By Onozure Dania
Nigeria’s leading legal technologies company, LawPavilion Business Solutions ltd, has said that between 70 to 80 percent of high-end legal services consumed in Africa, is provided by law firms and lawyers in Europe and North America, leaving Africa to stage and scramble for the remaining 20 to 30 percent.
This was disclosed at the opening of Experience Centres in Lagos and Abuja to integrate African Continental Free TradeAgreement, ACTA, dispute settlement procedure into Solicitors and Arbitrators’ Toolkit, held in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director of LawPavilion Business Solutions, Mr Opeyemi Olugasa, said that one of the difficulties that has beleaguered the provision of excellent and efficient legal services in Africa, is the inadequacy of the type of capacity needed to compete with law firms in London, New York or Paris. Olugasa said that the Experience Centers in Lagos and Abuse, were to equip Nigerian and African lawyers with the cutting -edge solutions, in order to compete successfully in the provision of legal services in Nigeria and across the continent.
He said that the company keenly observed and followed the decorations on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AFCFTA, which has the primary objective of enhancing intra-Africa trade, thus promoting accelerated economic integration of the African continent.
Olugasa noted that Nigeria has the potential of being the biggest benefactor of AFCFTA, if well executed and
implemented, as it is the largest economy in Africa, with an estimated population of 200million people, and AFCFTA, has significant importance for Nigeria especially, as Nigeria became a signatory of AFCFTA, in July 2019.
He stated that recent statistics based on 2018 UNCTAD statistics, revealed that African countries are parties in about 101, Investor-State Dispute, ISD, cases at international arbitral tribunals,adding that it was glaring that a greater percentage of African lawyers do not have enough exposure or expertise to handle cases at international arbitral tribunals.
According to Olugasa, it is thus, as a first step towards equipping Nigerian and African lawyers to respond and rise to the future of liberalised legalservices that LawPavillion has developed and is now showcasing its newest solution – The Solicitors and Arbitrators’_ Toolkit, SAT. The SAT together with LawPavilion’s practice Management Software, boasts of a Document Authoring and Management platform, which provides access to hundreds of customisable forms and precedents, court forms and insight notes on various practice areas.
“Finding a lasting solution to this difficulty is one of the main drivers of the innovations pioneered by LawPavilion with access to a market of about 1.2 billion people. The potential of doing business is mind- boggling and requires new ways of thinking and being properly equipped to promptly, efficiently and comprehensively provide the legal services that will be required as a direct result of the successfulimplementation of the AFCFTA, which seeks to liberalise trade of goods and services across the continent,” he said.