February 24, 2012


Adamma Obele ('12) receives prestigious scholarship for commitment to lawyer diversity

Adamma Obele (‘12) was recently awarded one of the nationally competitive “My Life as a Lawyer” scholarships. The awards, granted by the Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC), are designated for law students who strive to foster diversity within the legal profession.

The CCWC was inaugurated in 2004 as a support network for women attorneys of color. Based on the premise that women of color face a specific set of challenges within the legal profession—particularly with respect to the glass ceiling and limited networking opportunities—the CCWC sets about promoting their advancement within that arena and advocating for diversity in the workplace, according to the organization’s Web site.

In her application essay, Obele underscored the important roles that a handful of women, and in particular a BU Law alumnus, have had in encouraging her success and fostering the endeavors Obele maintains today.

“Since the organization emphasizes that women of color can make vital contributions to legal practice and in-house counsel practice, and come together to make strategic professional connections, I emphasized the key women that mentor and encourage me in my pursuit of intellectual and professional development,” wrote Obele.

Obele believes that it was her tribute to her role models, along with her demonstrated commitment to cultivating her legal skills and to mentoring others, that earned her the award.

Besides her dedication to the CCWC’s mission, Obele has also had substantial practical experience in the legal workplace. Along with clerking in the public sector (at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), she has also worked in the private sector as an in-house clerk at Bank of America.

“I truly hope to continue to have a legal career that involves such dynamic experiences,” Obele wrote.

Although Obele’s academic focus up through graduate school was on anthropology and the role that laws play in ordering social norms, her interests have shifted toward business and financial services law—namely the issues surrounding banking, regulation, compliance and consumer protection.

“I was interning at Bank of America when Dodd-Frank came down, so I experienced its immediate impact on several lines of business.  It was very apparent that the legal landscape had fundamentally changed,” she recalls. “The bill transformed the regulation of key financial services, and it was very important that businesses interpret and understand how their processes needed to change to comply with the new rules.”

At Bank of America, Obele was in charge of analyzing how the Volcker Rule, a section of Dodd-Frank, would prohibit proprietary trading and potentially affect several lines of bank business.

“I was a bit surprised that I really enjoyed the analysis.  It was interesting, it was collaborative, and it was vitally important to the health of the business as it employed thousands of people,” she said.

Now, at BU Law, Obele has paired up with Professor Tamar Frankel to write an independent analysis on the Volcker Rule’s compliance and regulatory provisions.

Obele also emphasizes how much she’s taken advantage of the Banking and Finance Law Program, where she’s taken an array of courses in banking and financial law that she says cover among the most interesting and dynamic topics offered in the law school.

>>Learn more about the CCWC

Reported by Alia Wong

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