Ms Adekunbi Ogunde, a partner in the law firm of Wole Olanipekun & Co. accused of violating the rule of legal practice by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has taken a leave of absence from legal practice.
Ogunde, on June 20, solicited a brief from SAIPEM Contracting Nigeria Ltd, which had already engaged the law firm of Henry Ajumogobia (SAN).
This led to NBA’s call for disciplinary action against her by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC).
In a statement on Wednesday titled ‘My email correspondence of June 20, 2022, and subsequent events’ she signed on Wednesday, Ogunde regretted the distress her action had caused all concerned parties.
She disclosed that contrary to some people’s beliefs, the firm had taken disciplinary action against her.
She also expressed regret that her statement of June 27, where she owned up and clarified that the firm’s founding partner, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and others didn’t know about her action, failed to douse tensions.
Ogunde said: “Since I issued that public statement, like everyone else, I have read online, a complaint filed against me at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee by the First Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, and the subsequent letter written to my firm’s Founding Partner, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR, that he should recuse himself from his position as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.”
The lawyer added that though it might appear that remedial action had not been taken by herself or the firm, “by way of discipline, education, reform and rehabilitation concerning me. I wish to state that the firm took such steps but did not believe its actions should be for the media’s attention.
“Unfortunately, the matter has become rather complicated and has affected me psychologically, but also Wole Olanipekun & Co. and my family.
“It has bred bad blood and, to my great pain, thoroughly embarrassed the firm’s Founding Partner, the innocent and dignified Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR and everyone else at the firm.”
She said that after extensive consultation with her family and the firm and thoroughly examining the issue, she is quitting law practice for a while.
Ogunde said: “I will take a leave of absence from legal practice and get involved in community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs.
“I will also, during this time, undergo necessary courses to equip myself better in dealing with professional and life issues.
“I will return to legal practice after some time, in consultation with my parents, senior colleagues and well-wishers.
“This statement is issued to enable me to move to the next stage of my life. I will no longer be issuing any public statement.”