How you can easily access credible and quality legal service in Nigeria – Inemesit Dike
- Let’s get to meet you, ma’am. Tell us about yourself and your background
My name Inemesit Dike Esq. MCIarb, A.C.I.S I am the Chief Executive Officer of The Legal Concierge, Convener of the Young Wigs Conference, and the Founder of the Legal X App. I am an award-winning tech lawyer and entrepreneur who believes legal business can be wholesome, systemized, and sustainably scaled. I was named Africa’s Top 50 Individuals in Legal Innovations in 2020 and 2021 and am also a winner of Ultima’s (Ecobank) International Business Reality Series, Lion’s Den 2021 (also known as Shark’s Tank and Dragon’s Den).
I am an Attorney and Counsel at Law, Nigeria, and New York USA, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. I am also a Chartered Company Secretary & connoisseur of Corporate Governance, a Board Room Mogul, a Commercial Law, Labour Law, and Human Resources Expert, and am considered an authority in these areas. I have served in various leadership roles including the Head of Legal Services and Technical Contracting on the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 55 Oil and Gas Exploration and Production in the Niger Delta Region.
My command of knowledge in legal business development and technology has enabled me to solve three problems in the legal sector. 1. Design Innovation in Legal practice. 2. Creativity amongst lawyers and 3. Market Connectivity for lawyers. Over the years, these navigations resulted in the creation of the innovative mobile app LegalX, which is a ONE STOP HUB maximizing the use of technology to reach the underserved legal Clients thus enhancing access to justice.
Aside from my academic and professional accomplishments, I have a super-duper passion for community development. In my spare time, I channel my passion for sustainable societal development through the education of young lawyers via a project called the Young Wigs Conference which analyzes the convergence of Law, Business, and Technology and helps lawyers creatively articulate their pathway into technology as a business, thereby making them investor-ready.
What are the values that inspired you in your line of profession? Have you always been involved in the legal space?
Matters relating to Justice, Equality, and Fairness always sparked my interest as a child. I often found myself defending and even befriending people who were unjustly treated. In secondary school and holiday camps, I often made friends with the kids that were treated as outsiders. I was a very curious child with lots of wild imagination.
I always asked “why” and considered theories from different views and premises. To date, my close friends and family know me for my out-of-the-box thinking. My imagination often takes on a cartoon-like character that brings edgy thinking to my everyday experiences. With this keen sense of justice as well as my pretty witty ability to drum up arguments for and against any topic, my mother simply suggested that I study Law and I wholeheartedly agreed.
A stint as a Head girl in my secondary school also pushed me further down this path. There, I had firsthand experience of the positive impact of good leadership on the polity and the people. I read about the presidents of the United States of America being mostly lawyers and that sealed it for me. However, I was in for a rude shock in my undergraduate study because it became obvious to me that the letter of the law did not necessarily improve the lot of the common man. Many people still struggled with the just implementation of the law.
My creative and curious mind led me down a path uncharted at the time. I often buried my nose in Case law at the University of Lagos Law Library, but I was not reading them just for citation in exam purposes. I was reading to familiarize myself with the human aspect of the cases. Every case is actually an expression of one party’s error as well as the evolution of the law. This intrigued my creative mind and I started to think of ways to creatively apply the law that I was learning in a way to positively impact people. Today, Technology provided that answer. During one of the numerous undergraduate strikes, I won a scholarship to study Oracle 9i – Database Administration at NIIT. That kicked off my love for technology. I combine my years of experience as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, an Attorney of Law at the New York State Bar, United States of America with my skills in technology for maximum impact.
What’s your view about the Nigerian legal system? Are there gaps in the legal value chain and do you think they can be fixed?
The Nigerian Legal system, like many others, was inherited from colonialism flaws and all. Despite the legal system being a very important part of any developing society, ours has still not caught up with modern times nor has it evolved at the same pace as other industries. Many stakeholders within the legal system value chain are responsible for this: the lawyer who is slow in adopting technology to his/her practice, the intended client who doesn’t exercise his/ her newfound options at legal representation as well as the judicial arm which has not fully implemented technology to improve speed, and adaptability within the Nigerian Legal system. All these factors result in the slow evolution of the system as we see it today. However, there is hope and this hope has come in the form of technology-based tools used to improve court processes and also enlighten the client about alternative legal services.
What are the norms and values you would look out for from an up-and-coming legal professional? Do you have or are affiliated with a platform where they can be trained and get their skills honed?
Humility. As lawyers, due to the experiences we have, we tend to feel like the smartest in the room which is not always true. I have seen enough to know that it is not always the smartest person in the room that has the biggest breakthrough. Every successful leader has learned the same lesson to be humble enough to listen to others and ask questions for clarification. The concepts of business are the same all over the world, but no man or woman knows it all. While that is a skill of character, there are other skills that must be learned to succeed in the legal profession such as negotiation, client service, analytical skills, and much more. The goal is to be a leading lawyer and not “just” another lawyer which is why my team and I have created a Learning Management System where lawyers can learn from the top players in the legal industry around the world and carve a niche for themselves. A simple visit to www.legalxapp.com will help you explore great minds and enable you to acquire more skills at your own pace
There is an emergence of women like you disrupting and bringing innovations to different industries, what inspired you, and do you have people that mentored you?
I get my inspiration and motivation from God, not just as a religion but in a personally curated relationship with God. He cracks inside jokes with me, and this relationship gives me the strength to push through. I also believe that success leaves clues so I developed a habit of studying the autobiography and personal lives of others who are successful; within my industry as well as in other industries. Success stories within the clergy, the business world, and other outliers give me inspiration. I am very intentional about my inner circle, intentionally surrounding myself with broad-minded and curious people of integrity and excellence. I started out without knowing anyone within the legal sphere but now I have received the grace to learn and glean from many senior lawyers like Mr. George Etomi and OCJ Okocha SAN who have been pillars of support, guidance, and inspiration. My mum also taught me to be resilient through all circumstances and my dad made me realize that all I needed to excel was inside of me. I have to mention here that Inspiration tends to be flighty thus when inspiration is low, we must keep our eye on the ball. Consistency has been a not-so-secret ingredient of true success.
My advice to younger women is “Carpe Diem”. Seize the day to be all you can be today. Believe that you are more than enough. Don’t settle for just enough, you are made for more. Ignore those kind-sounding voices that tell you to manage the status quo. Tip one: Do the work. You must make the best impression the very first time. So, do the work to get in the room and keep doing the work to stay in the room. The next tip is this, Do not compromise your values but stay in the game. It is important to stay in the game. Do not get distracted and emotional by the seeming difficulties, the sexist wisecracks. Instead, by determined, intentional efforts, learn to dig deep and be intentional about building a great support system around you. Women
everywhere should remember this, “If you believe you can or believe you can’t, either way, you are right. So always believe you can.”
As a professional, do you think we have the right structure to enforce corporate laws and drive corporate governance in Nigeria?
The laws for corporate governance in Nigeria are many and adequately so. The problem is in the enforcement of the law. While our strength lies in the development of laws to promote good corporate governance, our regulator and judicial system do not focus on the punishment of offenders of such policies nor is enforcement of these policies a priority. Thus many corporate entities can behave in outrageous ways within Nigeria when they would not dare to try the same outside the shores of this country. Once in a while, karma and the long arm of the law eventually catches up with these organizations as then Justice is eventually served.
What should Nigeria and the rest of the world be expecting from your platform legal concierge in the nearest future?
Increased Access to justice and job creation for lawyers through the Legal X Application. The LegalX App was birthed out of my passion to make the legal services industry in Nigeria available to the under-served as well as to enhance the ease of providing legal services. It was inspired by my own experience as a young lawyer and a mother of young children.
This app makes it easy to quickly identify the niche area that any lawyer has worked in. On the app, the cost details of all expenses involved are also displayed up front thus making access to justice a lot easier for anyone with a smartphone. This way, with LegalX, justice is not just brought to the doorsteps of the Client but gives the client options on who to engage, and the cost at which the client wants to engage those legal services.
Since its inception, the LegalX App has served several purposes including Making it possible for lawyers to practice law remotely from the comfort of their ‘couch’. This is especially focused on new wigs who may not have the resources to set up a traditional law firm. Young female lawyers no longer have to have a gap year or choose between caring for family and legal practice. Sometimes, Nigerian lawyers in foreign countries engage in basic jobs until they qualify to practice as lawyers within that foreign jurisdiction. The app has succeeded in breaking the jurisdictional barrier as Nigerian lawyers are able to continue to deliver legal services to Nigerians from anywhere in the world, as long as they remain on the Roll of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Legal X has also created networking opportunities that make it easy for lawyers to find other lawyers in other jurisdictions. Instead of having to travel themselves, lawyers can engage other lawyers to support or assist when an issue arises outside their own environment. Legal X also increases the lawyers’ capacity to earn remotely through our unique learning management system where lawyers earn from teaching courses based on their life’s skills. The courses are very interesting and practically relevant to legal practice in various areas. We have courses for Lawyers who work in different roles such as Project Management, Supply Chain and Contracting, and even Human Resources Management.
There are courses for lawyers who are in the Board room and need leadership and C-suite skills, for those who want to transition into tech practice and need to understand Smart
Contracts and Blockchain. All lawyers have to do is set up their account in four simple steps.
I am very excited about the Legal X app and its possibilities. We are focusing our sights on the future generation with the plan to completely redirect the map of how legal services are provided in the near future.