4. Trade Secrets. And these include: employee work/data sheets, client rolodex and billing information; customer lists; Big Data; Small Data; Work-specific computer algorithms. It should be noted that a lot of materials can fall under employer trade secrets, but there are no specific universal standards for marking up what exactly will constitute Trade Secrets since such secrets can vary by industry and staff hierarchy/level. It should be noted however, that unlike the three aforementioned classes of rights, Trade Secrets are not registrable. Protection will accrue for Trade Secrets if businesses has taken the necessary legal steps to control disclosure of such information by employees.

MODES OF PROTECTION

There are various ways by which enterprises can protect their business ideas to prevent them from being stolen by their competitors or even employees who can turn around to become competitors themselves. These include:

Registration: For Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights.

Non-Disclosure Agreements; Restrictive Covenants; (these being applicable predominantly to Trade Secrets)

Restricted Access to Confidential Information by Authority Level.

NB: Suggestion: All of the IP should be held online and licensed hopefully in the form of templates with only approved access by level. It is then easy to profile usage and identify who is trying to access or copy IP that is outside their expected or normal use. It can also be used at separation time to audit what people may have taken at what particular point in time for whatever work they are working on.

FINAL NOTE

Before embarking on a comprehensive IP protection program, it is necessary for businesses to run an extensive IP Audit so as to discover which of their available information are protectable and which they should consider inconsequential enough to ignore. The reason is simple: IP protection is a long and expensive process, particularly for patent and Trademark registrations. Firms and businesses will need a good budget and a great IP lawyer to handle their IP protection matter, plus loads of patience as this process falls into gear.

 

 

© 2018 Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani Esq. All rights reserved.

 

Need any help in relation to issues discussed under this article? Then feel free to contact the author via mail at aniugochukwu@gmail.com or call +2347035074930

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani Esq. is a lawyer (corporate-commercial, IP & IT, Commercial Litigation). He has experience advising organizations, firms and startups on legal, regulatory compliance, and IP protection issues. He can be reached on aniugochukwu@gmail.com or via phone on +2347035074930. You can also connect with him via Linkedin.

 

OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST

5 Emerging Trends in Estate Planning

The Need for a Contract of Employment

Essential ingredients of a contract of employment

Things Every Lawyer should know about Technology

 

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Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) policies in Firms and Companies; trends, advantages, and legal implications arising from it

Keywords: BYOD, Bring your own devices, BYOPC, BYOG

Many employers have rules that prohibit their employees from coming to the workplace with devices such as laptops and even Tablets. Once done, employees are expected to work with the computer systems provided for them by the employers and they are only expected to ever work only on the office materials on such systems, never the employees’ own personal stuff. In some cases, employees are required to have work phones which are purchased for them by the employer for their work in the course of their employment.

However, in current work stations, employers are relaxing the Do-Not-Bring-Your-Devices rules and giving their employees leeway to bring their own gadget to the office. Many employers even expect their employees to do Firm work with their devices. This gives rise to BYOD policies; Bring Your Own Devices.

BYOD policies refers to workplace policies that allow employees to bring their personally owned technological devices to the workplace (mostly their laptops, Tablets, and other Smart gadgets) and use those devices to access workplace data. This is also called BYOP (Bring your own phone); BYOD; BYOPC (Bring Your Own Personal Computer). by whatever name they are called now, it is a trending fact that employees are bringing their own technological devices to work and in many cases, using them to access confidential company data.

In today’s competitive marketplace, workers are now allowed to use their own technologies to do work at their primary place of assignment. One of the reasons for this relaxation is the fact that many employers are usually unable to stop the employees from coming to work with their own gadgets.

For example, in a country like Nigeria, many (if not most) employers will be reluctant to purchase smart phones and other tech gadgets which their employees are expected to use for their official duties in the office. So the next best thing would be to allow employees come to work with their own smart phones and the like.

BYOD TRENDS

Because of the fact that the workplace has become increasingly tech-activated and tech-driven, thus leading to a market and user proliferation of tech gadgets, many forward-thinking companies see the benefit to allow employees come to work with their own personal tech gadgets and use same for doing their work if and where the situation permits. Thus, employees have the flexibility to come to work with their own laptops and other gadgets and use them for work, and possibly also continue with such work over the weekends and national holidays.

ADVANTAGES

Many employees would cite productivity reasons for their use of their own technology alongside familiarity. People tend to be more familiar with their own gadgets, and with such familiarity, comes ease of use. Also, and strangely true at that, employees’ gadgets tend to be more advanced than what their employers can provide them with, so asking such tech-advanced employees to use outdated systems for their work would most likely not sit well with them. They would have to “bring down” their savviness to come to terms with the systems they are to work with. This will most likely decrease productivity for such employees.

BYOD POLICIES

There are attendant issues that are most likely to come up with BYOD policies on the part of companies. However, many companies, alongside their employees that enjoy such BYOD policies, do not know of certain issues that may accrue as a result of the BYOD, to wit:

  1. Employees may sell their devices.
  2. Employees may lose such devices.
  3. Employees may use their organization’s networks to access risky networks and sites, thus putting their employers’ IT systems at risk. Eg: employees using the Company’s organization-wide internet system to access risky Web sites. These may not be an issue if the employees were using the company’s systems, as there would – most probably – be safeguards put in place to forestall such use.

Legal Implications of BYOD

The legal implications that may accrue from BYOD strategies in Business Enterprises are grave, and, with the swift pace of technological advancements, are growing daily and exponentially. These can lead to potential data breaches that may put the confidential work files of companies at risk. And with such files at risk, this has a high potential to give rise to client litigation against companies for such data breaches which occurred because of employees’ use of their own devices in the workplace.

The Way Out?

With BYOD strategies and policies in place, some employers take steps to partition the devices into separate compartment for work and personal data. In other words, employers split the employees’ device capacity into two distinct “devices” in one. However, even though there are measures, security threats still remain.

From the above, it becomes imperative to set up BYOD policies that will guide employees’ use of their own tech devices in the workplace. Such comprehensive BYOD policies could be incorporated into employees’ contracts of employment, or prepared as separate policies for employees to read through and sign. Such BYOD policies, where put in place, should address issues such as: holding/retaining confidential information for certain periods (including for periods after the employee has left the employ of the company); ensuring that reasonable safeguards are set in place to ensure that employees safeguard sensitive company data in their personal systems; setting up device managers which can allow employees to factory-reset/wipe their mobile devices in the event it gets lost or stolen.

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

Employees having freedom to bring and use their own devices in the workplace has certain attendant advantages for both the employers and their employees. However, there are numerous risks that come with the adoption of BYOD policies. If and where thoroughly addressed, it will aid employee productivity, better time and device management, and even reduce costs for companies seeking to cut same. However, reasonable steps should be taken to balance the employees’ freedom to bring their own devices with the employers’ need to safeguard sensitive company information.

 

Need any help in relation to issues discussed under this article? Then feel free to shoot me a mail at aniugochukwu@gmail.com or call +2347035074930

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani Esq. is a lawyer (corporate-commercial, IP & IT, Commercial Litigation; project management). He is also a business developer/strategist and corporate consultant with a core focus on helping Nigerian firms grow organically. He can be reached on aniugochukwu@gmail.com or via phone on +2347035074930. You can also connect with him via Linkedin.

 

Other Articles of Interest

Should I Register My Business As a Business Name Or Should i Continue Without Registering It?

On Legal Outsourcing: Should my firm outsource its legal case files to other lawyers?

Article Disclaimer: Any and all articles on this blog which was not written by Kingsley Adrian, belong to the respective owners and does not reflect the thoughts or endorsement of the blog owner

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Law Firm Business Models in Nigeria: are the law firm partners wrong in their approach?

LAW FIRM BUSINESS MODELS IN NIGERIA

 

Many law firms in Nigeria start up simply because of the fact that the founders of such firms (erstwhile associates in other existing law firms) don’t want to continue working for their previous firms and earn little in the way of remuneration for their services. In some cases, the motivation is purely different: the would-be founders want to make their own name, using their own resources.

You may want to read: Top law firms in Nigeria and Law Firm Business Models in Nigeria: Are the Law Firm Partners in Nigeria doing it wrong?

However, many founders of law firms in Nigeria consistently make the same mistake across the various states of the Federation, to wit:

  1. Get office space
  2. Hire support staff
  3. Purchase office supplies
  4. Hope for the best in the way of client intake and business boom

Really, it is ideal for a startup to grow, and these founders of law firms wish the same for their own startups. However, there is a serious problem with their adopted strategy as aforementioned (which is no strategy, by the way). They tend to rely on market forces for their clients intake (and their hopes lie in the direction of new potential clients seeking to have legal fires doused for them in court). In this current disruption-based, innovation-moving economy, the legal services industry is a buyers market, and relying merely on market forces to grow a new firm may prove to be disastrous.

WHAT LAW FIRM FOUNDERS FAIL TO DO

  1. They Fail To Plan The Law Firm As a Business:

Law firms are like any other business. That is why there is such expression as the Business of Law. Law firm startups must be strategically and seriously planned by the founders like the founders of companies seeking to have exponential growth. Several questions come into play, and each question must be comprehensively and surgically dissected and answered in order to gauge the level of preparedness of the founders of the firm seeking to have the firm on ground. Questions like: who are we? What do we do? What are our core values? How do we work? What is our mission? What is our vision? What areas of law should we delve into? Who are our ideal clients for this firm? (in this case, such ideal clients should be comprehensively profiled, particularly as it pertains to age group and legal issues for which they may need the services of a law firm for) What is their demographics? Why would such already profiled clients choose the services of a new law firm over the services of already established law firms in the same location? What are the strengths the new law firm can boast of to use as a bargaining chip that will attract new clients?

The questions are diverse and seemingly endless, but until the founders of a new firm are able to answer these seemingly innocuous but extremely important questions, then it means they might not be ready for the new leap. They may not be ready for the firm. They may be relying on their emotions rather than hard facts and planning to set their firm on the ground.

In other words, they may have to go back to the drawing board and map out substantial business and corporate strategies in order to gain a broader and stronger perspective about their intended firm. Then, they can act accordingly.

  1. Growth Plan

Many law firms in Nigeria rely on luck to grow their firm business and develop to the heights they want it to develop to. The founders make the mistake of thinking that a law firm is not like any other business or company that needs strategic planning and business development ideas/plans to move ahead. They fail to ask questions. Strategic questions. They fail to hire experienced consultants to ask questions on their behalf if they cannot address the questions themselves.

Questions: How do we take over the market? How do we gain greater visibility? How do we become the top 1% out of the top 0.001% of the law firms practicing within the same city and across the same practice areas? What is the best management structure to utilize for the running of the firm? What is the employee structure? A partnership model? How do lawyers in the firm rise to partner level? Who controls equity in the firm profits? What will be the firm profit-sharing margins? How are studious, driven associates who bring in clients to the firm and who handles complex matters to stunning perfection be compensated? What about the need for outsourcing of issues like IT and law firm growth to specialists in their fields?

If a prospective founder can answer these questions, and if possibly, much more, then it may be a sure sign that the intended firm is on the right track. But if the founders of a firm are unable to answer these questions and more, then it may be a sure sign that they are not ready for the rigors associated with the Business of Law.

  1. Institutionalization

It is a disturbing trend that law firms in Nigeria, particularly those operating in Eastern Nigeria and other parts of the country outside Lagos and Abuja, fold up and close down with the death of the founding heads of the firm. Or in many cases, the old age of the founders. Once this occurs, the firm folds up. Decades of established good will and client relationships down the drain. Within a short time, such firms are forgotten. It will then be as if they had never existed in the first place.

Creation of institutions is the key to long-term sustainable organic growth of a firm. There should be a hefty, living strategy pertaining to how to institutionalize a firm and make a self-servicing machine that will live on long after the demise of their founders. If and when done, then the good will of the firm, accumulated over decades of client servicing in the legal services sphere of the Nigerian business environment, will live on. The life and engine of the firm will continue to live on and service the firm for possibly countless decades after the death of the founders and heads of such firms.

International Examples

Baker McKenzie: This firm was founded in 1949 and currently ranked as the second-largest law firm in the world, with over 13,000 employees and over 4,000 fully employed revenue-earning lawyers in their employ, with at least 77 offices across 47 countries in the world. It is also ranked as the second largest law firm in the world in terms of generated revenue with US$2.67 billion in annual revenue earned in FY2017. Headquartered in Chicago, USA, this firm is an international mega power in the legal services industry and services multinational corporations and top businesses across diverse corporate law practice areas.

A study of the exponential growth of this law firm from the time of its origins show that the firm did not arrive at its current destination by accident. It involved series of countless planning, strategic opening of offices across different cities in various legal climes: joint venture satellite office was opened in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1955; from there, within the next three years, other offices were opened across Washington D.C., Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, New York. And from there, while imbibing a culture of growth, the firm expanded, and over the decades, has established itself as a major player in the world’s international law practice.

Other examples abound, but these are not discussed in this article.

Local Examples

Olaniwun Ajayi LP: This is one of Nigeria’s leading law firms in the corporate practice areas. Though this firm, likewise every other firm in the whole of Nigeria, will pale into insignificance in the face of the multi-continental law firms that rule law practice in the world, it is on its way to becoming a great self-powered institution.

The founder of Olaniwun Ajayi LP (of blessed memory, who died in November 2016) left a massive legacy for others to continue. Currently, the firm is pulling strong in the Nigerian legal sphere and has established itself as a reliable player in international legal circles.

Such is the power of institutionalization. The power of legacies. The power of setting up firms that can survive their founders for countless decades afterwards, while maintaining the good will of firm name and its integrity.

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

Nigerian law firms has so much potential for long-term growth. All they have to do is to tap into such potential. They have to harness that potential. Perhaps the answer for some would be a do-it-yourself approach, but if it can work, then sure, go for it. If not, there are extremely intelligent business strategists and corporate consultants that can leverage their skills towards creating achievable strategic long-term goals that can stand the test of Time itself.

 

© 2017 Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani Esq. All rights reserved.

 

Need any help in relation to issues discussed under this article? Then feel free to shoot me a mail at aniugochukwu@gmail.com or call +2347035074930

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kingsley Ugochukwu Ani Esq. is a lawyer (corporate-commercial, IP & IT, Commercial Litigation; project management). He is also a business developer/strategist and corporate consultant with a core focus on helping Nigerian firms grow organically. He can be reached on aniugochukwu@gmail.com or via phone on +2347035074930. You can also connect with him via Linkedin.

 

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