Herbert A. Igbanugo, Esq. is the founding shareholder of Igbanugo Partners Int’l Law Firm, P.L.L.C. (Igbanugo Partners), a certified 8(a)/small disadvantaged business entity, and was also a founding partner of the former law firm of Blackwell Igbanugo P.A which was the largest black controlled law firm in the United States between 2003-2006.
Born in Nigeria, he received his undergraduate degrees in International Relations and Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1983 and 1984 respectively, and his Juris Doctor Degree from Hamline University School of Law in 1987.
He heads Igbanugo Partners’ International Trade Law practice group and it’s consulting division, Afrique Sub-Sahara Strategies LTD (AQS) focusing exclusively on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
In 2000, he was invited to participate as a delegate in former President William Jefferson Clinton’s historic trip to SSA. Over the past two decades, he has regularly traveled to Africa developing crucial relationships in both the governmental and private sectors and studying political/economic trends in the region.
He is a member of the Minnesota and New York State Bar Associations and is admitted to practice before numerous U.S. Federal District Courts, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the U.S. Court of International Trade, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Igbanugo’s Sub-Saharan Africa Group (AQS) also offers consulting and anti-corruption training and advisory services. Mr. Igbanugo is well versed in African-governmental relations development, lobbying and/or interest advocacy as well as U.S. government relations and public policy, including issue advocacy (e.g., debt relief, normalization of trade before federal and state decision makers, legislative drafting and analysis, legislative and executive branch monitoring on behalf of African governments, industries and business organizations).
He also generally provides the privilege of access to “top players” or difficult to reach high-level “movers and shakers” within SSA governments and the private sector, as well as information currency and political intelligence.
Mr. Igbanugo also heads the U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law practice group at Igbanugo Partners. Mr. Igbanugo has substantial experience with the complex maze of U.S. Immigration and Customs legislations and regulations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USCIS).
He assists corporations and other types of organizations with capacity building and a myriad of immigration matters associated with the hiring and intra-company transfers of foreign nationals for temporary or permanent assignments in the United States and the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Selected as a “2006, 2007 and 2008 Minnesota SuperLawyer,” he is known and respected in the Minnesota legal community, and has been an adjunct professor of law at Hamline University and guest lecturer at the William Mitchell College of Law (St. Paul, Minnesota).
He is also a frequent faculty participant and author for the Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, American Immigration Lawyers Association, The Africa World Business Congress, African Business Roundtable, NEPAD Business Group and the Nigeria-African Business Roundtable.
Through solid, strategic alliances and an arsenal that includes an integrated, high-performing team comprised of highly talented, dedicated and experienced lawyers and consulting professionals across the United States and Africa, Igbanugo Partners/AQS has achieved the economies of scale enjoyed by very large law and consulting firms.
It is clear to us that only by leveraging the unique strengths and capabilities of our “dream team” of strategic alliance partners and professionals can we tackle the developmental challenges of SSA such as eradicating corruption, as well as, modernizing African courts.
Igbanugo Partners is endowed with the institutional expertise to articulate, design, advice on, and manage anti-corruption training and justice reform projects in SSA that incorporate capacity building and reflect local institutional realities. Mr. Igbanugo firmly believes that the key to success in building democratic SSA states free from corruption, and with efficient economies comes from enhancing transparency and the rule of law through a focus on the courts and the reform of the judiciary.
Selected Symposium & Conference Presentations include:
International Trade Law & Sub-Saharan Africa Development Consulting Practices
- Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa: Why, Where and How. Sponsored by the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, in conjunction with the George Washington University Center for International Business Education and Research. Specific Subject of Presentation: Impact of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. April 22, 2015
- National Bar Association (NBA) – 89th NBA Convention & Exhibits Seminar July 26 – August 1, 2014, Atlanta Georgia. Seminar Topic: Doing Business in Africa. Specific Topic of Presentation: Strategic Considerations for Market Entry and the Need for Diaspora Engagement
- American Conference Institute – 3rd Global Forum on Anti-Corruption Compliance in High Risk Markets – Implementing Country-Specific Strategies to Detect, Investigate and Prevent FCPA/Anti-Bribery Compliance and Enforcement Risks – Specific Topic of Presentation – Joint Ventures in Nigeria, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea: How to Meet Local Content Requirements for JV’s without Running Afoul of the FCPA – July 16 & 17, 2012 – Washington, DC
- Dow Jones Global Compliance – Winning Strategies For Navigating Rapid Change: From the Editors of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal – Specific Topic of Presentation – The World: Africa – March 27 & 28, 2012 – Washington, DC
- Minority Corporate Counsel Associations (MCCA) 11th Annual CLE Expo 2012 – Specific Topic of Presentation – Doing Business in Africa Part 2: The Legal & Regulatory Challenges – March 20 -22, 2012 – Chicago, IL
- Indiana International and Comparative Law Review – Indiana University – School of Law – Indianapolis – Specific Topic of Presentation – Indiana International & Comparative Law Review’s March 2, 2012, Symposium on “Recent Developments with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” – March 2, 2012 – Indianapolis, IN
- The Sullivan Foundation’s The Lion Roars Webinars – Specific Topic of Presentation –The Relevance of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as Developed from the Global Sullivan Principles – February 17, 2012, Nationwide Webcast
- C5’s Forum on Anti-Corruption Sub-Saharan African Edition – Minimizing Your Company’s Risk in an Era of Increased African and International Enforcement – Specific Topic of Presentation – Managing Corruption Risks Associated with Joint Ventures with State Owned vs. Private JV Partners – September 21 & 22, 2011 – Cape Town, South Africa
- Dow Jones Global Compliance – From the Editors of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal – Specific Topic of Presentation – Doing Business in Africa: How to Steer Clear of Trouble – March 31 – April 1, 2011 – Washington, DC
- Strafford Webinars – Specific Topic of Presentation – Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Africa: compliance
Strategies Given the Sub-Saharan Region’s Unique Cultural and Governmental Intricacies – October 7, 2010, Nationwide Webcast
- African Business Round Table’s 2nd World Business Congress -Specific Topic of Presentation – Ethical Standards in Business and Legal Representation of United States Corporations in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Expose of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – November 6-9, 2005 – Accra, Ghana
U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law Practice
- American Council on International Personnel (ACIP) Annual Symposium – Specific Topic of Presentation – Immigration Compliance & Enforcement – June 15 – 19, 2009 – Arlington, VA
- American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) Upper-Midwest Immigration Conference – Specific Topic of Presentation – Federal Court Litigation – April 30 – May 1, 2009 – Minneapolis, MN
- American Bar Association (ABA) National Conference for the Minority Lawyer – Specific Topic of Presentation – Anything Goes: What Corporate Clients and Their Lawyers Need to Know About Immigration Laws and Policies – August 7 – 10, 2008 – New York, NY
- National Bar Association (NBA) Convention Immigration Law Seminar – Specific Topic of Presentation –The Impact of Security Related Priorities on Immigration Litigation and How Attorneys can use the Federal Court System to Obtain Remedies for Immigration Clients – August 2003, Charlotte, NC
- Minnesota Institute of Legal Education CLE – Specific Topic of Presentation – Practical Hints in Mandamus and Declaratory Judgment Review Prayers in the IIRAIRA Era -2002 – Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
- American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) Immigration Law Litigation Conference – Specific Topic of Presentation – Litigating Immigration Cases – EOIR, BIA and Federal Court Practice – March 2, 2001, Minneapolis, MN
- American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) Midwest Regional Conference – Specific Topic of Presentation – Mandamus, Declaratory Judgments and Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies – April 14 – 15, 2000, Minneapolis, MN
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Regional Conference – Specific Topic of Presentation – Federal District Court Litigation in the IIRAIRA Era (Why, When and How to Sue the INS in Federal District Court) – 1997 – Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
International Trade Law & Sub-Saharan Africa Development Consulting Practice
- The Rule of Law, Judicial Corruption, and the Need for Drastic Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Nation States ( Published by the American Bar Association, Section of International Law, The International Law News, Vol. 42, No.3, Summer 2013)
- The Late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan & the Sullivan Principles: The Greatest Underrated Catalyst for Socio-Economic Develpment in Sub-Saharan Africa (The African Counsel, Voume 3, Issue 3, August 2012)
- Big Pharma in Sub-Saharan Africa – Watch Your Step!: A Culturally Competent Guide to FCPA Compliance in Sub-Saharan Africa for Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Biotechnology Companies (The African Counsel, Voume 3, Issue 2, June 2012)
- Emerging Markets of Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: A Cautionary Tale (The African Counsel, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2012)
- Joint Ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa: A New FCPA Minefield (The African Counsel, Volume 2, Issue 4, September 2011)
- Assessing and Minimizing Customs-Related Corruption Risk in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Ports (The African Counsel, Volume 2, Issue 3, July 2011)
- Bribery & Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Genesis, Panacea & Implications for FCPA Compliance in the Region (The African Counsel, Volume 2, Issue 2, March 2011)
- Corporate Social Responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Driving Force in Sustainable Development and Self-Sufficiency (The African Counsel, Volume 2, Issue 1, February 2011)
- Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa: With New Opportunities Comes Risks and Pitfalls Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (The African Counsel, Volume I, Issue 4, October 2009)
- Managing Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Commercial Litigation Within the Microcosm of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Business and Legal Culture (The African Counsel, Volume I, Issue 3, August 2009)
- The Harmonization of Business Law in Africa: Fact or Fantasy (The African Counsel, Volume I, Issue 2, June 2009)
- Ethical Standards in Business and Legal Representation of United States Corporations in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Expose of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Presented at the 2nd World Business Congress 6-9 November 2005 Accra, Ghana).
- The Anti-Competitive Affects of the Product Liability Laws of the United States (Asia-Pacific Lawyers Association Publication, 1991).
U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law Practice:
- EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program: An Option for Foreign Investors to Invest in the U.S. and Obtain Permanent Residence for Themselves and Their Immediate Relatives (Mshale, The African Community Newspaper, August 2011)
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform – Inevitable Solution or Unlikely Possibility? (Nexus – A Journal of Opinion, Chapman University School of Law, Vol. 13, 2007-2008)
- Hiring Foreign Nationals in the United States (Association of Corporate Counsel Publications 2004,2007).
- AILA Visa Processing Guide – U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigera (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
- Immigration Options for Foreign-Born Hires (June 14, 2006)
- The Impact of Security Related Priorities on Immigration Litigation (National Bar Association Publication, 2003).
- Practical Hints in Mandamus and Declaratory Judgment Review Prayers in the IIRAIRA Era (Minnesota Institute of Legal Education Publication 2002).
- Federal District Court Litigation in the IIRAIRA Era (Why, When and How to Sue the INS in Federal District Court)( AILA Publication 1997).
- Deportation Procedures and Relief Under Immigration Act of 1990 (Minnesota Institute Publication of Legal Education 1991).
- Applications for Change of Status: What to Do When Your Plans Change During a Temporary Stay in the U.S (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, October 2009)
- Religious Workers – The New Regime (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, August 2009)
- Federal Court Litigation In the Aftermath of the Real ID Act (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, June 2009)
- Criminal Convictions in the Immigration Context: What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, May 2009)
- Supreme Court Makes a Significant Ruling for Asylum Seekers (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, April 2009)
- A Sliver of Hope for Those Who are Barred from the U.S. (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, March 2009)
- Immigration Debate Still Simmers Amid Economic Crisis (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, February 2009)
- When Marital Bliss Becomes Domestic Abuse (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, January 2009)
- Preserving Lawful Permanent Resident Status (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, November 2008)
- Immigration Consequences of Criminal Offences (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, July 2008)
- Family-Based Immigration: Bringing a Spouse or Fiancé to the United States (Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, June 2008)
- The Case for Keeping Legal Process Outsourcing Onshore (ALI-ABA – The Practical Lawyer, April 2010)
- The Case for Keeping Legal Process Outsourcing “On Shore”
- (National Bar Association Commercial Law Section, Volume 6, Issue 2, Summer 2009 – pages 6 & 9)
- Minority-Owned Law Firms and Corporate America’s Diversity Crucible (National Bar Association Commercial Law Section, Volume 4, Issue 1, Winter 2007)
Areas of Law Practice & Development Consulting
- Immigration & Nationality Law and International Trade Law
- US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – Specialist
- Development Consulting in Sub-Saharan Africa (AQS) – providing advisory services and training on Anti-Corruption, Democratic Governance, Rule of Law, Court Reform, Judicial Training, Due Diligence, Strategic planning, monitoring/evaluation, countering extremism, gender equality and empowerment of women etc.
Representative International Project Experience
- Study Tour to Improve the Skills and Knowledge of SSA Judges on Economic and Financial Crimes– From June 25th to June 30th, 2012, Igbanugo Partners and Lex Training in collaboration with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) organized a CLE/study tour on improving the skills and knowledge of judges regarding economic and financial crimes. 45 judges from english-speaking Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) attended. These included then Chief Justices of the Supreme Courts of the Federation of the Republic of Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. All attendees were either members of the Supreme Court or Courts of Appeal of their countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia. With Boko Haram and ISIS using laundered money as a lifeblood for their existence, the CLE topics discussed now carry added importance. Speakers included a former vice president of the World Bank, litigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. federal judges and Officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS). Topics discussed included an understanding of the dynamics, changing scenarios and new technologies in fighting economic and financial crimes, corruption in the judiciary, overview of global initiatives against money laundering and terrorist financing etc.
- ENL Consortium Ltd. [Largest indigenous seaport operator in SSA]- In 2013 represented multi-national consortium based in Nigeria (with Seaport operations, Power Distribution, Road & Building construction, Property Development, and Hospitality) in negotiating proposed joint ventures and/or public-private partnerships (PPP) in Equatorial Guinea (EG) and Cameroon. Project outline for EG included: creation of an EG – ENL Consortium Partnership, implementation and creation of new refinery in Nigeria, acquisition of license for a concession of Crude (and/or other refined products) at the new Tank Farm being built in EG, management of the Port of Malabo (Oil Port) and Port of Luba, road construction, and management and creation of tiered structured electricity/power system for the Republic of EG. The Cameroon project involved a proposed public-private partnership with the government of Cameroon for the development of the Lime Cement Port complex in Limbe, Cameroon as well as Port of Kribi concession for management and construction of a toll road from Douala-Limbe.
- ENL Consurtium Ltd. – In 2011 represented ENL Consurtium hands-on/”boots on the ground” in the process of value assessment, discussions, negotiations and as international legal counsel pertaining to a proposed public/private partnership between ENL Consurtium and the government of Liberia, for a 20-year concession for the management of the Port of Monrovia, Liberia.
- Consulted to assist the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with the EG Economic Forum in Washington, DC on August 7 & 8, 2014 pursuant to the invitation of President Obama to President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. The government of EG under the guidance of the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy hosted a US-EG political and economic relations/high powered economic forum focusing on EG’s Industrialization Plan PEGI 2020.
- Republic of Equatorial Guinea – In 2013invited to research, assess, and prepare a Proposal for Judicial Training, Court Reform and Modernization of the EG Justice System.
- The East African Court of Justice (EACJ)– In 2014 researched, assessed, and prepared a Proposal for Judicial Training and Assessment of Court Reform and Modernization Needs of the Justice System of the East African Community [EAC].
Representative Corporate/Multi-National Clients
- Xcel Energy- We serviced Xcel Energy as a corporate client from 1994 – 2014 and filed a total of 287 petitions/applications with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), out of which we never had a single final administrative denial of any petition or application. The breakdown of petitions/application is as follows: 98 non-immigrant visas (H’s, L’s and TN’s) filed for employees and family members. 29 Labor Certifications with DOL. 76 Form I-140’s, I-485’s & Form DS-230’s. 84 miscellaneous applications including EAD’s, AP’s, etc.
- Best Buy- From 1997 -2004 we filed a total of 782 petitions/applications with USDHS on behalf of Best Buy, out of which we never had a single final administrative denial of any petition or application. The breakdown is as follows: 249 non-immigrant visas (H’s, L’s and TN’s) filed for employees and family members. 78 Labor Certifications with DOL. 75 Form I-140’s, 139 I-485’s & Form DS-230’s. 241 miscellaneous applications including EAD’s, AP’s, Expats, Canadian work authorization, PIO cards, employment/travel letters etc.
- Merck – We have serviced Merck as a corporate client since 2004 and have filed a total of 227 petitions/applications with USDHS, out of which we have never had a single final administrative denial of any petition or application. The breakdown is as follows: 43 EB-1 Based Form I-140’s, 67 Form I-485’s & Form DS-230’s files for employees and family members, 108 miscellaneous applications, which included: Expats, EADs, Aps, etc, and 9 O-1 & O-3 visas.
- Prudential Insurance- We serviced Prudential as a corporate client from 2007 – 2015 and filed a total of 146 petitions/applications with USDHS, out of which we never had a single final administrative denial of any petition or application. The breakdown is as follows: 77 Non-immigration visas (H-‘s, L’s and TN’s), 19 Labor Certifications with DOL. 16 Form I-140’s, I-485’s & Form DS-230’s. 34 miscellaneous applications including EAD’s, AP’s, etc.
- Imation– We have serviced Imation as a corporate client since 2008 and have filed a total of 37 petition/applications with USDHS, out of which we never had a single final administrative denial. The breakdown is as follows: 17 Expat Visas including (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Kingdom and India) and 20 non-immigrant visas (Hs and TNs).
- Sabhari v. Frazier 387 Fed. Appx. 672, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 15463 (8th Cir. Minn.,2010)
- Sabhari v. Frazier, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41301, 2008 WL 2152205 (D. Minn. May 21, 2008)
- Sabhari v. Frazier, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6686, 2007 WL 295261 (D. Minn. Jan. 30, 2007)
- Sabhari v. Cangemi, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11312, 2005 WL 1387595 (D. Minn. June 10, 2005)
- Sabhari v. Cangemi, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3550, 2005 WL 552081 (D. Minn. Mar. 9, 2005)
- Sabhari v. Ashcroft, 73 Fed. Appx. 904, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 18227 (8th Cir. 2003)
- Sabhari v. Reno, 197 F.3d 938, 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 30661 (8th Cir. Minn. 1999)
- Bah v. Gonzales, 457 F. 3d 838 (8th Circuit Court of Appeals 2006)
- Ginters v. Cangemi, 419 F. Supp. 2d 1124 (U.S. District Court of Minnesota 2006)
- Ahmadshah v. Ashcroft, 396 F.3d 917 (8th Circuit Court of Appeals 2005)
- Muhur v. Ashcroft, 355 F.3d 958 (7th Circuit Court of Appeals 2004)
- Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota
o J.D. – 1987
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
o B.A. – 1983
- Minnesota, 1988
- New York, 1989
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1992
- U.S. Court of International Trade, 1989
- U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1988
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, 1989
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 2011
- U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 2003
- U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 2002
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 2005
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1994
- U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 2003
- U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 1993
- U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2003
- Adjunct Professor, Immigration Law, Hamline University
- Guest Lecturer, Immigration Law, William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN
- Faculty Participant and Author, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education
- Faculty Participant and Author, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Immigration Lawyers Association, 1988 – Present
- Minnesota State Bar Association, 1988 – Present
- Customs and International Trade Bar Association, 1990- Present
- National Bar Association, 2001- Present
- American Bar Association, 1989- Present
- New York State Bar Association, 2004- Present
- International Bar Association, 2015- Present
- Small Business Association for International Companies (SBAIC) 2015 – present
- Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) 2015 – present
- Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (2015 –present)