Elizabeth Idigbe is one of the leading female lawyers in Nigeria. She serves as the Managing Partner and Partner in Charge of the Energy & Power, Real Estate, Trust & Wealth Management, and Company Secretarial Practice Groups at Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors.
With over 33 years of experience in corporate and private sectors, she has built a reputation in the legal industry in areas such as oil and gas, arbitration, debt factoring and restructuring, real estate & project finance, foreign direct investment, and general corporate practice. This earned her the best female Managing Partner in Africa award from Law Digest Africa.
She started building her career milestones in the legal sector before transiting into banking. She gradually worked her way to the top of the corporate ladder and became the company’s secretary. From there, she moved to the Oil & Gas sector and served as the General Manager in charge of Human Resources, Corporate Services, and Company Secretarial. She later left the role and returned to the firm.
Speaking about her experience after returning to legal space under the umbrella of Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, a multidimensional law firm with a diversified portfolio and client base, she said, “Each day is very different as I am faced with new challenges and clients both locally and internationally.
To continue to meet up with these demands, I have been compelled to update my knowledge base constantly. Over the years, I have developed a special interest and expertise in the following areas of practice; oil and gas, capital market, company secretariat, real estate, estate planning and probate, and arbitration.”
In keeping to her words, it is clear that Elizabeth Idigbe is well-read in her field. In 1986, she became a certified lawyer from the University of Benin, Edo State (LL.B (Hons). She was called to the Nigerian Law School and earned her Barrister at Law (B.L.) in 1987.
Idigbe attended the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos and obtained a Master of Laws (LL.M) in 1989. She became certified in advertising by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria in 2002.
Two years later, she received a Diploma in Advertising from the same body. As an arbitration lawyer, in 2015, she received a Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration and a Diploma in International Arbitration in 2016 from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. She doubles as a fellow of the institution.
Idigbe is also a member of the International Bar Association, the International Trademark Association (INTA), the Business Recovery & Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria (BRIPAN), Women in Management & Business, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).
Roles filled on her career path
Elizabeth Idigbe served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration, UK (Nigeria Branch), from 2017 to 2019. She once occupied the General Manager HR/Corporate Services/Company Secretariat seat of Forte Oil Plc, previously known as African Petroleum Plc.
Idigbe was also the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser for the extinct Ivory Merchant Bank Limited and an Associate of Chike Chigbue & Co.
She, however, is not all work and no play. Whenever she is not working, she uses her time to workout and get involved in charity and community development work. Apart from her work in charitable causes, she also does it through the Punuka Foundation.