2 Minutes with Jide Kupoluyi
Jide Kupoluyi brought with him many skills in his toolkit. When he arrived in Calgary in 2010 to join his family (who had settled in Canada a few years earlier), his years as a practicing lawyer in Nigeria enabled him to develop enhanced communication and organizational skills; experience in both law and banking. His time in Canada has added a few new skills to that toolkit – patience, resilience and the power of connecting with others in the greater Calgary legal community.
We recently sat down with Jide. Here is some of our wide-ranging conversation.
Jide in His Own Words
I was a lawyer back in Nigeria. I started my career as a State Counsel in the Ministry of Justice and later joined a private law firm. I subsequently took up an appointment as a Legal Counsel in a bank in their Legal Department for some years. By 2000, I became a banker (not just a lawyer for a bank), eventually assuming the role of a branch manager after a brief stint as a regional credit administrator.
While I enjoyed the business of banking I was a lawyer deep down and after 4 great years in the operations of the industry, I returned to law. By 2006, I had started my own law firm in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.
Overcoming Hurdles in Calgary
“The first major hurdle was securing a job. I was jobless for many months in spite of all my efforts. Though it was frustrating while the situation lasted, I persevered until I finally surmounted the obstacle.
To overcome the situation, I had to lower my expectations, attended networking events and did some volunteering.
The second major hurdle was securing an articling position in a law firm after passing my law degree accreditation examinations. Without scaling this hurdle and passing the bar examinations, it is not possible to be called to the bar and practice as a lawyer in Alberta. Though I got my Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation in April 2012, I did not secure an articling position until March 2014. I was finally called to the bar in Alberta in June 2015.
One of the strategies to overcome the articling hurdle was to do a lot of networking and door knocking.
Another strategy was to enrol in the CRIEC mentoring program.
Tell us about Mentoring
I joined CRIEC mentoring program. It was one of the most effective strategies I used to scale the hurdle created by paucity of articling positions in Calgary. I was blessed to have Noel Rea, QC as my mentor. He was unwavering in his commitment to my success. He arranged lunch and coffee meetings with some of his friends and associates in the legal profession – his network includes private practice, corporate legal departments and all points in-between. He has an incredible base of connections.
These many volunteers took a genuine interest in me – they helped review my resume and offered valuable suggestions to make me more competitive for an articling position. In addition, they listened to my questions and concerns and provided great insights into practice of law in Canada and Calgary, in particular. But more than anything else, all of these conversations lifted my spirits, encouraging me and boosting my confidence.
Noel remains a mentor and friend even today, long after our mentoring partnership formally ended.
The Next Step in your Career Path
I was a successful sole practitioner in Nigeria before immigrating to Canada. So I had experience in this regard and was ready to take the risk here again.
Though it’s been challenging as a solo practitioner under the current economic recession in Calgary, I intend to develop more expertise in my core practice areas of real estate, corporate/commercial, immigration and wills and estates and expand my client base.
JK Law Office
My website is: www.jklawoffice.ca. I am currently the only lawyer in the law firm. I intend to have one or two more associates in the near future as the practice expands.