The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) through its Women-in-Law Section and Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) through the NBA Women Forum have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on empowering women in the legal profession.
One way this could be achieved, they noted, is by exchanging information relating to women’s rights and mentoring women lawyers amongst others.
The MoU was signed last Thursday during a virtual ceremony.
NYSBA President Scott Karson said: “It is my honour to continue to expand upon NYSBA’s ambitious plan to connect and create relationships with bar associations and legal organisations around the world during these uncertain times, I believe that alliances such as this are more important and meaningful than ever.
“The NBA Women Forum and NYSBA’s Women in Law Section will work together to advance women in the profession, recognize the importance of women’s issues around the world, and exchange information and materials as they relate to women’s legal rights
“ NYSBA is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation, adding that since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities,” Karson stated.
President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Paul Usoro congratulated the Chairperson, NBAWF, Oluyemisi Bamgbose and her team for making the occasion happen.
He explained that Nigeria, which has the largest economy and population in Africa is a good place to have the collaboration, especially as it has population of women and children.
“The profession has continued to encourage gender balance, Oluyemisi Bamgbose, the chairperson of NBAWF is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“She has the intellect and drive. In the past couple of months, she has proved that women are not only behind the men to support them but are also in front of them. She has piloted the forum to a point where we are all signing the MoU.
“The NBAWF was dormant for some years, but when I came into office, I revived it because I know women play a vital role in productivity and efficiency. The NBAWF looks forward to learning a lot from the Women in Law NYSBA,” he said.
Terri Mazur, chairperson Women in Law, NYSBA said it was such a honour to participate in the MOU signing, adding that NYSBA is excited and proud about this.
Mazur said the collaboration the association expects from the MoU is quite exciting as it looks forward to working with NBAWF.
“Issues affecting women are discussed here. Gender equality issues, domestic voilence and several other issues have been addressed over the years. We have grown tremendously in a space of two years. We are pleased to add Nigeria to our International membership.
“We wish you advance women issues all over the world. We also develop educational and informative programmes for women. Some of these programmes are educational advancement programmes in legal profession, programmes for women mediators, arbitrators and women judiciaries. We have several awards which recognises women lawyers that are exceptional and women who have made contributions in addressing issues around women,” she said.
NBA president-elect, Olumide Akpata, gave credit to Paul Usoro and his team “for reviving this very important forum. The opportunities of such great collaborations portend a lot.”
He assured that under his watch everything would be done to ensure his women colleagues take centre stage.
“This is also important for me. I will support the NBAWF and I am sure those elected with me will ensure this is done. One thing that is important for our women is capacity building and we will achieve this,” Akpata added.
He assured that the prospects for commercial and transactional law practice are great and the collaboration will benefit the two associations.
“Nigerian lawyers number over 125,000. The profession used to be largely male dominated but that has changed now. In recent years, Nigeria has had a female Chief Justice and is one of the best the country has produced. The Federal Court of Appeal is presided over by a female justice and she took over from another female justice.