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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Oluwaseun Ajayi, 2003

Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, United States Department of Education

Oluwaseun Ajayi is an immigrant from Nigeria

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at Yale University

OLUWASEUN AJAYI is an attorney in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of General Counsel. In this capacity, he provides legal advice relating to higher education and administrative law, and he represents the Department and the Office of Federal Student Aid in litigation, administrative proceedings, and bankruptcy. Before reentering public service, he was in private practice and practiced complex litigation involving patent, securities, financial institutions, international, and business disputes, and he represented Sovereign State-owned financial institutions in U.S. litigation. 

Oluwaseun was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and came to this country as a teenager with dreams of becoming a lawyer. This dream was fulfilled when he graduated with a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2004. In 2001, he received his B.A. cum laude in political science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

At Yale Law School, Oluwaseun served as an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law, and managed the publication of a symposium on international humanitarian law in 2003, which featured contributions by scholars of the laws of war and the then-State Department Legal Adviser in his official capacity. Oluwaseun's book note, 'J'Accuse: The Court Competes with the Constitution, Congress, and Citizens?' appears in Volume 21 of the Yale Law and Policy Review. He has also published in the Yale Journal of International Law. His chapter on globalization appears in Globalization and Marginality: Essays on the Paradoxes of Global and Local Forces. He is also a published poet. 

During law school, Oluwaseun interned at El Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales (the Center for Economic and Social Rights) in Quito, Ecuador under the auspices of Yale University's Kirby Simon Summer Fellowship in international human rights.

After obtaining his law degree, Seun clerked for Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. His subsequent private practice has focused on complex commercial litigation and investigations. In December 2014, Oluwaseun served as lead attorney and helped obtain Chapter 15 transnational bankruptcy recogntion for South Korea's third largest smartphone manufacturer. It was only the second-ever Chapter 15 bankruptcy filed in the Northern District of Georgia. In re Pantech Co. Ltd., No. 14-70482 (Bankr. N.D. Ga., Dec. 18, 2014). 

As an undergraduate, he served as Stony Brook's Commencement Speaker and the Political Science Honors Convocation Speaker. After his junior year, Oluwaseun interned with the Foreign Policy Association in 2000, and helped plan and host its inaugural World Leadership Forum. Titled Globalization and the New Economy, the inaugural conference featured heads of state and government and leaders of global financial institutions and the nonprofit sector. The World Leadership Forum is now a leading international conference that is over 15 years old. 

  • JD Law | Yale University 2004
  • BA Political Science | SUNY Stony Brook 2001
  • Benjamin and David Scharps Legal Essay Award, 2000
Select Publications
  • Book Note, 27 YALE J. INT’L L. 228 (2002) (reviewing Candido Tomas Garcia Molyneux, Domestic Structures and International Trade (2002))
  • Book Note, J’Accuse: The Court Competes with the Constitution, Congress, and Citizens? 21 YALE L. & POL’Y REV. 527 (2003)
  • (Unsigned) Foreword to Current Pressures on International Humanitarian Law, 28 YALE J. INT’L L. 317 (2003)
  • Oluwaseun O. Ajayi & Kendra Kinnaird, Exceptions to Federal Preemption of State Regulation of Federal Savings and Loans Open Door to Enforcement of State Consumer Protection Laws, 2010 Emerging Issues 5399 (Nov. 15, 2010)
Work History
  • Office of General Counsel, United States Department of Education, Staff Attorney