LAWTERACT EXCLUSIVE CHAT SPECIAL WITH AYOMIDE, JIDE OMOLE
In An Exclusive Chat LAWTERACT had with Ayo Jide-Omole, an Aviation and Space Lawyer who plies her trade in the Netherlands, a wide range of issues bordering on the need for diversification of practice areas, lawyers welfare and learnable lessons from the Netherlands legal industry amongst other things were discussed.
Kindly introduce yourself
My name is Ayomide Adeife, JIDE-OMOLE, and I am the first child of five children given to my parents by God.
What are your academic qualifications
My highest academic qualification is a Master’s degree which I obtained in August of 2020 at Leiden University in the Netherlands. I am a Chartered Secretary and Administrator and a Chartered Arbitrator and I also currently volunteer with some NGO’s within the aviation and space law industry from time to time as an international aviation law consultant.
What informed your choice of profession?
My choice to study law was really a culmination of everything I aspired to be. Up until I got my LLB, my family had never produced any lawyer. And I wanted to change that. I do not regret studying law and its truly one of the best decisions I have made in life as it has helped to refine my thought process and think like a professional in all my endeavors.
What do you do currently?
I currently specialize in air and space law, but from Fall 2021, I will be including law of international economic integration, especially from an African lens as the core of my doctoral study. My decision to study air and space with a focus on globalization and economic integration births from the love and passion that I have for the development and integration of my continent, Africa and the world at large. I want to lend my scholarship and voice to the novelty towards integration and economic growth across Africa especially as it relates to the aviation and space industry.
Share your thoughts on the over saturation of some practice areas of law in Nigeria
With regards to law practice in Nigeria, and from my experience practicing outside Nigeria, I have come to realize that there is a certain way we do things in Nigeria and we are bent on keeping things that way because they have worked in times past. We need to be conscious of developments around us and move with change. There is now plethora of emerging practice areas that lawyers can specialize as a result of these new trends and development from novel technologies. I remember when I was going to pursue my master’s degree, I had a senior lawyer call me into his office for over 4 hours trying to convince me to change my specialization into maritime or an area that was at least buoyant in Nigeria. Looking back on the discussion of that day and my professional strides since then, it has helped me to brace myself for the work ahead. There is still a lot to be done in terms of change advocacy within the Nigerian system. So rather than let people confuse you from a stance formed out of ignorance, which really is genuine and empathetic sometimes, we as young lawyers should take the bull by the horn and try to look at these areas we can find fulfilling and apply ourselves to how the practice of law might sharpen this field. There is aviation, space, food, entertainment, technology, intellectual property, children’s rights e.t.c
The problem of Salaries and young lawyer’s welfare has been an issue in the Nigerian law practice. What solutions do you profer the as the way out
To solve the salary conundrum and to seek better ways to improve salary of young lawyers in the Nigerian legal profession, we must first understand what really is the legal profession. Like I earlier mentioned, I have worked in the system and I don’t know if I am to say that I was a victim of this practice, but really I was in my early career denied the financial benefits that comes from law practice. So, when I say we have to understand what the legal profession is, it comes from the call of understanding what value you want to add to the society. In whatever profession you find yourself, surely, you must pay your dues. But while you pay your dues, you also have to be able to pay your debts and because of the cankerworm of leaving procedures as they are because they work, resolving the issue on welfare is not going to be popular until and I say this with caution, until we as young lawyers know our worth and we can stand for each other.
What can the Nigerian legal industry learn from the Netherlands
There are a lot of things to learn from the Netherlands really and not just from their legal profession. This is a country that built herself into what she is today from a constantly shifting, low-lying geography. Summarily, I will say the biggest lesson to learn perhaps will be the Dutch’s determination to outperform the odds in every sphere.
Who is Ayo Jide Omole away from the Black and White Profession
Beyond the white and black profession, I am typically quite on most days. I enjoy my solitude, so in my spare time, I read about history or topics ranging from colonization to migration to culture e.t.c I am an astute fan of history lessons. Also, I enjoy music and I listen to any genre as long as the lyrics are edifying. When I decide to explore my extroverted side, I love to travel, cook and have a barbeque with my friends in the summer of course.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Like I earlier hinted, I will be resuming my doctoral study in 2021. My degree in air and space law has really given me the platform to meet and converse with some of the most commercially- astute minds in both the aviation and space technology field. There are so many things I am currently involved in professionally and I am hopeful that they will all be successful. However, I will say my aspirations change every day owing to new information, thus, the question where do I see myself in ten years sounds restrictive. However, I know that all that my line of professional advancement will be in the line of Pan-Africanism and that for me is the fulfillment that I craved for while entering this field.
What is your advice to aspiring lawyers who wish to practice in the Aviation and Space Industry?
To law undergraduates, I will tell you something I wish my younger self knew. Enjoy life, enjoy the journey towards earning that LLB and BL. Do what is required of you so that when the results come and its either below or above expectation, you won’t have any regrets whatsoever because you did all was in your power and that which has now come was not within your power to change. So, live with no regrets and seek self fulfilment and value in all that you do.
Of course, I am always overjoyed when I receive messages from young lawyers or law undergraduates asking for mentorship and advice on how to break into the aviation and space industry. While these industries might look far-reaching and a bit wide, I can confidently tell you that this is not the case. Once you are making endeavors in this sphere, you will quickly be associated with the right persons. However, you must not feel entitled to their help hence, while you rely on your oars, you must also take networking seriously. Determination, hard work and perseverance will definitely take you far. I am open to taking on mentees from time to time and you can always reach me on my LinkedIn.
If you were given an opportunity to speak to a group of senior lawyers, what would you have to say?
I don’t know if I am in a place to advice older lawyers and typically people will do whatever they want to do. So, I will just say let’s improve our approach to mentorship. So many times, I have read and watched interviews of older lawyers talking about engendering the next generation, but the reverse is actually the case upon approach. Secondly, I will say give people what they are due as and when demanded. Because you were treated a certain way by your previous principals and those experiences have made you stronger does not mean that the vicious cycle should persist.