How We Started Our Firm – Titilola Akinlawon SAN


Reading about my learned brothers Jubrin Okutepa’s post on celebrating 30 years of his law firm prompted this post. I’m a very private person who never wants to be in the public eyes but it just occurred to me to share a bit about myself to encourage other people particularly female lawyers.

On Monday 2nd April 2001 the law firm of Akinlawon & Ajomo opened its doors on the right wing of the 2nd floor of a new building in Anthony Village as the first tenant in the five floors building. It felt so surreal climbing up the stairs to a vacant office with cartoons of books that littered the entire place. So many decisions to be made with my very brilliant Cambridge-trained insular partner, Ibukunoluwa Ajomo. How do we partition the office? What furniture do we need to buy? Where do we source the funds to run the office? What would be our staff strength? Most importantly how do we source for briefs to sustain the office?

To appreciate these questions, you need to understand where we were coming from. We were both salaried partners in the law firm of M. I. Jegede & Co where we dutifully served for 19 and 16 years respectively. It’s so funny that when we gave one years notice of our disengagement, it was like a joke, that our principal would negotiate with us and make us equity partners, but this did not happen. So, on Friday the 30th day of March I packed up all my books and other personal effects and I left my comfort zone to start a journey into the unknown. Was I afraid? Was I sure that I’ve taken the right decision? Was I sure that it would be bliss all the way? Of course, my answer to these questions were in the negative.

When we opened shop, we only had our last joint salaries of N100,000.00. The first rent of N750,000.00 was a loan from Prof M. A. Ajomo, now of blessed memory, my partners father. There was no furniture of any kind. I now recall that the first brief I got in the new office, I sat on a cartoon of books using the wall as my back rest, while the client stood learning on my coat hanger. Our bedrock has been God Almighty who has remained faithful ever since. The relationship with my partner is more like a story book one that seems not possible in this materialistic world. We never had a quarrel not to talk of disagreement in the 22 years of our relationship. The most amazing situation is that we do not even have a written partnership deed. Well, the question is how was this possible? I believe because both of us are laid back insular people and are not really interested so much in owning the world but live very simple, discreet life. Money has never been an issue with both of us. When we have money, we spend on buying books and equipping the office, enhance the status of members of staff before we would think of ourselves. My partner has been managing the firm since inception of the firm. We are now thinking of bringing more partners into the firm or merge with other law firms with the same culture and ideology with our firm.


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