Donate
Our Programs

African Legal Fellows

The Vance Center seeks to promote an ethically active legal profession, and our African Legal Fellows Program has been a centerpiece of this mission. Launched soon after the advent of democracy in South Africa, it aimed to overcome the legacy of apartheid through a more racially-inclusive legal profession and to spread the spirit and practice of pro bono legal service. The program has invited South African lawyers from historically-disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to spend a year working in leading New York law firms or corporate legal departments, where they receive mentoring, professional development, and institutional engagement in pro bono practice. As the legal profession and economies of Africa continue to develop, the Vance Center since 2017 has expanded the reach of the program to Nigeria and Kenya.

More than 45 Fellows from South Africa since 2002 have participated and then returned to excel in their careers and share their experience among colleagues, law students and others.  The host firms and corporate legal departments also benefitted from the contributions of the Fellows and the networks that they subsequently provided. These include Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Credit Suisse; Davis Polk & Wardwell; Goldman Sachs; JP Morgan Chase; Kirkland & Ellis; Mayer Brown; Merrill Lynch; Morgan Stanley; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; O’Melveny & Myers; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Shearman & Sterling; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom; Sullivan & Cromwell; and Weil, Gotshal, & Manges.

The program continues to explore expansion to other countries in the continent.

                                 

Power Africa Legal Fellows Program

The Vance Center in August 2018, received an award from Power Africa to support the Power Africa Legal Fellows Program, based on the African Legal Fellows Program.  Power Africa is a U.S. Government initiative, coordinated by USAID, comprised of about 160 public and private partners that have committed $54 billion to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The new program brings highly-qualified African energy lawyers to U.S. law firms for one year to develop world-class skills and experience in energy transactions to be transferred back to the Fellows’ home law firms, colleagues, and government agencies. Current Power Africa Fellows have joined Orrick and Sullivan & Cromwell in fall 2018. The program plans to expand to Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Senegal in coming years.

To learn more about the program click here.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined it possible to be the executive legal and security director of a global company at 36! I am female, African and in commercial legal practice – everything that ought to count against me. It was the international exposure I received through the Legal Fellows Program that made it possible for me to receive this opportunity

Zodwa Velleman, Corporate Affairs Director, Heineken South Africa

Although there is a lot to be excited about at the Vance Center, the African Legal Fellows Program is among the most exciting initiatives. At an individual level, the Program helps Fellows grow their transactional skills and business relationships by working side-by-side with lawyers at New York firms. At an institutional level, the Program builds career-long bridges between New York law firms and their counterparts in Africa. Through this Program, the Vance Center is building a cadre of lawyers across Africa who will have a positive impact on all aspects of the legal profession in their countries, and in particular on public service

Inosi Nyatta, Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell

The African Fellows Program is a tangible and sustained commitment by the Vance Center and its partner law firms to strengthening the rule of law in Africa. This program directly helps to create a stronger legal profession, more resilient democracies and improved access to justice on the Continent

Elchi Nowrojee, Principal, The Carlyle Group

2018- 2019 Africa Legal Fellows/ Power Africa Fellows

Ejemen Ofoman, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Ms. Ofoman, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow...

Close

Ejemen Ofoman, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Ms. Ofoman, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow, comes from Olaniwun Ajayi LP (Nigeria) where she advised on the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects. She is admitted to both the Nigerian and New York State bars and has LL.B from UCL and LL.M from Cornell Law School.

Njabulo Hlophe, Kikland & Ellis LLP

Mr. Hlophe, Vance Center African Legal Fellow...

Close

Njabulo Hlophe, Kikland & Ellis LLP

Mr. Hlophe, Vance Center African Legal Fellow, comes from Werksmans Attorneys (South Africa) where he worked on mergers & acquisitions. He is admitted to practice in South Africa and has LL.B and certificates in Advanced Company Law from University of the Witwatersrand.

Lotanna Nwodo, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Mr. Nwodo, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow...

Close

Lotanna Nwodo, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Mr. Nwodo, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow, comes from Aluko & Oyebode (Nigeria) where he worked in capital markets/mergers & acquisitions. He is admitted to practice in Nigeria and has an LL.B from the University of Nigeria and an LL.M from Harvard Law School.

Belinda Ongonga, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Ms. Ongonga, Vance Centre African Legal Fellow...

Close

Belinda Ongonga, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Ms. Ongonga, Vance Centre African Legal Fellow, comes from Bowmans Kenya (Coulson Harney LLP) where she specialized in general corporate and commercial practice. She is admitted to practice in Kenya and has an LLB from Kenyatta University School of Law and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law.

2018- 2019 Africa Legal Fellows/ Power Africa Fellows

Ejemen Ofoman, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Ms. Ofoman, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow...

Close

Ejemen Ofoman, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Ms. Ofoman, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow, comes from Olaniwun Ajayi LP (Nigeria) where she advised on the development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects. She is admitted to both the Nigerian and New York State bars and has LL.B from UCL and LL.M from Cornell Law School.

Njabulo Hlophe, Kikland & Ellis LLP

Mr. Hlophe, Vance Center African Legal Fellow...

Close

Njabulo Hlophe, Kikland & Ellis LLP

Mr. Hlophe, Vance Center African Legal Fellow, comes from Werksmans Attorneys (South Africa) where he worked on mergers & acquisitions. He is admitted to practice in South Africa and has LL.B and certificates in Advanced Company Law from University of the Witwatersrand.

Lotanna Nwodo, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Mr. Nwodo, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow...

Close

Lotanna Nwodo, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Mr. Nwodo, Vance Center Power Africa Legal Fellow, comes from Aluko & Oyebode (Nigeria) where he worked in capital markets/mergers & acquisitions. He is admitted to practice in Nigeria and has an LL.B from the University of Nigeria and an LL.M from Harvard Law School.

Belinda Ongonga, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Ms. Ongonga, Vance Centre African Legal Fellow...

Close

Belinda Ongonga, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Ms. Ongonga, Vance Centre African Legal Fellow, comes from Bowmans Kenya (Coulson Harney LLP) where she specialized in general corporate and commercial practice. She is admitted to practice in Kenya and has an LLB from Kenyatta University School of Law and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law.

Past Fellows