Dailyfamily.ng had an exclusive interview with Isioma Idigbe, an Entertainment Lawyer; she spoke about her choice of Media and Entertainment Law as a career.
She explained that starting something new must be to solve problems and money can come afterwards.
Here is the full interview:
Can we meet you?
My name is Isioma Idigbe, Head of Media and Entertainment at Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors.
Tell us about your career, why did you choose to study Law?
Law chose me, I actually didn’t want to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a politician. I had intended to be a politician and when I started to think about how I was going to make a living, I was not willing to be corrupt, it didn’t seem like there was much of a living that I could make from being a politician so the next best thing for me was to be a lawyer because it gave me the opportunity to fight for people’s rights on behalf of clients.
You chose Law, so, how did you get into Media and Entertainment?
I kind of feel again like Media and Entertainment chose me. My fiancé now then boyfriend, when I met him, he was a photographer. I have always being a creative person anyways but unfortunately I am not overly talented so I am one of those people that will be averagely okay but won’t really be a star and I kind of knew that but when I met my fiancé, he was extremely very talented-I mean he had won awards in photography and he was like this is what I want to do although he had a degree in Economics.
So I said okay, this is someone I really cared about and I saw the potentials. In trying to understand how he could earn a good living from his chosen passion that was what started my interest in Media and Entertainment Law.
Have you been admitted in school then?
I was in school, I was in the University and I was doing my research. I was studying Law at this point. I was in the UK (United Kingdom), when I came back to Nigeria, I was in Law school and at this point he had already been back in Nigeria for let’s say a year and the half and he had made all these friends in the creative industry and we would go out and hang out with them, have dinner and all of that. They will talk about all the problems they were having and you would realize that all these problems were legal issues.
So, we would have a discussion and I will go and do some research and see how they are resolving similar issues in another jurisdiction. When I finished Law School in Nigeria, I went back to school to study Entertainment Law and when I came back I had this pool of clients and really, it comes back to the real reason why I decided to do Law, it’s about solving people’s problems, it’s about helping people. So, it started by helping my fiancé’s friends and then you build a reputation and now you are earning a decent living from it.
When you started, was it that popular?
It wasn’t really that popular when I started, it’s averagely a new area in Nigeria but it is not new in general, it is established elsewhere. I remember when I told my parents I wanted to do Entertainment Law, first of all they were happy that I was even going forward to practice because I had just decided that I was going to do Law to have this skill that I was going to do something else, this wasn’t really what I was passionate about but when I found this area of Law I became passionate, when I told them, they were very happy that I had found something and that I was going to be a lawyer just like they are, they encouraged it, of course, they paid for me to go back to school and I work in a family kind of firm and they gave the space to do what I needed to do, I was practicing, going for conferences, learning and continued to engage.
So, yes it is new, there are a lot more people in this practice area now than when I started and I think that is a good thing because we are having a lot more competence in the space and ultimately, the industry derives that benefit.
Secondly, it is increasing the value of business that we are doing because when you are having competent lawyers in the industry, the quality in general blossom because Law is at the core of everything, I am talking about how business is conducted in the country, we are seeing an improvement and people are beginning to see the value of having Media and Entertainment Lawyers. I think it’s all good; it’s a rapidly growing practice area.
How long have you been in a relationship with your fiancé?
Five years this year.
What are the qualities you saw in him that kept you going for five years?
He has a lot of integrity and he wanted to do an honest work to earn an honest living which is the same values that I grew up with about doing honest work and earning honest living and I saw that he was talented. Those were the things that attracted me; we just have very similar backgrounds and values, we just kind of gel. It doesn’t mean that everything is always perfect all the time but in terms an average is ours, our value system is pretty much the same and he is just really a good guy.
What is your perception about long distance relationships?
Well, obviously, I was in a long distance relationship for two years. To me, I don’t really see why people have so much issues being that we have all these technology now, back then when we started going out it was just blackberry and then we had skype. I remember we use to skype till we fall asleep. So, you have so many ways that you can communicate and I feel like our communication was better then than it is now because now that we see each other every day; we take it for granted but then when we had all that distance between us, we had to communicate.
I think it helps you develop the core of the relationship because I think when you are around each other, physical things, everything you get distracted but when you have distance you have to really like each other and really love each other and get to the core of what keeps you guys together. So, I think it makes relationship stronger if you work on it.
How do you find time to relax?
That is one of the things I am working on, how to relax, I don’t know how to relax. I mean when I was in school, I used to do salsa dancing and exercise but Lagos traffic and everything, so, I will say it is a work in progress, I’m still learning how to relax but I do like watching movies, I like going to the gym-I just don’t have time to go to the gym as much as I would like, I love cooking and I don’t get cooking as much as I would like. Those are the things I try to do to relax but now I’m a work in progress to actually do them.
What has been your challenges working with Artistes in Nigeria?
Them understanding how things should be done and the value that lawyers bring to the table but again like I said that is changing. Sometimes, it is not just the artiste, it is just the environment. You know we are already living in a very tough environment and when you choose to do something niche in that environment is even tougher.
Sometimes the combination of artistes not really understanding the transactions they are about to engage in and all of that and just generally them being put in an environment that is difficult and they have to make difficult decisions, I think overtime you get used to it and you understand their rhythm and curves and you start to learn how to work around it to make sure you are getting the right result from them to make sure you get the right result from them in a particular situation you are dealing with.
What is your advice to those who want to step into something new in Nigeria?
You have to be passionate, you have to be competent. There is something my Dad has always told me and it’s still amazing because now as an adult it has now become my matrix, knowledge, it’s always about knowledge, you can never stop learning.
Every opportunity I get to learn something, I take note of it, you are constantly learning and anybody can teach you and you need to have an open mind, if you want to do something new, there are going to be challenges all kinds of challenges, you have to be ready to face those challenges and with God and a good support system around you and with self-belief, you can do anything that you want to do. Of course, I’ve had certain advantages but also there are a lot of people that had the same advantages that I had but they didn’t do anything with it so, you have to take advantage of everything around you and use it for good.
I think one thing that people always misses is that it is not always about money. When I went into this industry, it wasn’t about money, it started from love and that love created a new passion to solve problems. Sometimes, you step into something new to solve problems and money will come after, you need to understand that if money is the end goal it might not always work out.