Binta Niambi Brown ’98

Driven to Achieve

Fall 2011

Binta Niambi Brown ’98 decided early on that she wanted to be a lawyer—at age 10, to be exact. And the Arlington, Va., native’s precocity didn’t stop after grade school.

Two years ago, Brown became one of the youngest Barnard College trustees in the history of the school. This year, the partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Manhattan received the Women of Power and Influence Award from the National Organization for Women and was named to Crain’s “40 Under 40” list—alongside New York Knick Amar’e Stoudemire and Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley, among others.

As an unrepentant polymath, Brown these days is finding a balance between her primary work at Kirkland & Ellis advising on corporate governance issues and her pro bono activities focused on human trafficking, women’s rights, and economic development initiatives in war-torn regions.

As a one-time adviser to Hillary Clinton and a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s transition team, Brown has also dabbled in politics. She advised Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign in an informal capacity on national security issues, with a focus on human rights and international institutions. But don’t expect Brown to throw her name in the political arena as a candidate. “I am totally committed to the private sector and to growing businesses—to understanding my business clients’ problems and giving them the best possible advice,” Brown says. “I love working with early-stage businesses and helping figure out how to put them together, and I relish addressing the complex, sophisticated corporate governance problems of more mature businesses. And I particularly like working with businesses that include in their overall strategy a willingness and desire to address social problems.”