Lagos — It is important for Nigerian and African lawyers to equip themselves with cutting-edge technological solutions in order to compete successfully in the provision of legal services in Nigeria and across the continent and to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
This advice was given in Lagos by the Managing Director of LawPavilion Business Solutions Limited, Ope Olugasa at the lunch of a practice management software "The Solicitors and Arbitrators' Toolkit (SAT).
According to Olugasa, the successful implementation of the AfCFTA could boost intra-Africa trade by as much as 52% by 2022 as local productivity, supported by appropriate policies would be exponentially boosted and increased.
The lawyer said that the Protocol on Rules and Procedure on the Settlement of Disputes, in Article 27, prescribes arbitration as one of the dispute settlement mechanism that can be adopted by Member-States of the AfCFTA in the resolution of disputes.
He stressed that recent statistics based on 2018 United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) statistics, revealed that African countries are parties in about 101 Investor-State Dispute (ISD) cases at international arbitral tribunals. Yet, it is glaring that a greater percentage of African lawyers do not have enough exposure or expertise to handle cases at international arbitral tribunals.
"The AfCFTA, which Nigeria became a signatory to in July 2019, has significant importance for Nigeria especially, particularly in view of the fact that Nigeria with an estimated population of 200 million people, represents the largest economy in Africa, and therefore has the potential of being the biggest benefactor of the AfCFTA, if well executed and implemented.
As related to legal services, Olugasa drew attention to the staggering statistics that between 70% - 80% of the high-end legal services consumed in Africa is provided by law firms and lawyers in Europe and North America, leaving African lawyers to scramble for the remaining 20-30%.
He stated that one of the difficulties that has beleaguered the provision of excellent and efficient legal services in Africa is the inadequacy of the type of capacity needed to compete with Law firms in London, New York or Paris.
He said, "finding a lasting solution to this difficulty is one of the main drivers of the innovations pioneered by LawPavilion.
"With access to a market of about 1.2 billion people, the potentials for doing business is mind-boggling and requires new ways of thinking and being properly equipped to promptly, efficiently and comprehensively provide the legal services that will be required as a direct result of the successful implementation of the AfCFTA, which seeks to liberalize trade of goods and services across the Continent.
"Nigeria's leading legal technologies company, LawPavilion Business Solutions Limited has scored another first, demonstrating its uncanny ability to equip Nigerian and African lawyers with cutting-edge solutions, in order to compete successfully in the provision of legal services in Nigeria and across the continent.
With the sole objective of deploying the latest technologies to enhance the capacity of legal practitioners for them to compete favorably in the international scene, LawPavilion is demonstrating the unique value proposition of their new and enhanced offerings by setting up Experience Centers in its Lagos and Abuja offices, and invites legal practitioners for a hands-on experience," Olugasa.