Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Esq.
Atlas Mara Ltd., New York, N.Y.
Raised in Nigeria, where she witnessed gender inequities, Beatrice Hamza Bassey always knew she wanted to become a lawyer. “I wanted to make a difference and give a voice to the voiceless,” says the graduate of the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, and Nigerian Law School, who earned a law degree at Harvard Law School.
Hamza Bassey is general counsel at Atlas Mara Ltd., a financial services holding company focused on sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a new role for Hamza Bassey, having joined the firm just in February. She oversees and coordinates legal and compliance functions across the group, drawing on expertise and experience acquired in her compliance, ethics and complex litigation practice as a partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. Hamza Bassey was a member of Hughes Hubbard’s Executive Committee. She chaired the firm’s Africa practice and litigated several headline-grabbing cases. Most notably, she represented the Trustee for the failed Lehman Brothers Inc., overseeing litigation involving more than $25 billion in trustee-controlled assets.
Hamza Bassey performs countless hours of pro bono work. Her relentless work on behalf of low-income New Yorkers has received widespread press coverage in The New York Times, Daily News and “Crain’s New York Business,” and earned her Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award in 2010.
Hamza Bassey sits on the boards of PowerPlay N.Y.C., a nonprofit dedicated to educating and empowering girls through sports and academic enrichment programs; Self-Help Africa, an organization dedicated to empowering women in rural African communities to achieve economic independence; and the Nigerian Higher Education Foundation, an effort established by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to promote excellence in higher education in Nigeria. She serves on the Anti-Corruption and Litigation committees of the International Bar Association, and is a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Council, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Nigerian Bar Association and the New York Bar Association.