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Folashade Alli, SAN: A Journey to Legal Excellence

“Be so excellent at every point,
that people are compelled to search you out just to know
more about you. Women must be proactive; we must
support one another…”

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Folashade Alli, SAN: A Journey to Legal Excellence and Advocacy

A Chartered Arbitrator, Folashade Alli is recognized as one of the leading arbitrators in Nigeria, with over 35 years of experience cutting across Commercial legal practice and International Arbitration.

Hard work, diligence, and integrity are essential qualities for success in any profession, but in the legal field, they are doubly indispensable. Folashade Alli, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), exemplifies these attributes in her remarkable journey to the top of the legal profession. In a candid interview with Braithwaite and Jude, Folashade shares insights into her professional pathway, discussing her experiences, challenges, and the critical issues facing the legal profession in Nigeria.

Early Influences: Folashade attributes much of her success to her father, the esteemed Legal Luminary Aare Afe Babalola, who instilled in her a profound appreciation for education and a relentless pursuit of excellence from a young age. His guidance and staunch belief in the transformative power of hard work served as the foundation for her legal career.

Educational Pursuits: After being called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986, Folashade embarked on a journey of continuous learning and growth. She pursued further studies, obtaining a Master’s in Corporate and Commercial Law from the University College London. This international exposure broadened her perspective and enriched her legal understanding, laying the groundwork for her future ambitions.

Folashade Alli, SAN: A Journey to Legal Excellence and Advocacy

Professional Milestones: Folashade’s career path includes significant climacterics and experiences that shaped her into the accomplished legal professional she is today. She gained valuable insights and practical experience while working at Maxwell Solicitors and New Nigeria Bank in London before returning to Nigeria to join Aluko and Oyebode, where she headed the Intellectual Property Law department for five years under the tutelage of Gbenga Oyebode.

In 1999, Folashade took on the role of General Counsel and Group Legal Adviser for the Bollorre Group, a French Multinational Company, overseeing the legal departments of five companies. In 2001, she established her law firm, VATad Solicitors, Nigeria’s first law firm specializing in foreign VAT recovery. Through hard work and perseverance, VATad Solicitors evolved into Folashade Alli and Associates, a full-service law firm recognized for its excellence in legal practice.

Arbitration and Leadership Roles: Folashade’s commitment to excellence extended beyond her legal practice to her involvement in arbitration and leadership roles within the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). She became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK, and subsequently, a Chartered Arbitrator. Actively participating in local and international training programs and conferences, she honed her skills and contributed to advancing arbitration in Nigeria.

Be so excellent at every point,
that people are compelled to search you out just to know
more about you. Women must be proactive; we must
support one another.

Folashade’s leadership roles within the NBA, including her current position as a Council Member of the NBA Women Forum and Vice-Chairperson of the NBA-SLP, underscore her dedication to supporting and empowering fellow lawyers, especially women, in their professional journeys.

Balancing Act: Achieving success in the legal profession requires a delicate balance between professional responsibilities, personal commitments, and self-care. Folashade emphasizes the importance of maintaining a structured daily routine, starting her day with prayers and exercise before diving into her work. Despite her demanding schedule, she prioritizes family time and ensures that her evenings are reserved for bonding with her loved ones.

Folashade acknowledges the support she received from her family, friends, and mentors throughout her journey, highlighting the importance of having a strong support system in steering the challenges of legal practice.

Advocacy and Challenges: Folashade addresses pressing issues facing the Nigerian legal terrain, including the underutilization of arbitration, the need for mentorship, and the pupilage system’s reintroduction to groom young lawyers for success. She advocates for promoting arbitration as a preferred mode of dispute resolution and emphasizes the importance of mentorship in cultivating future legal leaders.

Folashade Alli, SAN: A Journey to Legal Excellence and Advocacy

Reflecting on the rise of police brutality and insecurity in Nigeria, Folashade calls for collaborative efforts between lawyers and security agencies to address these challenges and uphold the rule of law. She emphasizes the legal profession’s role in advocating for justice and accountability, urging continuous education and sensitization of security forces on human rights issues.

Folashade Alli, SAN’s journey exemplifies resilience, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. Her insights serve as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring lawyers, accentuating the transformative power of hard work, mentorship, and advocacy in pursuing legal success. As she continues to make strides in her legal career and contribute to the profession’s advancement, Folashade remains a shining example of legal excellence and leadership in Nigeria.

Folashade Alli, SAN: A Journey to Legal Excellence and Advocacy

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NBA Judiciary Ethics | Career Practice Public Interest | NBA-ICLE | Folashade Alli SAN|

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