Obiamaka P. Madubuko, Esq.
Partner; Co-Chair, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,
International Anti-Corruption Group
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
New York, N.Y.
Obiamaka P. Madubuko’s “rising star” reputation was fueled by her sense of purpose, skill, first-rate ethics and authentic goodwill. Madubuko is partner and co-chair of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Group at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, where she guides clients on international anti-corruption matters. She also serves as an adviser to companies interested in investing in emerging markets like Africa, an aspect of her practice Madubuko says she is “passionate about.”
Madubuko has more than 17 years of experience handling complex civil law and criminal cases in federal and state courts across the nation. She represents clients in government enforcement actions and leads internal investigations, as well as advises corporate clients on regulatory compliance matters affecting their international operations. She credits two role models for her venture into the legal space: America’s first Black woman appointed to the federal bench, the Hon. Constance Baker Motley of the Southern District of New York, and her entrepreneur father, Benjamin Okwumabua, Ph.D., an immigrant from Nigeria. Madubuko clerked for Judge Motley during her first year out of Harvard Law School, and says her time with the history-making legal mind greatly impacted her. “Working for Judge Motley was a great experience and shaped my thought process about my career, what I could do, and how I could get there,” says Madubuko. “To see a Black woman like myself who came two generations before me reach the heights she climbed was an inspiration.”
Witnessing her father’s “steely determination” to become the first Black man in the United States to own a metal office furniture manufacturing plant, despite the challenges she witnessed him endure, helped Madubuko cement her decision to use the law to make a difference for businesspeople like him. “The common theme throughout my career is my ability to help my clients navigate the legal and regulatory environments to brand and expand their products and services,” says Madubuko. “Helping clients strategically think through solutions that get them to their end goals is what brings out the best of my abilities.” Grounded in ethics, she ensures that her clients achieve their goals in “an ethical and lawful manner.”
A 2010 TNJ 40 Under Forty Achievers honoree, Madubuko has been hailed a 2015 “Regulatory and Compliance Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal, a three-time honored “Rising Star” by Ethisphere magazine, and a 2013 and 2014 “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation. Her writings and insights on corporate compliance and international business development are regularly featured in popular business news outlets, including Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and CNN International. She was featured this year by the Pan-Africa Network at its seminar on “Private Investment and Infrastructure in Africa.”
“Continually build your network, find sponsors and mentors and do whatever it takes to develop your technical skills as a lawyer,” the seasoned litigator advises aspiring attorneys in her field. “Focus on becoming the best lawyer you can become professionally because lawyers of color sometimes don’t get the luxury of the second chance.”