Howard University School of Law Alumna Tiffany Dayemo (J.D. ’19) speaks about her role as public policy legal fellow on Microsoft’s U.S. Government Affairs (USGA) team in an interview with Howard Law. Behind Stanton Burke (J.D. ’17), Dayemo is the second Howard Law alumni to have landed this role since the program started in September 2010. This is just one great example of Howard Law alumni putting their degrees to work in alternative career paths.
READ MORE about Dayemo’s experience in the program:
Howard Law: Please provide more information about the fellowship.
Dayemo: The one-year fellowship supports subject matter experts and attorneys that apply their expertise in a variety of public policy and governmental affairs areas, including international trade, intellectual property rights protection, telecommunication, internet safety, cyber-security, immigration reform, education policy efforts, state law initiatives, and corporate governance before Federal and State administrations, legislatures, and agencies. My responsibilities include conducting research across a wide range of public policy topics and working closely with USGA and attorneys to support government affairs strategic engagement plans and public policy agenda. I also assist in drafting memos, briefings and other materials for internal stakeholders or external agencies and partners. I often represent Microsoft at associations, think tank meetings, and hearings. Also, I collaborate with teams on cross-group projects.
Howard Law: What do HUSL alumni bring to the table at Microsoft that alumni from other law schools do not?
Dayemo: I think HUSL alumni bring a unique perspective to policy issues that often aren’t highlighted because we learn to be social engineers, or how to make the world a more inclusive society, from day one. As students, we walk through the halls and pass the great titans of the law that have changed the fabric of our country such as Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, and Charles Hamilton Houston.
At Microsoft, HUSL and HBCU alumni are some of the key advocates that constantly push us to consider equity, racial justice, and inclusivity as key elements of our policy priorities because these same public policy arguments have always been at the forefront of our educational and legal training. I think it says volumes that Microsoft is a company where I’ve seen our perspectives implemented to create a more inclusive and equitable company but also push Microsoft to continue to be the thought leader in the tech industry.
One of the highlights of my fellowship was when I planned the Microsoft Tech Law Summit at HUSL with fellow alumni Charlie Bingham and Vickie Robinson. We also had the support of key executives at Microsoft including Fred Humphries Jr., Corporate Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs, and a Morehouse alumnus. As a young professional, it means a lot to see yourself represented at every level of the company. I told Charlie that the students really needed an additional updated computer lab. We put our heads together with our teams and we did it. Thanks to our collective efforts and Microsoft’s commitment, I was able to give back to my alma mater within a year of graduation.
Howard Law: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being a fellow?
Dayemo: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is self-advocacy. If there is an area of law or public policy you want to pursue, you can do it if you identify an opportunity and execute. Because I have self-advocated and addressed my interest early in international and Hill engagement, I have been able to take on a more unique portfolio on the U.S. Government Affairs than many recent law school graduates. I have briefed executives for testimony before Congress on key issues, including election law and privacy. I have represented Microsoft before high-level U.S. and foreign officials and created my own portfolio of corresponding work with teams in Africa and Latin America. Without the encouragement of my team, but also responsibility of the fellowship, I do not think I would have this opportunity elsewhere but at Microsoft.
Howard Law: Why would you encourage other law students to pursue the fellowship?
Dayemo: I encourage law students to pursue a fellowship because it gives you a period of time to figure out what type of career path you want, whether it’s practicing law or pursuing public policy. Also, you get to break into an industry that is at the cutting edge of the most key issues of our time – racial justice, broadband, commerce, privacy, labor rights. The tech industry is driving the discussion, and so to be able to explore these issues within a company that really cares has helped me to understand these issues.