Charles Osuji is a Nigerian-trained lawyer based in Canada and owns one of the largest law firms in North America. He moved to Canada after he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2010 and was re-licensed to practice in Alberta, Canada, in 2014.
Osuji recently bought over the law firm where he interned as a young lawyer and became a managing partner of the firm, Osuji and Smith Lawyers, Canada. He bought the property some three years after he was called to the bar in Canada, according to the Punch.
According to Osuji, his former principal indicated to him that he was looking to sell his stake in the “practice and retire.” He, then, decided to make an offer his former principal could not refuse.
“Though still young in age and in practice, I had worked seven days a week, year after year, and had made a lot of connections and got good at practice. Sometimes, what you put in is what you get. I had put in a lot of work,” he told Punch.
“Moreover, I was already bringing the most money and number of clients to the firm and effectively running and managing the practice even as an associate. So, it was not really much of a big deal for both of us.”
Osuji noted that it took him two and a half years to acquire the property. According to him, he achieved this feat through hard work and being focused on his craft.
“I also surround myself with experienced mentors. Most importantly, being confident in my abilities and believing that there are really no limits. Once you begin to believe you can fly, you don’t only fly, you soar,” he said.
Osuji took over the firm when he had little management or business ownership experience. According to him, he initially turned down the offer to buy over the law firm when his principal told him about it because he was afraid of failing.
“I was still relatively new to the country and I was not sure how far I could go due to my color and heritage. However, after speaking to a few mentors, I decided to take the jump; a decision I do not regret,” he said.
Five years down the line, the Nigerian business owner said the experience has been humbling and amazing. He has expanded the capacity of his firm from seven employees to more than 24 employees and counting.
He has also mentored and assisted more than 25 lawyers and legal assistants to obtain their designations through the firm. What’s more, he has given a lot of internationally-trained lawyers an opportunity to begin their careers in Canada.
“We are still expanding, and there is still room for more expansion. We are just getting started. Has it always been rosy? I wouldn’t say so, but it has been rewarding,” he said.
Besides expanding the staff capacity, he has also opened a second location, which is four times bigger than the first one. His firm is the biggest Black-owned law firm in the Province of Alberta and one of the largest in Canada.
He was also recently named one of the best 50 lawyers who are less than 40 years old and one of the top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada as voted by fellow lawyers across Canada. Also, he was on the 2020 Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada list and won a 2020 Immigrant of Distinction Award from Immigrant Services Calgary.
Osuji was born in Nigeria’s Imo state and is the seventh child of his parents. He graduated top of his class back at Imo State University between 2004 and 2009.