Celebrating excellence in legal practice, Funmi Roberts stands tall in her craft

Celebrating excellence in legal practice, Funmi Roberts stands tall in her craft

Funmi Roberts was called to the Nigerian Bar to practice as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in June 1982 after obtaining her Bachelor of Laws Degree in the Second Class Upper Division from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Osun State of Nigeria.

After a 3-month stint as State Counsel in the Ministry of Justice of Oyo State of Nigeria, Funmi Roberts taught at the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State until she left to obtain her Masters of Laws Degree from the University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Osun State of Nigeria. Thereafter, in 1989, she proceeded to establish a Law Firm, Funmi Roberts & Co. Firm of Solicitors & Advocates engaged primarily in Commercial Law practice with special bias for ADR as a tool for dispute resolution.

Funmi Roberts & Co. today has grown to be one of the foremost female-owned law firms in Nigeria with offices in Ibadan and Lagos and has catered to many corporate organisations and individuals in many areas of law.

Funmi Roberts has acquired over the years Mediation Training Workshops from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), London and another in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR with Daniel Yamshon, Judge of the California Supreme Court, Prof. Ernest Uwazie, Director, Centre for African Peace and Conflict Resolution, California University, Sacramento, Prof. Cecil Carlton and Patricia Malberg, M.A. as trainers. She also undertook training as a member of the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (NCMG)’s Panel of Neutrals in July, 1999 with Eric Van Loon of JAMS-Endispute, Boston and Jide Olagunju of Corporate Mediators, Nigeria as trainers.

She attended many training programs before and after being admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the lastest of which were held at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in 2010 and titled ‘PIDA Course on International Commercial Arbitration: Study of a mock case at the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris as well as ‘PIDA Course on Negotiating, Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses –Different Cultural and Legal Approaches’

She is a member of several professional organizations including, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in which she is a Member of the National Executive Committee, Member, NBA Women’s Forum Council; Maritime Arbitrators of Nigeria; Arbitral Women (an international organisation made up of women involved in arbitration all over the world) and Member, Africa Development Bank, List of Mediators ;Member, NBA Arbitration Committee; Executive member, Arbitration and ADR Committee of Business Section of NBA till 2010.

Funmi has made several presentations on dispute resolution and has published several articles on dispute resolution and the latest being ‘Cultural nuances to mediating commercial disputes in Nigeria’ published in (August 2010) 76 Arbitration, Pgs 488-492 Journal of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).

She is an Accredited Mediator with U.K-based Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and undertook CEDR’S Advanced Training Course in 2006 and one of the Lead Trainers for the NCMG-CEDR Training Faculty. She has successfully mediated several commercial and family disputes and recently participated in the mediation of a commercial dispute in England.

Roberts is a member of the Steering Committee for the establishment of a Multi-Door Courthouse for Oyo State Judiciary to supplement the available resources for justice by providing enhanced, timely, cost effective and user friendly access to justice.

Apart from being a Mediator, Funmi Roberts is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of the United Kingdom, member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) as well as member of the Maritime Arbitrators of Nigeria. She belongs to several professional organizations such as Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) which she co founded and serves as the current Chairman of the Board. The Nigerian Bar Association (Member of the National Executive Council (NEC), Association of Cedr-accredited Mediators in Nigeria, International Bar Association, Business Recovery Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Federacion Internacional de Abogadas (FIDA; International Federation of Women Lawyers), Society for Corporate Governance, Institute of Directors, Nigeria etc. She has also completed a Master Class for International Arbitrators (by International Chamber of Commerce, Paris), a member of board of directors of FBN Mortgage Bank, Eco Bank, Liberia, Lagos Court of Arbitration and sits on board of several corporate organisations.

Roberts is happily married to Adebola Roberts, with 4 wonderful sons, 3 daughters-in-law and several grandchildren.

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