WOMAN IN LAW INTERVIEW WITH AMINATA J. BA ESQ.

We are super excited about bringing back the Women in Law Interview series.


This month we are featuring Aminata J. Ba.
The Senegalese-born American is an attorney and founder of the Social Lawyer, through which she provides her clients with various kind of legal support, advice and services.


Aminata’s current practice area focuses on providing legal consulting for small and scaling businesses. Her practice is made up of contract formation including review, negotiation and drafting, trademark registration, and general legal consulting. She also possesses litigation experience.


Below is our interview with this phenomenal #womaninlaw.

FWIL:

What inspired you to study law?

AJB:

When I first decided to go to law school, I was motivated by the immigration system in the United States. I wanted to practice immigration law because it was so close to me and my family. My parents, brother and myself all immigrated to this country from Senegal. As a child, I did not have a clear understanding of what was going when my parents were dealing with immigration issues, but I remember their attorney, a black woman, felt like a close family member and I looked up to her.

That’s what got me there. I found all areas of law fascinating and really enjoyed the versatility (literally any everything had some aspect of law!)

Once I matriculated through law school, I deduced that I could not monetize off of helping people with the kinds of immigration issues I was passionate about and it became something I wanted to do pro Bono. 

FWIL:

Please tell us about your new venture, The Social Lawyer.

AJB:

This year my circumstances changed drastically. I had been litigating for six years and did not even know if I wanted to practice anymore. The litigation process can be really taxing, but one of my favorite things about litigating has always been client interaction. Educating my clients on risk management and coming up with innovative ways to solve their issues was always rewarding. I knew that I wanted to continue being able to help people with their business issues. With the combination of my business acumen and legal skill set, the Social Lawyer made sense.

It is allowing me to give small businesses big law expertise in a much more personalized manner. The plus for me is that I get to continue having that client interaction.

FWIL:

As a black (if you identify as one) woman in law, have you experienced gender and race-related bias? Please tell us about the challenges, if any, that you have faced.

AJB:

Yes. The reality is that the legal sector in America is dominated by older white men. When I was an intern at a DC government office, I was lucky enough to work for four Black female judges. It was such a profound experience early on where I learned more than I could ask for. It was also there that I learned I would have to be very intentional throughout my legal career.

I worked for a firm where I was the youngest associate, and the only Black attorney. I worked for some great people but it still presented its challenges in and out of the office.

At the time, as a Black woman in a very narrow practice area, it was intimidating to walk into court rooms where every other attorney was a white male over the age of 55. I remember being in one of my first depositions. My nerves naturally had me sitting in the conference room 45 minutes before it started. Once people started rolling in, I remember feeling like the other attorneys in the room (all male) were a part of a club that I was not in. Naturally over time we became more acquainted and built a rapport, but I never forget feeling like an outsider.

FWIL:

What does being an alpha female mean to you and would you describe yourself as one?

AJB:

For me being an alpha female means I following my own path and pursuing the things that I want for my life.

FWIL:

Do you identify as a feminist? (Why/why not)

AJB:

I think that women are unequivocally entitled to all the same opportunities and benefits that our male counterparts are afforded. If that makes me a feminist, then yes, I absolutely am.

FWIL:

What does woman empowerment mean to you?

AJB:

I think women possess natural qualities that allow us to be able to educate, mentor, uplift and build other women up. Woman empowerment is doing anything that raises our footing in society as a whole.

FWIL:

The journey of most legal professionals is not always easy. What are some of the lessons you have learned along the way and how have they shaped your outlook on life?

AJB:

It’s not always easy and it’s not always as planned either. I think most legal professionals are ambitious planners with end goals in mind while they are in law school. But reality has taught me that even the best laid plans can have bumps in the road, and many times those bumps are better for you.

FWIL:

What is the best advice you would give to a woman in law?

AJB:

My best advice would be to never fear pivoting. I have spoke with so many hard working women attorneys who don’t like the practice areas that they are in and feel stuck. Remember that all of the legal skills that you have are transferable.

FWIL:

What attributes do you think every young lawyer must have?

AJB:

The most important attributes for a young attorney to have is confidence and the ability to hit the ground running. It is the only way you will make mistakes (normally harmless) and that in my opinion is one of the best ways to learn.

FWIL:

What recent change/amendment in the law (in your country/state) has caught your attention? (Do you agree with the change? Why/why not)

AJB:

The big one right now is the abortion ban in Texas. I’m sure many people that don’t live in America were shocked by this. I don’t agree. This is a hinderance on only women’s rights, but human rights, the decision to do with your body as you please.

FWIL:

Our world is constantly changing, in your opinion, what are some of the challenges that legal professionals will face in future?

AJB:

Coming into the digital age. I think traditional law firms are going to have a hard time as more and more clients prefer and opt into a virtual experience.

FWIL:

As a legal professional, it is quite important to effectively use your network. How do you meet other professionals and what are some of your effective networking skills?

AJB:

Attending networking events is a sure fire way to meet other legal professionals, but the key to building your network is to follow up and stay in touch with those individuals. You never who may have an opportunity that’s aligns.

FWIL:

What’s a quote that you live by? Your mantra

AJB:

One of my favorite quotes is:

“If you build it, they will come.”

I think more often than not people fear sharing their thoughts and ideas (I have been one of those people), but once they do, they create the most amazing things.

FWIL:

How do you remain autonomous while working in the legal field?

AJB:

It was a struggle when I worked for firms, because typically you work for a partner and work from the perspective of side their take on an issue. During that time period of my career, I always made sure even when my superiors gave me an answer, I always did my own research and came back to them with alternative strategy. I was also never scared to speak up if I did not want to work on a particular case. Unfortunately that is not the culture at every law firm.

It is much easier to have autonomy over my work now that I have my own practice.

FWIL:

What is your take on mentorship and are you open to mentoring young lawyers or law students?

AJB:

I don’t believe law school prepares you for the reality of practicing, only experience and mentorship do that. Mentorship paves the way for new attorneys. One of the best pieces of advice one of my many mentors shared with me when I told her thank you at the end of my internship was “Don’t thank me, pass it on.”

FWIL:

How can people reach out to you? (social media handles)

AJB:

The best way to reach out to me is through the contact section of my website, thesociallawyer.co or by email at ami@thesociallawyer.co.

1 Comment

  1. Pascal Okorie on April 11, 2022 at 06:28

    This is an incredible journey for this woman. I am so much proud of her and her achievement so far. More strength and more knowledge and wisdom. I never knew that a woman like you do exist in the universe until I came across your name in Google search. Remain blessed.
    Pascal

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