From Laolu Akande, New York (Culled from the Nigerian Guardian 14th June 2008).
ONE of the oldest and the most prestigious law firms in the United States, Hughes Hubbard & Reed has recently named a young Nigerian-trained lawyer a part-owner and partner in what is considered a significant elevation in US and Nigeria legal history.
Beatrice Hamza-Bassey, a 1994 graduate of law from the University of Maiduguri became the first African and second black person to be named a partner at Hughes Hubbard, a top-notch US law firm with offices across the world. The law firm’s history dates back to 1888 and was founded by a former US Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and later presidential candidate Hughes Hubbard.
Besides, Hamza-Bassey, 36, is also the chairperson of the firm’s Diversity Task Force aimed at encouraging the employment of lawyers from diverse backgrounds to work at Hughes Hubbard, a US law firm which has more than 340 experienced practitioners and work in over 30 specialized practices. They range from mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, corporate reorganization, real estate and cross-border transactions to securities litigation, arbitration, product liability, antitrust, intellectual property, labor, employee benefits and tax, as well as niche practices such as art law.
The attainment of partnership in US law firms is both considered onerous and takes longer while, but Hamza-Bassey did it in just about a decade having joined the law firm in 1998 when she graduated from Harvard Law School with a master of law, LLM.
According to her, “I wasn’t sure my goal was to make a partner when I came in. But my goals changed over time as the years evolved working with so many wonderful lawyers. I started thinking this is where I want to stay.”