In developed countries, whatever you need can be found right at your finger-tip, you don’t have to walk to any business residence or commercial avenue to get what you want, be it pizza, a janitor, lawyer or a tax adviser and that is what a young Nigerian, Enyioma Madubuike envisioned when he founded LegitNG, taking Law digital. Nigeria, a developing nation, is still embracing the digital world, an easy-way-to-life. I remember some 8years ago, when I wanted to register my first company, I dreaded the experience of not having to see a platform to register the company online or secure someone online who could help me go through the hustle of registration without getting scammed. I had to travel from one state to another to get it done, the risk, transportation, hotel bills was certainly not in my budget when I wanted to form the company. So certainly, you will understand why I really do appreciate Enyioma and his team’s initiative and why I think they deserve being featured and celebrated in our OYDET column.
In an interview with Roluseye, Enyioma really talked on growing up, his choice of opting for law, what formed and inspired his start-up and other things.
The following conversation ensued (I tried to keep it as chronicled as possible);
Tell me about how growing up was like, so readers can relate it to theirs and not live with false hope that people who attempt great things don’t have humble beginnings;
“I was born to two Igbo parents in the grand old city of Ibadan, Oyo State. My parents are from Abia state and like many men of his generation, my dad left the east in search of the ‘greener pasture’. He settled in Ibadan where he decided to raise his family. He went back to the east to grab my mom and together they raised a family of four of us.
An account of growing up for me is a tale of school, play and work. My dad ran a farm in Ibadan and I had to turn in my bit especially as I grew older. He was a disciplinarian who believed in the value of education and hard work. I loved football so much it got me in a lot of trouble with him and I like to think that I would have been an Arsenal legend if he had been a bit lax with his insistence that I go through school. “
Your academic backgrounds with institutions attended, so your classmates or those who attended same school with you reading this post can relate and see how far you have come;
“Secondary school for me was in All Saints’ College (then in Jericho), Ibadan. I sat for and passed the Cambridge A-levels exams and got admission to study law in Nigeria’s first university, the University of Ibadan. I was called to the Nigerian bar in 2013 after attending the Nigerian Law School, Agbani. I am currently taking a certificate course in Princeton University on Cryptocurrencies.”
For someone out there, planning to choose a course to study at the university, why did you opt for Law as a course of study?
“Interesting story! I hated math in school so I decided early that I would not pursue any science courses despite hints from my dad. I decided to take arts related subjects. It used to be the perception (I hope this has changed) that the arts subjects were meant for unserious students. The decision to follow this path meant that I got strange condescending looks and questions about my abilities especially from people who felt I had too much talent to waste in the ‘arts’. I decided as a result to follow the most challenging professional course within the arts. At the time, law appeared to me as that profession so I decided to become a lawyer (and stick it to all those science students and teachers lol). I gradually grew to admire the profession and develop a genuine passion for it. I think that if I had not picked law at the time I picked it, I would have chosen Economics. I love Economics.
You were working at a well renowned law firm when you caught the entrepreneurship spirit (or did it catch you), tell us how this happened?
Well, I always knew I was not staying in a law firm for long. It was really a matter of time. I remember stating during my induction session at Olaniwun Ajayi that I saw myself leaving the firmin 2 years. It eventually took me over three years. By the way, the law profession is actually entrepreneurial. Every day, we hear of lawyers leaving law firms to start their own firms. It is not really a strange occurrence in the legal profession.
When did you decide it was time to leave your work place to start Legit NG?
I had been working on Legit NG for a while at Olaniwun Ajayi. We had gotten to a stage where the platform needed my full attention and I had to pick between abandoning it and leaving my place of work. I chose to leave my law firm which was and is still an amazing place to work for any young lawyer. As I said, it was only a matter of time.
What is the idea behind Legit NG, is it like a characteristic law firm?
LegitNG is a platform working on new models for providing access to legal knowledge and services. It is founded on the belief that in today’s knowledge economy, old models must give way to new models built on open sharing and collaboration. It is in essence an experiment on models for providing legal knowledge and services.
How has been the journey as an entrepreneur?
So far, exciting. The steep learning curve on new concepts, the constant experimentation with projects that succeed and fail in varying degrees and the discovery of new methods makes this journey thrilling.
Tech is really changing the narratives in the way entrepreneurs engage in Nigeria, what role do you think Legit NG has to play?
The law carves the skeleton on which any sane society is moulded. We believe LegitNG will lead conversations on how legal services and knowledge in Nigeria are assessed by Nigerian businesses in a fast changing world.
In a society like Nigeria, where entrepreneurship is just seeing the light of day, it is pertinent for us to ask the question on how ideas can be protected and the various channels to follow to secure patent for one’s innovation;
The question of how to protect an idea legally is one of the most common questions we get from start-up founders today. Entrepreneurs are concerned about their ideas being stolen. The default response to this question is that if you want to protect your idea, keep it to yourself. The law does not protect an idea but the expression of such an idea in forms of writings, apps, design etc. It is these concrete expressions that the laws of Intellectual property aim to protect through Patent, Trademark and Copyright registrations. Before registration however entrepreneurs can protect themselves through agreements of Confidentiality, Documenting a trail of document sharing and most effectively, execution. Execution stands out as the most practical form of preliminary Intellectual Property protection. When you are sure your idea works, it becomes more useful to protect it.
What other sectors are you interested in aside law and the urge in technology?
I am quite interested in the dynamics of attention in this new age and how this will affect the way brands play in the future of advertising.
Thank you Enyioma, it was really a pleasure chatting with you, I wish you all the very best this year; more ground-breaking feat and achievements sir.