Similoluwa Fashanu used to dream of a career in the music industry, with a particular desire to manage recording artists.
That all changed when he signed up for a law degree at the University of Northampton, a decision which set him on the way to achieving a new ambition – to become one of the leading legal practitioners in his Nigerian homeland.
“My course helped me discover my hidden love for law and the abilities I needed to succeed in the profession,” said Similoluwa. “It basically changed the orientation of my life.”
After graduating in 2014, Similoluwa secured a job as an associate lawyer for Lagos legal firm Wole Olanipekun and Co in 2016 after qualifying as a legal practitioner in Nigeria. He worked at the law firm for 18 months, after which he embarked on an LLM programme in Tax Law at Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, with the hope of revamping the tax regime of his home country Nigeria upon completion of his degree.
His role sees him provide legal support and advice to clients, and specialise in dispute resolution and commercial litigation matters. He also provides pro bono (free of charge) services to those who cannot afford legal fees.
Similoluwa said: “I think it is particularly rewarding being able to represent people who would otherwise have not been able to afford legal representation in court, and it is even more rewarding when they are acquitted of the crimes they are alleged to have committed.
“It is however very challenging to represent these people due to the fact that most are not educated enough to provide you with enough evidence to represent them effectively.
“It is also rewarding to represent clients who feel hard done by due to a fraudulent transaction they entered into not knowing the true intentions of the other party in the transaction. Being involved in matters of significant commercial value can be very challenging as well, because the cases can be very complex, which means a lot of hours spent in the office.”
Similoluwa added: “My advice for potential students is that they will need to put in a lot of hard work and seize the opportunity to undertake a placement programme if they want to be a success.”