Though her career in food and beverage manufacturing was promising and lucrative, Adelarin Yemi-Sofumade had always been drawn to law.
A native of Lagos, Nigeria, and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, Yemi-Sofumade settled with her family in Atlanta’s southern suburbs while still in high school.
“It was really important when choosing an undergraduate degree to choose one I could immediately put to use to earn a living,” Yemi-Sofumade said. “I simply couldn’t afford to spend another three years in law school at that time.”
After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, she went to work at Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Cartersville, Ga., brewery. She quickly rose through the ranks in positions in supply chain management, business processes and human resources management.
The work eventually took her to Houston, Texas, and to another food and beverage company, but Yemi-Sofumade couldn’t shake the feeling that she could do more and be more.
“I really wasn’t feeling fulfilled,” she said. “I was several years out of school and making good money at a great job, but I hit my 30th birthday and had this moment. I decided I didn’t want to do this for another 30 years. Law school was a dream I thought was long gone, until I realized it wasn’t.”
In 2019, Yemi-Sofumade quit her job, moved back to Atlanta, went to work in her family’s home health care business and enrolled in the College of Law’s part-time program.
After going full time with her studies during the pandemic, she’s graduating in December with a job lined up at the Atlanta-based international firm of King & Spalding.
In law school, Yemi-Sofumade thrived. As a 1L, she received the College of Law’s Outer Barristers’ Guild Award, which goes to the top 10 first-year students, and went on to win seven best-in-class awards for her performance in individual courses. She serves as an associate student writing editor for the Georgia State University Law Review and participated in the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Clinic at the Fulton County Magistrate Court as a registered mediator.
Yemi-Sofumade is also a member of the Black Law Students Association and served as the first diversity and inclusion officer for the Student Bar Association.
While deciding which area of law to pursue, Yemi-Sofumade worked as a summer associate in several firms that gave her experience in litigation and transactional law, including Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, King & Spalding and the legal department of Honeywell International.
She gravitated toward transactional law, with the goal of advising corporate leaders on their business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions. As a former employee of behemoth food and beverage companies, Yemi-Sofumade sees herself as an advocate not just for her clients in the board room, but the workers they lead.
“I’ve lived through the effects of mergers and leveraged buyouts,” Yemi-Sofumade said. “The way I see it, business transactions should be optimally structured to benefit the businesses involved as well as the employees and people affected. The best way to ensure that happens is to be in the room when those decisions are being made.”
Photo by Carolyn Richardson