The Law Firm of Paul Usoro & Co (PUC) has announced the commencement of the second edition of the Paul Usoro (Pro-Bono) Challenge themed, ‘My Pro Bono Story’.
The Challenge, which kicked off on Friday February 9th 2018 is an initiative of Paul Usoro, SAN.
The maiden edition, won by Abasiodiong Ekpeyong, was determined by an external evaluation committee made up of great legal minds such as Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN and Essien Udom.
According to Munirudeen Liadi, Head of Chambers at PUC “The decision was made to give a chance to more Lawyers between 1-15 years at the Bar to showcase and inspire colleagues with their touching Pro Bono cases, as against the 1-10 criteria at the last edition.”
The initiative is aimed at rewarding the selfless and sacrificial efforts of lawyers who go the extra mile to defend the defenseless, ultimately restoring confidence in and respect to the rule of Law in Nigeria
This second edition will focus on humanitarian issues, with special attention to Law enforcement agents’ brutality, Gender related issues, and Child abuse. The 6 most compelling cases will be rewarded with N100,000 each.
Each participant is expected to create a short video (Max 2 Minutes) which could be shared via Instagram, Facebook or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). All video entries via Instagram & Facebook are required to use the hash-tag #PAULUSOROCHALLENGE for the videos to be discovered.
The organisers also disclosed that there will be extra points for Law enforcement agents’ brutality, gender related cases, child abuse and humanitarian matters.
Also speaking about the Challenge, another member of the organising team said, “All entries must meet the above listed requirements before they are considered valid. Acceptance of entries will end on the 9th of March, 2018, after which a panel of external judges will decide the winners which will be announced vide the official Paul Usoro Instagram handle in April, 2018.
As with the last edition, past and present PUC lawyers are still not allowed to take part in the PU Challenge. This time, participants in the maiden edition of PU Challenge are not also allowed to participate.
Lawyers to participate include, Members of the Nigerian Bar, of 1-15 years’ experience, who have paid their practicing fees and entries will be selected on a zonal basis (6 geographical zones). There will be 1 winner per zone; for outstanding Pro- Bono cases handled.
In the last edition, lawyers between year 1 to 10 at the Bar were invited to submit entries via a short video to be posted on Instagram (max of 2 minutes) with the hash-tag #PAULUSOROCHALLENGE providing information about the pro-bono matter personally handled by them. Participants were required to submit supporting documents to a designated email address. The deadline for receiving entries for the Challenge was Friday, 10 November 2017.
A total of 9 entries were received from lawyers between 1 to 5 years at the Bar practicing in Benue, Ebonyi, Kwara, Lagos, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Delta States. 4 geopolitical zones – North Central, South West, South South and South Eastern regions participated.
Result of the Evaluation: Only one entry satisfied all the criteria for the Challenge. A good number of entries received did not meet the critical qualification criteria that the case must be at trial stage. Some participants did not provide sufficient documentary evidence in support of their entries. Other entries showed the applicants’ role in the matters was either very minimal, or merely a pro bono case handled by the law Firm but not the participant. Consequently, 8 entries were adjudged not compelling enough to win the Challenge.
The Winner, Abasiodiong Ekpenyong received a prize of N100, 000. 00. Usoro, however directed that all the entrants be encouraged with consolation prizes of N50,000.00 each for efforts. Ogechukwu Mary Ulasi; Emmanuel Nnamdi Offiah; Iniobong Sunday Udoh; Adam Muhammed Ndakudu, Dayo Majeed, Kelvin Lorzenda, Yusuf Olarewaju Afeez & Ogonnaya Ukachukwu will receive their prizes accordingly.