Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor

Of Counsel
Tel 215.864.8121
Fax 215.864.8999

Adanwimo "Ada" Okafor helps companies, organizations, and institutions design, implement, and manage employee benefit plans. She provides counsel on plan setup and administration; advises on regulatory compliance under federal and state laws; and handles benefits issues that arise in transactions, including M&A tax considerations.

Ada's experience encompasses qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, governmental and church benefit plans, health and welfare plans, and other types of executive compensation 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 investments.

Ada guides clients on compliance with federal laws including ERISA, ACA, HIPAA, COBRA, the ADA, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. She also advises on tax code compliance, including for deferred compensation plans and potential so-called "golden parachute" payments.

Experienced with the spectrum of plan-related documents, Ada prepares, reviews, and advises on everything from employment and equity agreements for employers to participant communications, such as summary plan descriptions and restatements.

She analyzes employee benefits issues in the context of transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions. She advises on issues, including conversion of equity compensation, pre- and post-closing conversion strategy, new plan design, and representations and warranties in agreements. She guides clients on day-to-day benefits administration, selection of plan service providers, and investment of plan assets.

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.

Judicial Internship

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

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

ERISA Lawyers Network

Nigerian Attorneys Association


Co-author, "IRS Provides Flexibility for Employer-Sponsored Health 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

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)
Executive Board Member, Black Law Students Association
Recipient, Rising Star Award for leadership, excellence, and commitment to school mission
Recipient, Pro Bono Pledge Award for advancing the causes of low-income and underrepresented people
Student Attorney, General Practice Litigation Clinic

Southern Methodist University (B.A. 2007)
Senator, Student Government

Not admitted to practice in Pennsylvania


District of Columbia