Black History Month
History. Tradition. Community.
February is Black History Month.
Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February. The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity. We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers. Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.
Future History Maker
Future History Maker Adine Momoh is a trailblazing attorney whose work ethic and commitment to excellence have quickly garnered her recognition and respect. Momoh began practicing law in September 2009. On January 1 of this year, she became a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. In 2018-2019, Momoh will become president of the Hennepin County Bar Association as the organization celebrates its 100th year anniversary. She will be the youngest and first black woman to hold that role in the 8,000-member organization’s history.
Momoh is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. Her parents, who emigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone in the 1970’s, instilled in Momoh the values of education, hard work, humility, and giving back. When she was just a six-year-old student in first grade, after having put aside dreams of being a horseback rider or ballet dancer, Momoh decided she wanted to be an attorney. She set in motion a plan that would one day lead her to make history. Momoh did not have any immediate family members in the legal profession, but eagerly learned as much as she could about becoming an attorney. Throughout grade school and beyond, she strived for excellence in her classes and sought out mentorships from, and developed relationships with, Twin Cities attorneys. Momoh asked questions and never shied away from opportunities to learn or lead.
Momoh’s thirst for knowledge led her to the University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business. There she developed a love for business. Mastering subjects such as accounting, finance, micro- and macro-economics, and industrial organizational psychology, Momoh developed the blocks that would later shape a career in bankruptcy, banking and securities litigation. Momoh graduated summa cum laude with a 4.00 GPA, majoring in legal studies in business, psychology, and pre-law. Momoh received her Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law, graduating magna cum laude.
Today, Momoh is a trial attorney representing clients in various aspects of litigation including: case development and strategy, discovery, motion practice, trial, and appeals in state and federal courts across the country. She has also successfully defended clients facing fraudulent conveyance, preferential transfers and other avoidance actions from bankruptcy trustees seekingamounts up to millions of dollars. In her seven years of practice, Momoh has been recognized locally and nationally. In 2013 she received Stinson Leonard Street’s Pro Bono Services to the Indigent award, and that same year was also named a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. In 2014 she was honored with the Minnesota State Bar Association’s first-ever Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year Award. In 2015 she was named one of two finalists for the American Bar Association’s National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. And in 2016Momoh was one of four recipients of the Service to the Minnesota Women Lawyers Association Award. She was recognized for her legal excellence in bankruptcy law by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, naming her a Blackshear Presidential Fellow.
Momoh’s credentials are mirrored by her commitment to giving back. Since she began practicing in 2009, Momoh has dedicated up to 200 hours of her time to pro-bono service each year. From 2013-2016 Momoh received the North Star Lawyer designation from the Minnesota State Bar Association for her commitment to pro bono work. Momoh also serves on the boards of various organizations, including The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Federal Bar Association’s National Younger Lawyers Division, Federal Bar Association’s Minnesota Chapter and International Women’s Insolvency and Reorganization Confederation–Minnesota Network. She co-chairs the Minnesota Women Lawyer’s Equity Committee, which works to develop and implement action steps to achieve equity for women in the Minnesota legal profession. Momoh also mentors law students at the three local law schools in Minnesota.
Most Rewarding Work Experience
I certainly enjoy motion practice and trial work because I love being in court and relish opportunities to hone that particular skill set. That said, my most rewarding work experience is being able to be the trusted advisor to clients. As an advocate, it’s my responsibility to be a problem solver and to do so as objectively and persuasively as possible, by anticipating, understanding and refuting the other side’s best argument. To know that someone has placed this immense amount of trust in me is a true privilege.
What Inspires You
I’m inspired by my parents, Kofi and Mabel, who have been my champions and sponsors since day one (even before those words were even being used), and who always taught me the power of resilience. They taught me that if anyone makes me feel discouraged, I should work harder and prove them wrong. I also look up to my two older brothers, Kenny and Kofi, who have always supported me and set the bar high for me. Moreover, I’m grateful for the support of all the mentors I’ve had throughout my life. And of course, I am inspired by my husband, Vince. Without his support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today; he inspires me to be my best self.
Advice for Aspiring Professionals
Don’t be afraid to chart your own course and don’t be afraid to say yes. Many of the doors that have been opened for me throughout my legal career and in my life in general came from me taking chances and simply saying yes. I didn’t always know what would be required of me, but I was confident that I could rise to the challenge. To those interested in a legal career, I encourage you to stay focused. Make it your goal to not only get good grades, but also to understand what’s being taught fully. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class, speak up and ask questions.
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business
- William Mitchell College of Law
Like Momoh, today’s Legacy Leader, Justice Alan Page is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back.
Justice Alan Page is a jurist and former professional American Football player. While he played for the Minnesota Vikings, Page attended the University of Minnesota Law School, from which he received a Juris Doctor in 1978. After graduating, he worked at the Minneapolis law firm Lindquist and Vennum from 1979 to 1984 outside the football season. Page was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General in 1985, and soon thereafter promoted to Assistant Attorney General. In 1993 Page became the first African American justice to be appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Page and his wife Diane are the founders of the Page Education Foundation, which assists students of color with postsecondary education. Page also helped establish the Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay contest encouraging urban youth to recognize the value of education, and he is a frequent speaker to groups of students about the importance of education. Justice Page also has a long history of community service and has been named on both 100 Influential Minnesotans of the Century and 100 Most Important Sports Figures of the Century. Page is a member of the American Law Institute, Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, National Bar Association and American Bar Association.