New York City Bar President Greets African Legal Fellows

June 2020

The Vance Center African Legal Fellows had a virtual meeting with Sheila Boston, the newly-inaugurated president of the New York City Bar Association and its executive director, Bret Parker. Also attending were Inosi Nyatta, chair of the Vance Center Committee’s Africa Sub-Committee and Sullivan & Cromwell partner, Adaobi Egboka, Africa Program Manager of the Vance Center, and its executive director, Alex Papachristou.

Boston led a discussion of the Fellows’ experiences at their host law firms before and during the pandemic and their observations of life in New York City amidst the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.  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 Oladimeji Ojo (from Nigeria at Paul Weiss) offered professional and personal perspectives.

Boston, an Arnold & Porter litigation partner, who assumed the City Bar presidency last month, has long experience with the Vance Center’s African Legal Fellows Program. Over its 18 years, she has traveled twice to South Africa to participate in the selection process and served as a mentor to past Fellows.

The African Legal Fellows programs started in 2002 when Vance Center Committee emeritus member Evan Davis, Boston’s predecessor as City Bar president, traveled to South Africa to find ways to address the legacy of apartheid in the South African legal profession. The program, which more recently has expanded to include lawyers from Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, has brought fifty-nine African lawyers to spend a year as international associates in major New York City law firms and corporate legal departments.