3 Years After Internship, Nigerian Immigrant Buys Law Firm And Ranks Among Top Lawyers In Canada

Charles Osuji, a Nigerian lawyer based in Canada, managed to become a legal luminary in a very short time and against all odds.

After studying law, he was called to the Nigerian bar in 2010. He emigrated to Canada a year later and joined the Smith law firm in 2014.

In 2017, less than three years after joining Smith Law Firm, Osuji became the sole owner of the same law firm.

He didn’t just buy a small law firm, he took control of it and guided it on a steady upward trajectory.

Today, Osuji has earned dozens of accolades in Canada, and his company has received a handful as well.

“I WANTED TO BE A DRUMMER”

Charles Osuji

Osuji’s recent interview with The PUNCH revealed a bit of his early years. He grew up with his older brother, a Catholic priest, and dreamed of becoming a drummer.

“I wanted to be a drummer, but my dad didn’t seem impressed when I told him. Over time, my interest changed and I ended up studying law,” Osuji explained.

“I was raised by my older brother, Reverend Father Anthony Osuji. He taught me to focus and be disciplined. From the age of seven, I had two options: to read or to sleep.

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Osuji’s early grooming prepared him for the challenges of scholarship, and in 2009 he graduated at the top of the law class from Imo State University.

IMMIGRATE TO CANADA

Dr. Joseph Osuji, his brother who was a professor of nursing at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, sponsored his move to Canada and supported him during his early years in the country.

Osuji held several jobs and moved from firm to firm before he got the chance to work at the law firm he eventually bought.

“I hadn’t anticipated any significant difficulties in getting my foot in the door,” he said. “However, I soon realized that I had no network here and lacked the benefit of the connections I had built back home in Nigeria. understood my background and my challenges, who owned their law firm or who was at the table where lawyer hiring decisions were made.

“I was doing a lot of survival jobs. I worked in factories and did all kinds of manual labor to survive. I worked three jobs at the same time and barely had the leisure to sleep more than three nights a week. It was a truly terrible experience.

MEETING JAMES SMITH

Osuji and James Smith, former owner of the Smith law firm, told the Calgary Area Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) how they met and created a partnership.

In the 2018 interview, Osuji said he respected Smith for his humility, and Smith said he felt confident entrusting his business to the Nigerian. Smith told CRIEC he found Osuji to be deeply competent and friendly during his 2013 interview.

James Smith and Osuji

“As the interview went on, I realized no matter what, I wanted Charles,” Smith said.

“I’ve spoken to other lawyers of my ilk and age who haven’t found anyone to take over their practice and who know their clients will be in good hands.

“My clients are in very good hands with Charles. I always told him that in five years he would be one of the best lawyers in Calgary.

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OSUJI AND SMITH

Smith handed over his practice to Osuji after his retirement. Osuji then purchased the law firm in August 2017 and became the managing partner of the law firm Osuji & Smith.

“We went from seven employees when I bought the company to over 24 employees. We also secured a second location – one of the finest modern, free-standing buildings in the city, which we proudly call our own. In those five years, I have mentored and assisted over 25 attorneys and paralegals to obtain their designation through the firm,” Osuji said in his latest interview.

“I have also given many foreign-trained lawyers the opportunity to start their careers in Canada. We are still expanding and there is still room for more expansion. we have just started. Has it always been pink? I wouldn’t say that, but it was rewarding.

“Our new office space is four times the size of my first location and is located minutes from downtown Calgary. It is brand new and was recently completed a few weeks ago. We moved in early September 2022. With this second location and the size of my firm, we have become the largest black-owned law firm in the province of Alberta and one of the largest in Canada. I built this space because the original location could no longer accommodate our growth, and I needed to create more space for the Foot in the Door program.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

Screenshot of the homepage of Osuji & Smith’s website

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The Osuji & Smith website has a long list of awards and accolades after Osuji’s short introduction.

Osuji’s individual awards include LEXPERT Rising Star recognition for Canada’s Top Lawyers Under 40, Top 25 Influential Lawyers in Canada (2020), and 2022 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.

Osuji & Smith law firm recently won the 2022 Top Choice of Business Law Services award in Calgary, the 2022 Best Business in Canada award from the Canadian Business Review Board, the 2022 Best Employment Lawyers in Calgary award, the 2022 award Best Real Estate Lawyers in Calgary, the 2022 Best Family Lawyers in Calgary award and 2022 Best Divorce Lawyers in Calgary.

Osuji & Smith is a full service law firm. The firm handles all aspects of litigation except criminal law.

Charles Osuji knows his meteoric rise is fantastic, but thinks he’s worked hard and prepared for it.

He wants young professionals to “keep pushing and preparing. When the dots connect, only those who are prepared will maintain their success.

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