It only took Charles Osuji a few years to go from arriving in Calgary as a newly minted Nigerian lawyer to being named one of the Top 25 Influential Lawyers in Canada in 2020 by Canadian Lawyer.
In 2011, Charles came to Calgary from Nigeria where he had graduated in the top of his class and had just been called to the Nigerian bar in 2010. He arrived with the goal to become the best lawyer he could.
Now in 2020, Charles has received this “Top 25 Influential Lawyers in Canada” recognition from Canadian Lawyer in the category of “Young Influencers.” In that category, the award is granted to lawyers who have achieved a level of respect, the ability to influence public opinion to help shape Canadian laws, and to have social political influence and involvement.
“It is a testament to the continued recognition and acceptance of international talents in the legal industry in Canada,” says Osuji. He is the first internationally trained, Nigerian born lawyer to receive this national award.
His meteoric rise as a new Canadian professional was aided by the foundation he received from his elder brother, Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthony Osuji, who raised him. Osuji also received support from the rest of his family here in Canada, including his sponsor and brother, Dr. Joseph Osuji, a nursing professor at Mount Royal University, Calgary.
Osuji articled for James Smith in 2013, and because of his energy, knowledge of the law, enthusiasm, and business acumen, he was invited to become a partner in 2016. The firm was renamed Osuji & Smith Lawyers. A year later, and despite his young age, Charles became the managing partner and sole owner when he bought the firm from Smith.
“My clients are in very good hands with Charles,” says Smith. “I have always told him that in five years, he will be one of the top lawyers in Calgary.”
What sets Osuji & Smith apart from other Calgary legal firms and demonstrates Osuji’s influence is that the firm’s diverse staff includes lawyers educated and trained in Canada and abroad who can speak English, Igbo, Mandarin, Cantonese, Bengali, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, French, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.
Osuji is now leading one of the fastest-growing law firms in Calgary. At an age when most young lawyers are busy learning their craft, he is doing that plus providing mentoring and leadership of his staff of associate lawyers, legal assistants, and articling students. For several years, Osuji & Smith has been rated one of the three best employment and business law firms in Calgary. The firm’s areas of practice include employment, family, personal injury, corporate and commercial, civil litigation, wills & estates, immigration, and real estate law.
In addition to the Top 25 lawyer recognition, Osuji has also received, or been nominated for, several other awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year by Diversity Magazine, rated one of the Top 3 Employment & Business Lawyers in Calgary for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Immigrant of Distinction (Achievement under 35) and Canadian Bar Association’s Douglas Miller Rising Star Award.
For Osuji, the move from Nigeria to Canada was followed by his successful journey as a new immigrant in Calgary to a nationally recognized lawyer within Canada’s legal community.
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