Dr Babalakin attended the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he obtained an LLB (Hons) in 1981. He then proceeded to the University of Cambridge, where he obtained an LLM in 1983 and a PhD in 1986, and was a Commonwealth scholar (1984-1986). He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1982.
Dr Babalakin is the senior partner of the firm of Babalakin and Co, which is one of the leading law firms in Nigeria with over 70 lawyers in the Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt offices.He was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2002.
Dr Babalakin is an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and was the chairman of both the committee on construction and real estate under the section on business law, and the committee on government practice under the section on legal practice. In 2005 he was appointed by the president of Nigeria as chairman of the constitutional drafting sub-committee of the National Political Reforms Conference, and as vice chair of the committee on the review of the Evidence Act CAP 112 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990. Dr Babalakin was the pro-chancellor of the University of Maiduguri and chair of the Committee of the Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria (2009-2013). He is the current pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos.
He is the chair of Bi-Courtney Highways Limited, an infrastructure development company that initiated the first toll road in Nigeria.
Dr Babalakin was honorary adviser to the government of the president, Alhaji Umar Musa Yar Adua.
Dr Babalakin has considerable experience in litigation, arbitration, real estate law and project finance. He has acted in high-profile commercial arbitration proceedings and civil litigation disputes arising from various sectors of the Nigerian economy. He has conducted trials and appeals in all Nigerian courts, in matters of significant constitutional and national importance, and equally in commercial transactions that cut across the entire gamut of Nigeria’s economy: construction, real estate, oil and gas, telecoms, maritime, aviation, banking and financing.
Dr Babalakin has worked with federal and state governments in conceptualising transactions to support the development of infrastructure and investment in the country. He led the team of legal consultants to a state government for the building of an international airport in Nigeria, a multimillion-dollar project.
Dr Babalakin led the team of lawyers who represented the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in a US$100 million claim in arbitral proceedings for the determination of the corporation’s contractual rights and obligations. Dr Babalakin also led the team of lawyers in a landmark election petition case which resulted in the appointment of one of Nigeria’s senate presidents. He is also acting as lead counsel in arbitral proceedings on behalf of a state-owned oil company, in a billion-dollar claim.