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“As an arbitration enthusiast, Nathan’s structured mentoring was exactly what I needed. From the get-go, we outlined our respective expectations from the programme and Nathan superseded all set goals. During the course of the mentoring, I was presented with a Valuation Contract dispute and his insights were instrumental to my stellar delivery on that instruction. Aside the arbitration training, Nathan was kind enough to teach soft lawyering skills including excellent networking and increased visibility within the arbitration space. Nathan was such a hands-on mentor, from scheduling meetings mid-way into business trips, to providing direction and helping set milestones in my career. I couldn't have wished for more from a mentor and the AYA Mentoring Programme has impacted my career through this truly beneficial relationship.” Mentor: Nathan Searle (Partner, Hogan Lovells, London office)

Elizabeth Udosen

Mentee: Elizabeth Udosen
“Working as an Advisor, Rule of law in an international government organisation, which aims to support the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria, saw me grappling with the applicability of ADR in the Nigerian Criminal Justice System. My mentor - Mr. John Fellas, Partner with Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, New York, gave an interesting idea on how arbitrators can be involved in the plea bargaining process. He suggested the use of retired judges (acting as neutral arbiters for the purpose of the plea bargaining procedure) who will have a great deal of credibility in offering an assessment of what may happen if no plea bargain is reached or in comparing a potential plea deal with the likely outcome at trial. This interesting perspective on such a sensitive topic was among the many benefits that the AYA mentorship programme gave to me. I am happy to have met Mr. Fellas and the knowledge I gained in the programme has positively impacted my job in no small measure.” Mentee: Kate Okoh Mentor: John Fellas (Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, New York)

Kate Okoh

Mentee: Kate Okoh
“After being paired with Michael Polkinghorne as a mentee, I was happy to find that we have common grounds. Michael’s arbitration practice involves dispute in the areas of energy, project finance, and infrastructure. He also had a transactional background in energy and infrastructure development fields. Having cut my legal teeth in these areas at Olaniwun Ajayi LP in the early years of my career as a transactional lawyer, the initial conversation with Michael was as smooth as a waveless sea. He made me feel at home right from the start. We communicated via emails and on the phone. He always makes sure he responds to my emails. His was an open and direct access. I could call his phone anytime. He made that clear from the beginning also, and I thought that was awesome. Out of his volition, Michael introduced me to Ank Santens, White & Case LLP's dispute partner in New York, through whom I got connected with Paul Friedland, and met Damien Nyer. Damien was just as unassuming as Michael. Through the AYA mentorship program, I have not only benefitted and learnt from one of the doyens of global arbitration, I have gained a friend. Thank you, Michael.” Mentor: Michael Polkinghorne (Partner, White & Case, Paris)

Femi Gbede

Femi Gbede
“I would recommend the AYA mentoring programme to anyone who is interested in gaining practical and useful insight in navigating the increasingly complex arbitral world from an experienced and accomplished arbitrator. Despite the different time zones and the conflicting schedules, my mentor has always found the time to discuss my expectations and recommend a range of possibilities that are available to me as a young professional seeking expertise and recognition in the arbitration field.” Mentee: Anita Omonuwa Ogbalu, MCIArb Mentor: Kamal Shah (Partner, Stephenson Harwood, London)

Anita Omonuwa Ogbalu, MCIArb

Anita Omonuwa Ogbalu, MCIArb
“The AYA mentoring programme has created a fantastic platform to explore more career opportunities available to young African lawyers interested in commercial arbitration. I have been introduced to some domestic and regional arbitration institutions, which may assist in providing the needed professional support to fully explore my potentials. My mentor has been immensely supportive in providing constructive guidance on the right steps to follow towards achieving my professional aspirations. Generally, my experience so far has been thought provoking, insightful and remarkable.” Mentee: Joy Oti Mentor: Rashida Abdulai (CEO, Strand Sahara, London)

Joy Oti

Joy Oti