LAWYARD SPOTLIGHT: Oluwashina Adeboboye (Managing Partner at Ingenium Legal Practice)
Oluwashina Adeboboye is a technology lawyer and legal entrepreneur with varying experience in dispute resolution practice, tech law, data science and business management. He is presently a managing partner at his firm Ingenium Legal Practice where provides legal and technical advice to emerging businesses and ensures the smooth management of his firm.
Kindly tell us a bit about your personal journey and please include your University and Postgraduate qualifications.
I am a graduate of Law from the University of Ibadan and I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2014. I am also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration, UK (Nigerian branch), and a student member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
I am currently the Managing Partner of Ingenium Legal Practice. Our practice is aimed at providing real time solutions to businesses while taking advantage of the technological tools available to use.
Would you say that mentors influenced your career decisions?
Well in a way, but it’s more than having mentors, I take note of actions from different people, and use that as a guide. They may not be mentors so to speak, it may be a young colleague, another young person doing well in another field, a senior I admire, and all those actions taken by them individually and separately have a way of influencing me to reach an informed career decision.
What prompted your move from a sole proprietorship to a partnership?
I believe the right collaboration aids in achieving more impact in any sphere of life. My reason for entering into a partnership is to have a bigger and broader practice to ensure an impeccable service delivery. My partners are progressive and ambitious. I am indeed blessed to have such enlightened sharp minds as partners.
Prior to your present role at Ingenium Law Practice, please tell us where you worked, the roles you previously occupied and how long you occupied them for.
I worked in the law firm of B.A Law LLP (formerly B. Ayorinde & Co.) for my compulsory youth service and started my own legal practice shortly after. I am also the Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of Lantern Innovate Team Limited, the owners of lawrathon.com, a legal tech solutions company.
What has it been like managing your firm generally and also under the recent pandemic which emerged a few months after your partnership? Please tell us about any challenges which you may have experienced with respect to the day to day management of your firm or specific practice area challenges?
Before the pandemic, our firm has always positioned itself as a virtual law firm, most of our works and engagements have been remote, so it was not very difficult at all to switch to a work from home mode which was popular during that period.
A major challenge faced however, was in clientele, as some clients still prefer the traditional meetings, even where they are very tech savvy. As a result, while we are ready to serve virtually, they would still request for physical meetings. We however, have learned over time how to manage such clients and assure them that the (virtual) legal services we provide are as real as the traditional ones.
Your firm’s practice revolves around technology law as it relates to assisting start ups and other SMEs. Could you tell us a bit about what this entails?
Many Startup founders and SMEs owners believe they understand their business, once they have an idea or solution they are working on, they most times fail to take into account that there are legal structures in place for them to conform with. Some do not understand the intricacies of some of the contracts they enter into.
Technology itself is a fast industry, and its business does not leave much room for mistakes as it can lead to a great loss or problem in future. Our firm aims to provide clients with real time solutions. This is because we have a profound understanding of what the tech industry entails, the challenges the founders and business owners encounter, and we are able to provide them with tailored solutions.
As regards the digitalisation generally of many emerging businesses globally and within Nigeria and the current struggle to find a balanced taxation system for such businesses, what are your thoughts on the general efforts made by the country so far to remedy this? In addition, specifically your thoughts on the current Significant Economic Presence (SEP) formula being implemented to solve this issue. Do you have any alternative suggestions for this problem?
One thing we must understand about the tech industry and digital businesses is that legislation is always trying to catch up. It is not easy and almost impossible for law or policy makers to envisage some of the digital innovations that are doled out daily. The issue of taxation is also significant in this sense because you cannot create a tax regime for something that does not exist.
What you discover, is that many countries try to create policies or laws for these things as fast as they can, but as they think they are resolving one, there is another new innovation that is already accessible to half of the world. In the case of Nigeria, with regard to the SEP formula, my personal belief is that it is too premature and may be a bit difficult to implement. The major issue I believe, borders on accountability, as it may not be straightforward or easy to get the revenue accrued from Nigeria alone. While the data may be available; it could be easily manipulated to strategically avoid this tax.
It is also time for Nigeria to move away from just being just end consumers of these services, the country can focus on how to develop and house have infrastructure such as server farms built and located in Nigeria, and other such items that can significantly boost the economy, rather than just trying to apply a tax in an area where it has limited control over.
Are there general tips you could give to Lawyers interested in venturing into technology law? Are there specific sector tips one should have in mind?
Be open minded, willing to learn and explore.
Considering how highly competitive the world has become, what are those non-negotiable skills you would recommend to young lawyers considering a similar career path as yours?
Personal development is essential, keep up with current realities, and having integrity is key.
On a lighter note, what do you enjoy doing outside work?
Travelling to new places, particularly places with a rich history and reading literary works.
If you never forayed into law, what career path would you have taken?
A pilot, or a software engineer.