The Annual General Conference held on the 21st and 22nd in Lagos, Nigeria. The conference opened with a pre-conference cocktail night where delegates had the opportunity to network and interact with other female lawyers on the first day of the conference.

Day 2 of the conference  was the day of the main event and was opened with the recitation of the national anthem followed by opening remarks of the Chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum, Mrs. Chinyere Okorocha after which Mrs. Folashade Alli SAN, the chairperson of the planning committee of the 4th annual general conference gave a welcome speech.

After the welcome addresses, some dignitaries present were invited to give their good will messages. The Attorney General of Lagos, Honourable Lawal Pedro, Mrs Amina ably represented by Mrs. Funke Oduwole and the representative of the first lady of Ogun state amongst others gave their good will messages.

The conference kicked off in full with the keynote speech presented by the ever vibrant and change maker Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters who spoke to the theme of the conference “Beyond the Balance Sheet, Redefining Success for Women in Law” she urged Nigerian female lawyers to define what success means to them, to follow their passion and not allow other people or society define what happiness should mean to them. She suggested that the body in charge of conferring Senior advocate ranking look beyond court advocacy and that they should consider lawyers who work in-house and non-litigation lawyers generally. She opined that senior lawyers embrace the culture of mentoring young lawyers as the younger lawyers would be the one to take over the baton in few years to come. She left the audience with the words that a female lawyer also needs to balance her sheets as the goal is to be successful while also making the money.

After the speech, a question and answer section was anchored by the Chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum, Mrs. Chinyere Okorocha where she asked the keynote speakers questions regarding challenges she must have faced during the cause of her career in the creative industry which used to be men dominated before the emergence of women who dared to change the narrative. At the conclusion of this segment, the first panel session commenced. This section delved into how a professional ecosystem can be created for the female lawyer, the panelists narrated personal experiences and also encourage law firms and employers to put structures that will make the workplace enabling for women to thrive.

The second session which had seasoned lawyers like Mr. George Etomi, SAN,  Mrs Kofo Dosekun speak about how a business of law is formed and managed. Mr. George Etomi, SAN from his wealth of experience gave three key insights which include employing or partnering with lawyers who can get the work in, ensuring that all jobs gotten are done to the best and lastly getting money into the firm to continue to finance the law firm business. Third section was on technology, the panelist gave examples of how women in law can leverage on technology. One of the panelists noted that gone are the days where female lawyers especially married women struggle with staying back at the office to finish a research work, a woman can now within the confines of her house do researches and access cases using platforms like the Law Pavilion.

The fourth session had panelists like Mrs. Funmi Roberts who spoke about how women in law should dress and compose themselves. Women in law are advised to remain authentic, dress appropriately, network and always speak in rooms where they find themselves. The fifth session had a mental health specialist Dr. Yusuf Kadiri, Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim-Ali, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN and was moderated by Professor Foluke Dada. The panelists narrated personal experiences and advised young lawyers to ay attention to ow their body works. Women lawyers are advised to engage in activities that will help the stay healthy both physically and mentally.

The last session had women and very senior lawyers who have journeyed both the legal career and raising families. Professor Yemi Bamgbose, SAN, Mrs. Folashade Alli, SAN  and Honourable Justice Ipaye shared their wealth of experience, challenges they have faced and triumphed while casing their career, the key takeaway from this session to a young female lawyer is that you can n have it all, the thriving career, successful life and an happy family life. The formal session of the conference was rounded off by the 6th session. Delegates and guests were excused to go and dress elegantly for the dinner which will mark the closing of the annual general conference.

The dinner held at the same venue, a keynote speech was given by the representative of the Dr. Olusin the CEO of Bank of Industry. Series of entertainment activities were done, awards were presented. The conference came to an end with the conclusion of the dinner. The conference was a resounding success and all participants were excited to have been of such an epoch making event.