She practises law as a profession. She has a passion for technology. Marrying these two areas together to better the law field in Nigeria is her mission. Abimo Olayiwola spoke with Rasheed Adebiyi on the relationship between law and technology as well as her advocacy and consultancy in that area. Here are the excerpts…
Tekedia: Could you please tell us about yourself?
Abimo Olayiwola: My name is Abimo Olayiwola. I am a business and digital law practice consultant. I am a lawyer. I practise as a lawyer. I go to court. I leverage the internet and social media to deliver legal services. I also help lawyers and law firms to leverage the internet and social media to build profitable legal practice. I have a passion for technology. I deliver legal services through cutting edge technology. I am a young mother and a lawyer for nine years. I have nine years active experience in legal practice.
Tekedia: You have a passion for technology on one hand, and you are a lawyer on the other hand. How successfully have you been able to marry these two distinct disciplines?
Abimo Olayiwola: I understand that we are in the technology age and any lawyer that wants to remain relevant must be ready to embrace technology. So, I decided to embrace technology within the scope of legal practice. My focus is on the necessary technological skills needed to run profitable legal practice. This has made it easy for me to marry law and technology. To me, it’s a new area of practice in the legal profession and I can’t really separate it from my practice as a lawyer. The only difference is that the technology practice has made me to become an expert for lawyers and this has greatly helped my legal practice. I now get more referrals and clients now have more respect for me knowing that I also consult for lawyers.
Tekedia: Being a very conservative profession, how easy could it be to practise Law through technology?
Tekedia: Practicing law through technology is easier than the traditional legal practice. Technology has made it possible for lawyers to have virtual law offices. This makes it easier for lawyers to practice law from the comfort of their homes/offices thereby saving on large overhead cost. Also virtual court hearings make it easy for lawyers to defend their clients from the comfort of their offices. This saves the valuable time usually spent in transit. Clients can also connect with their lawyers via video conferencing from any part of the word without having to travel. That’s awesome. Technology has also made legal research very easy and interesting. We now have online law reports and libraries. I remember when I was just called to the bar, I didn’t really enjoy research because I would have to use a ladder to get the books and law reports from the shelf. I was the youngest out of ten lawyers and almost all of them would want me to do a research for them. I always had a headache. Online law reporting and research tools made me fall in love with research again. A lot of Lawyers have also digitized their files against the traditional paper files that law offices were used to. This allows them gain access to all the office files from their devices. Technology has made the practice of law very easy.
Tekedia: Do you think it is a basis to advocate that a course be instituted on this for the first degree and at Law School?
Abimo Olayiwola: Absolutely. It is necessary to introduce digital law practice into the curriculum of law undergraduates and law schools students. This will equip them for contemporary legal practice. It will be difficult for any lawyer that isn’t technologically savvy in this age to compete in the labour market.
Tekedia: Recently, you floated a programme focusing on how lawyers could leverage technology to make their practice easier. Tell us about your vision that led to that.
Abimo Olayiwola: I recently launched the Digital Lawyers Network, an online community where we teach lawyers the necessary digital skills they need to thrive in this age. As a young lawyer, I had the opportunity to work in the traditional law firm setting as well as the digital law firm and I must confess that the difference is clear.Practicing law in the digital law firm made legal practice easier, more profitable and interesting. I have also noticed that one of the major challenges in the legal profession today is that most new wigs find legal practice boring and unprofitable because most of our clients are now techie while most lawyers don’t understand how to use simple technology. The need to assist lawyers to understand how to deliver legal services through cutting edge technology and to leverage the internet and social media for profitable legal practice motivated me to float the program.
Tekedia: How is it like combining law practice with family commitments?
Abimo Olayiwola: Combining law practice with family commitments isn’t easy at all. This is because law is a jealous mistress and the family is also important. Thank God for my supportive husband who takes a lot stress off me and encourages me to push harder and aim for the stars.
Tekedia: Thank you for your time
Abimo Olayiwola: It is my pleasure.