Vance Center African Legal Fellows Speak at Paul Weiss Panel

February 2020

(From left: Edwin S. Maynard, Michael Momoh, Cindy Oraro, Mashudu Nonkwelu and Oladimeji Ojo during the panel discussion | Photo Credit: Alex Papachristou) 

Paul Weiss hosted a lunchtime presentation by the Vance Center’s African Legal Fellows, including its own Oladimeji Ojo from Nigeria. The well-attended event, moderated by Vance Center Committee Executive Chair Ted Maynard, Of Counsel at Paul Weiss, was the first African Legal Fellows panel event for the current year of the program.

African Legal Fellow Mashudu Nonkwelo (from South Africa at Weil) and Power Africa Legal Fellows Michael Momoh (from Nigeria at Baker & McKenzie), Cindy Oraro (from Kenya at Shearman & Sterling) and Ojo described their work at their home law firms and how it differs from their current experiences in New York. They also spoke about the legal landscape and business opportunities for investment in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

In introducing the Vance Center, Ted Maynard shared his experience seeking to expand its work in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Ghana. The Vance Center recently has launched its Pro Bono Promotion and Women in the Profession programs in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The Vance Center’s African Legal Fellows program since 2002 has brought fifty-nine South African, Nigerian, and Kenyan lawyers to work as international associates at major law firms and corporate legal departments in New York where they gain experience, contacts, and skills.  Tomilayo Fadoju from Nigeria will soon join the program as a Power Africa Legal Fellow at King  & Spalding.

The Power Africa Legal Fellow program contributes to Power Africa’s goal of strengthening human capacity to support U.S. investment in the African energy sector through public-private partnerships. Power Africa, a U.S. Government initiative, coordinated by USAID and comprised of about 160 public and private sector partners that have committed $54 billion to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, supports the program in its effort to strengthen the overall enabling environment of the African energy sector.