3 March 2016
Desmond Ogba, Managing Counsel, graduated with First Class Honours from the Nigerian Law School, and holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Ebonyi State University.
At Templars, he has extensive experience advising in the areas of project finance, structured finance, capital markets and corporate finance.
Any standout childhood memories?
Getting de-boarded for an entire term for writing a letter to the school authorities when I was 14, complaining about certain issues involving the school principal and some senior members of staff. Interestingly, I ran into the principal – now retired – a few years ago. He apologized to me and told me everything I wrote in the letter was true.
Can you tell me why you chose law and how that led you to your career at Templars?
Living close to the High Courts as a child and seeing well-dressed lawyers on a daily basis sparked my initial interest. I was also attracted to the prestige, exposure and great knowledge that goes hand-in-hand with the profession. I came to Templars for a greater challenge and to fulfill my desire to garner more knowledge and experience in law.
In your opinion, what makes Templars a unique place to work?
The collaborative environment, high quality lawyers, attention to detail, huge knowledge base, and the complex nature of our transactions.
What would you say are the challenges at Templars?
Besides the transactional challenges that are part and parcel of the job description, I personally haven’t experienced any challenges.
What do you feel most proud of about your work?
The quality of work we do as a team, and the growing stellar reputation amongst peer firms, clients and the wider market.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you most likely have aspired to?
A teacher – due to the satisfaction and fulfilment that comes from training people and making a positive impact. Ultimately, I wanted to spend my career impacting and influencing the lives of people through my work.
Let’s talk a little bit about your life outside work. What are your hobbies/how do you “switch off” once you’ve left the office?
Listening to music (mainly traditional and reggae), learning foreign languages and meeting new people.
What are your strongest personal qualities/most embarrassing ones?
I’m a good listener, tolerant, thorough and enthusiastic, but I can be overbearing.
What would one be surprised to know about you?
The first impression people have of me is that I am an unsociable, overly serious and stern person. But when they spend some time with me, they see that I am the direct opposite of who they thought I was.
If you had the opportunity to meet one person you haven’t met who would it be, why and what would you talk about?
Warren Buffet – for his appetite for investment risks, and commitment to philanthropism. Being extremely investment risk averse, I’d love to pick his brain on how to risk all that you have and still remain comfortable.
Future ambitions/greatest fears?
The future is today. I hate to think about a tomorrow that I have little or no control over, so I prefer to put myself in a position where the people with whom I interact with on a daily basis can say that I have positively affected them.
My greatest fear is that the quality of lawyers seems to be suffering with the passing of every generation, and young lawyers like myself aren’t living up to the expectations of their teachers. I have deep concerns about what will become of our envied profession in the next twenty years if the trend remains the same.