By Ebele Orakpo
Mr. Bamidele Albert Adeleye, Solicitor & Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria is the managing partner of Alexander Payne & Co, publishers of specialised law reports.
A graduate of University of Lagos, Adeleye who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1989, is also a member of the International Bar Association, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, and American Bar Association. He practices law at all levels of the Nigerian judicial system and specialises in intellectual property law. He spoke with Financial Vanguard recently in Lagos. Excerpts:
Mr. Adeleye displayed the indomitable and never-say-die Nigerian spirit because where others would have given up, he forged ahead and thus, out of a very bitter experience, came something sweet.
Recounting his experience, Adeleye said: â€œWe actually started our practice at Unity House, 37 Marina. We were on the 9th floor. On the 27th of October 2007, at about 6, it was a Friday, I just got a call that our office was on fire. I raced down there and right in my presence, I watched the fire engulf our office and totally consumed everything. We thank God for the resilience we had. We just made up our minds that we wonâ€™t allow that incident to knock us off completely.
So we got another office at Investment House within a month of that fire incident and of course, there were no books, nothing to read so we were just sitting down and the idea just came that â€˜look, instead of sitting down, we should start from somewhere.â€™
So I called one of my book suppliers and the first book he brought was a book on Intellectual Property and that was the book I was reading and discovered that most of the cases in that book were foreign cases even though the author was actually talking on intellectual property law and practice in Nigeria but most of the cases he was quoting to support his law points were foreign cases and the idea came that look, we could do something. Is it that we donâ€™t have reported cases or that we donâ€™t have any case at all? But I discovered that indeed, we had cases but most of them were not reported. That was why we went into the report of intellectual property law and that is what you see today.â€
Speaking on how he was able to gt materials for the publication, he said: â€œWe went to the various high court libraries, especially that of the federal high court, court of appeal and supreme court and we went into their archives to dig out some of these cases. So you can say that the publication actually is a child born out of adversity and our maiden publication is the famous Intellectual Property Law Reports in which we reported all intellectual property cases – patents, trade marks and copyright matters – from 1917 to 2007.â€
According to the legal luminary, the work which is in five volumes, has a CD. â€œThe unique aspect of our publication is that the law report equally comes out in audio format. In other words, lawyers can slot in the DVD and play it on their way to court or listen to it in the comfort of their home. It is about 56 hours of non-stop recording. So that is what we do in Alexander Payne & Co.
And it might interest you to know too that Alexander Payne & Co is the publishing arm of Adeleye & Adeleye which is a law firm,â€ he said, adding that the company which has 10 employees, also out-sources most of its jobs as a coping strategy. Said he: â€œWith the challenges especially in this era of economic downturn, what we are doing in Alexander Payne & Co. is to out-source most of our jobs. For instance, cleaning and mail delivery are outsourced. It is cheaper. We just get someone who would come in and do the job. We also prioritize our spending so that is how we have been able to keep afloat.â€
â€œThe epileptic nature of electricity supply in Nigeria is no news to anybody. The
building has a back-up of a generator which they give us whenever the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)Â strikes. We have light from 10am to 5.00pm daily i.e. if there is no power from PHCN. The second layer of back-up that we have is an inverter which cost us a lot of money so if PHCN does not function, and one thing or the other hampers the generator from working, then we fall back on our inverter. And then again, we have another layer of back-up which is laptops. Desktop is cheaper to purchase and maintain but then, anytime PHCN strikes, you just discover that you may lose some documents. So we have those different layers.
Speaking on the publication, which buyers adjudged to be of high quality,Â Adeleye said â€œwe actually toyed with the idea of printing our law reports abroad. We looked at China but then, there was the language barrier.
I thank God I didnâ€™t go to China because they donâ€™t speak English. There were some errors that were discovered even at the point of printing and our printers were able to discover it because they could read and understand the English language. So at that point, there could still be some corrections which we had the advantage of effecting so it was printed locally and we thank God for the printers,â€ adding that the feedback they got from those who bought it said the quality of printing was quite high and commendable.â€
In the next 5 – 10 years, Adeleye hopes to see Alexander Payne & Co as the best in the area of law publishing, â€œnot only in Nigeria but throughout the world and we are into specialised law reporting, we are not doing general law reporting. We are done with intellectual property, all we need do now is just to be updating it from time to time and we are doing that. Right now, we are involved in another specialised project which will be out very soon,â€ he stated.