McDermott Will & Emery, America’s top Law firm, on July 20, announced ‘addition’ of two of Nigeria’s brightest lawyers in the United States, Messrs Emeka Charles Chinwuba and Nexus Uzoma Sea, both from Anambra State, as partners.
There is a third Nigerian, Mr Ikechukwu Chidi, who, though not listed in the McDermott Will and Emery press release of Tuesday, has also been a Partner since January 1, 2019.
Ike Chidi, as the company referred to him, was one of the 28 lawyers which the firm, on November 29, 2018, promoted to its 2019 partnership class, effective January 1, 2019.
Chidi won the Legal 500 US award in 2021.
He focuses on commercial lending and financial services matters and has represented private equity firms as well as private, public and lending institutions in structuring, documenting and negotiating transactions on venture capital investments among others.
Information gleaned from McDermott Will & Emery’s website indicate that Mr Chidi has managed transactions exceeding $2.359 billion.
The transactions include representing investors and private equity funds in different ways, including acquisition financing and disbursement of term loans and other forms of credit.
McDermott Will & Emery in a statement posted on its website said Chidi and his 27 others had a “sustained commitment to excellence in all areas of their practices and are leaders both within the firm and across their respective industries.
While Chinwuba, according to the top American law firm, will function in the firm’s Transactions Practice Group, Uzoma will work in its Litigation Practice Group based in New York.
McDermott Will & Emery has over 1200 lawyers and partners with leaders around the world to “fuel missions, knock down barriers and shape markets.”
The three Nigerian professionals assist with strategic direction in project finance and complex litigation.
Their services are tailored to Fortune 500 multinationals and other organisations focusing on Africa.
, “In the spirit of continued innovation and truly comprehensive client service, we’re thrilled to add Emeka and Nexus to our Transactions and Litigation teams,” McDermott’s Head of Strategy, Michael Poulos, said in a July 20 statement posted on the company’s website.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, clients face increased legal hurdles spanning different areas of law, he said.
“Having collaborated for years, Emeka and Nexus are a tried and true team, providing streamlined legal counsels, addressing cross-practice client needs.”
New York-based Chinwuba speaks Igbo and Yoruba fluently. He joined the law firm from Baker McKenzie, while Sea joins from Orrick. Both, according to the company, will help to “tackle myriad legal issues across corporate and litigation sphere.”
Chinwuba had recieved a Congressional Recognition as one of “30 Black Stars” at the Face2Face Africa Conference and Awards.
Chinwuba advised Masdar as joint venture paticipant in developing and financing the GBP 2.3 billion 630 megawatt London Array offshore wind farm project in the UK.
He also offered advisory services to lead arrangers, US development agencies and others on investment deals worth $3.370 billion.
Sea, an experienced litigator and trial lawyer who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies, focuses his practice on complex litigation and dispute resolution matters. He represents clients in complex disputes in US’ state and federal courts and has experience in the areas of product liability defense and mass tort litigation.
Sea also focuses on impact of Artificial Intelligence on existing product liability regimes, an emerging area of law.
He successfully defeated a trade secret matter seeking damages of at least $1 billion, on behalf of an Africa’s prominent business leader and led the defense of a multinational Fortune 500 pharmaceutical against failure-to-warn and product defect claims concerning its top-selling over-the-counter drug, resulting in a favorable settlement.
The Nigerian also defended international Fortune 500 bank and premises owner in over 340 toxic tort personal injury suits arising from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, among others.
Sea said he and Chinwuba were excited to join the McDermott Will & Emery team.
Both lawyers previously served as presidents of the Nigerian Lawyers Association in the US as founding members of “1844,” an association of African-American lawyers founded in 2014 as a means to addressing the challenges of industry representation and collaboration, business development and mentorship.
The name 1844 symbolizes the year the first African-American, Macon Bolling Allen, was admitted to practise law in the United States.
I844 also benefits middle and high school students through its collaboration with Legal Outreach.
“In addition to superior technical knowledge in their respective practices, Emeka and Uzoma are pioneers in the fight to knock down unfair barriers for people of colour in the legal industry,” Miami-based Litigation Partner and Global Chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Tony Upshaw, said on its website.
“The core principles of 1844 align with our commitment to enhancing diverse talent in law and leadership, which will be accelerated by these outstanding lawyers. We’re thrilled they’ve chosen McDermott to continue this important work,” he said.