The Workchop Conversation with Oluwatobi Ibiyemi, Tech Lawyer and Associate, Lawyerpp

Written by Jesulayomi Adetola

August 25, 2021

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

For this week, we have Oluwatobi Ibiyemi, a Nigerian Lawyer with in-depth experience in Legal Tech, Data Privacy Protection, Business Development, Product Management, Regulatory Compliance, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Legal Thinking and Legal Design. He is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators and possesses a Google Certification in Digital Skills. Oluwatobi is an Associate, Legal & Innovations at LAWYERPP LegalTech Limited and the Head of Operations at PhoneFlag Limited, and StartUP Life. He is currently an MBA candidate specialised in Advanced Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Automation at Nexford University, USA.

Tell us briefly about yourself, your journey into tech and law and what spurred that interest.
My interest in Tech bubbled up after the completion of my LL.B program in 2019. I discerned that I have
always been a sucker for getting things done seamlessly, and technology consistently provides this for me.
I have an older sibling who majors in Cybersecurity, and he mentored me on how to transition into the tech
space. I took an interest in the Python programming language.
My transition into the Tech space started off the back of a course – Computer Science for Lawyers – that I
took on edX, tutored by lecturers from Harvard during the total lockdown in 2020. A month before my
Call=to=Bar, I got a job in a Legal Tech Firm, where I had to wear many hats within a short period. The joy of
watching UI/UX designers express your thought process on Figma whilst developers implement these
designs and watching millions of users use the solution in real-time cemented my transition into the tech

As an Associate at Lawyerpp, what does your job entail?
I have been part of the Legal & Innovations Team at LAWYERPP LegalTech Limited since 2019. The
difference between working in a startup and a long-standing organisation is crystal clear. I joined
LAWYERPP LegalTech Limited in its early days, which has seen me take on several roles in the design,
development, and deployment of the company’s flagship mobile and web app solution called LAWYERPP.
The flagship solution affords Lawyers with the tools to run virtual law firms, amongst other functionalities.
The Panic Button feature allows your emergency contact(s) to track your movement in real-time via a map
should you ever be in an emergency.
The need for a subject matter expert at the intersection of Law and Tech to develop a product that both
Lawyers and an everyday person can use whilst operating within the ambits of the law formed the core of my job role . My responsibilities cut across Product Management, Business Development, and Legal
Advisory. I ensure the smooth transition of the ideas of the management into their implementation by the
tech team and onward transmission to the end-users. I would say the majority of what I do was learned on
the job and through personal development. It has not been a piece of cake, but it has been fun!

Combining your roles as an Associate with the other things you do, how do you stay productive and still not feel overwhelmed? What is your approach to problem-solving?
Transitioning to remote work was a game-changer for me. Working from home helped in the effective
organisation and management of my schedule. I concurrently run my MBA program and a course on data
protection. To remain productive, I carved out a dedicated workstation with a notepad detailing my tasks for
the day and a timeline assigned to each task. I always tick off each completed task to create a sense of
progress for myself. I endeavour to stick to these timelines, although I make them flexible enough
depending on what needs to get prioritised. I also make sure I take a recess at intervals whenever I feel a
mental block.
My approach to abstract problems has always been critical thinking. I believe there is always a smart and
less stressful way to do things. I usually approach a problem using the worst-case scenario. It allows me to
anticipate possible outcomes whilst proffering the solution to the primary problem.

What advice would you have given yourself at the start of your career?
Luck is only an opportunity taken by the most prepared person in the room. Education gets you to the door,
but connections often get you into the room. Go out more often – given that I’m an introvert – and
strategically place yourself to meet the right people. Up your value twice, and then put a tax on it when
negotiating your worth.

What was your biggest misconception about legal innovation before you got into the space?
After my call-to-bar and transition into the legal tech space, I ignorantly believed that Lawyers must learn
how to code. This was my excuse for learning just enough about the python programming language.
However, I soon realised that the legal tech space is wide enough to accommodate Lawyers without any
coding background to play vital roles in legal innovation. These roles include privacy managers, legal
solutions architects, and non-technical project managers, amongst others.
Of course, I wouldn’t discourage lawyers from coding. Be my guest if you have a flair for it. I can do a bit of
Object-Oriented Programming myself. However, you can function effectively in the legal tech space without
any coding knowledge.

Lawyers are more often than not resistant to change and risk-averse. How do you get them to see the value of a legal tech tool?
In retrospect, I had a conversation with a colleague whilst in Law School on the viability of law firms
performing their internal operations remotely and without the usage of papers. He believed it wasn’t
possible. Of course, the only way to convince him was to provide an example of a law firm operating fully
remotely, which unfortunately I couldn’t provide at the time.
Lawyers are factfinders and rarely base decisions on opinions. The best way to convince lawyers to accept
change is to make them see the value it brings to their practice. A few years back, lawyers would prefer to
go to the library to read law reports. However, there are numerous e-law reports that lawyers subscribe to today without much persuasion. So, I simply explain the value proposition of the product or change to the
practice of law by the lawyer so that he can adapt to such changes.

What would you never be caught doing on a weekend? How do you take a break after a long day at work?
“Never to be caught unfresh” lol. I enjoy playing video games on my weekends, especially Call of Duty. I
play with a brain-training app on my phone that also helps with my concentration level. Ultimately, my
weekends are for catching up on personal projects.

Funny question, someone gives you an elephant. You can’t sell it or give it away. What
do you do with the elephant?

Hmm, tricky question. At the risk of sounding too technical, I would not accept your elephant because I do
not have the knowledge nor technical know-how to tend to it. After all, the question does not force me to
accept the elephant but says I can’t give it away or sell it. It was never mine. The implication is that as a
manager, not every deal should be consented to.
However, to answer the question literally, I would hire a professional to take care of the elephant whilst it is
still in my possession.

Who would you like to answer these questions?
Endurance Agbor & Onyinye Ojukwu

Related Articles


Technology has become an essential part of our lives. It is weaved into almost every aspect of our human endeavours. The introduction of new technologies has birthed a new specialisation: a tech lawyer. Technology law deals with the intersection of business law,...

Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest news on legal technology in Africa.

Follow Us!

Unrivaled content on law, tech and the future of law on our social media handles.