Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor

Of Counsel
Tel 215.864.8121
Fax 215.864.8999

Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor helps companies, organizations, and institutions design, implement, and administer their employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements.

Ada's practice encompasses qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, governmental plans, church plans, health and welfare benefits, and fringe benefit arrangements. She applies knowledge gained from her years as an employee benefits litigator to provide practical, comprehensive legal and business counsel on plan implementation, qualification, design, eligibility, vesting, contributions, distributions, loans, and day-to-day benefits administration.

She has extensive regulatory experience assisting clients on compliance with federal laws including ERISA, ACA, HIPAA, HITECH, COBRA, the ADA, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). She has also represented clients in various investigations and audits before the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Ada helps clients navigate employee benefits issues in the context of mergers and acquisitions, including due diligence, pre- and post-closing conversion strategy of equity compensation, plan mergers and terminations, transition planning and benefit representations and warranties in agreements. In the area of executive compensation, Ada drafts executive employment agreements, incentive compensation plans, equity compensation plans, severance plans, and retention plans. She assists with disclosure of executive compensation under U.S. securities laws, from initial public offerings to ongoing and periodic disclosure obligations. She also advises on Institutional Shareholder Services guidelines to determine their potential effect on say-on-pay shareholder votes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ada helps employers understand their employee benefits obligations under the Families First and CARES Acts. She also helps employers in pandemic-related bankruptcy proceedings address payment of pre-bankruptcy employee benefits, implement key employee retention plans (KERPs) and key employee incentive plans (KEIPs), navigate the assumption or rejection of executory contracts including employment agreements and collective bargaining agreements, and assists in modifications to pension plans and health and welfare benefits.

Judicial Internship

Hon. Reggie B. Walton, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Professional Activities

Leadership Committee, Ballard Spahr Black Lawyers Group

Member, The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia

Member, National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Division, Philadelphia Chapter

Member, ERISA Network

Member, Nigerian Attorneys Association


Co-author, "IRS Guidance Provides COVID-19 Relief for Participants Taking Retirement Plan Distributions and Loans," Ballard Spahr alert, June 25, 2020

Co-author, "IRS Issues Guidance Allowing Employer-Sponsored Leave Donation Programs for COVID-19 Relief," Ballard Spahr alert, June 18, 2020

Co-author, "DOL’s Long-Awaited Electronic Disclosure Rule for ERISA Retirement Plans is Finally Here!" Ballard Spahr alert, May 28, 2020

Co-author, "IRS Provides Flexibility for Employer-Sponsored Cafeteria Plans and FSAs in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic," Ballard Spahr alert, May 13, 2020

Co-author, "Health Insurance Exchanges: A $12B Judgment," Ballard Spahr alert, May 1, 2020

Co-author, "FAQs on Families First and CARES Acts Implementation for Health Plans," Ballard Spahr alert, April 17, 2020

Co-author, "PBGC Provides Pandemic Relief for Pension Plans," Ballard Spahr alert, April 15, 2020

Co-author, "The CARES Act – How the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Impacts Employee Benefit Plans," Ballard Spahr alert, March 26, 2020

Co-author, "IRS Provides Relief for High-Deductible Health Plans to Cover COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Without Deductibles," Ballard Spahr alert, March 13, 2020

Author, "The SECURE Act and other Novel Developments in Employee Benefits," Advanced Workshop on Employee Benefits, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, February 27, 2020

Co-author, "SECURE Act In; Cadillac Tax Out: The Spending Act Makes Serious Changes to Benefits Rules," Ballard Spahr alert, December 23, 2019

Speaking Engagements

Presenter, "Furloughs, Layoffs, and Related Employment and Benefits Issues," Ballard Spahr webinar, March 26, 2020

Speaker, "the SECURE Act and other Novel Developments in Employee Benefits," Advanced Workshop on Employee Benefits, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, February 27, 2020

Speaker, "Cybersecurity Threats to Employee Benefit Plans," Ballard Spahr webinar, December 12, 2019

Community Activities

Volunteer, Genesis Women’s Shelter

Volunteer, Miriam's Soup Kitchen

Volunteer, AARP Service Day

American University Washington College of Law (J.D. 2012)
International Law Reports Editor, American University International Law Review
Member, Moot Court
Student Attorney, General Practice Litigation Clinic
Executive Board Member, Black Law Students Association
Rising Star Award for leadership, academic excellence, and commitment to the legal profession
Pro Bono Pledge Award for advancing the causes of low-income and underrepresented communities
Recipient of WMACCA Corporate Scholarship, Mary Arends Scholarship, and Maryland State Bar Association J. Franklyn Bourne Scholarship

Southern Methodist University (B.A. 2007)

Not admitted to practice in Pennsylvania


District of Columbia