Women in Business, Women in Law, Women in Policy

Career Conversations with Ezenwanyi Abii

Ezenwanyi (Zya) Abii is the Principal attorney at the boutique firm, Abii & Associates, PLLC. A well-rounded attorney and business professional with extensive legal and business experience in Maryland & Texas. Her current practice draws from her business and professional experience to focus on Real Estate law,, Estate planning, Business/Contracts issues and Business Mediation.

She is a graduate of University of Houston Law Center and Howard University Business School, a Yoga enthusiast and a mother of 2.  She currently holds a license in the state of Maryland and in Texas maintains her employment part time in a major Oil & Gas company while serving her community through her law practice. 

1)What go you interested in law?  I don’t remember one incident that got me interested in law but as a child I was usually the accuser and defender, depending on which cousin was in the wrong and I enjoyed that. Over time, there was more consideration for what brought joy, provided autonomy and options for the future. I found that a law degree gave me all that and more. I am able to utilize it knowledge as needed while also giving myself an option to leverage it in other industries.

2) Favorite part about your job? Least favorite part about your job?  At this stage in my career, I have two jobs with different benefits and challenges. I still maintain my job at a corporation working in Procurement contracts while developing my own business (law firm) for the next phase of my career. On the corporate side, I enjoy the people, the business aspects of procurement, contracting and supplier management. The least favorite would be the pace and constant attention to putting out fires, this sometimes takes away the ability to plan and execute efficiently. On my personal business end, I love the fact that I get to work with individuals and small businesses. My law practice focuses on business/contracts, real estate and estate planning so I get to interact and build personal relationships with people. I haven’t found a least favorite part to this yet as I am still in the high of building my own thing.

3) What is your typical day like? Well, Mondays I get to work for myself. I meet with clients, usually for Business/Contracts issues or Estate Planning needs or I work on pending work in my office. I get to start the day a little later after spending some time with my kids. On Tuesdays through Thursdays, I go to my Corporate job and attend to that and any issues that arise from that side. On Fridays, I continue Mondays work or meet with Real Estate clients as needed. I have a hybrid of what’s typical and what I am creating.

4) Tell us a bit more about your entrepreneurial journey and how you balance it with your day job? My entrepreneurial journey has been in the making for sometime. In the back of time, I’ve always known autonomy and self-direction were high on the list for my desired lifestyle but I also believe in planning properly and working smart. So, I took the time to learn and work for a corporation, save up and pay off my school loans and then begin the necessary credentials to get to where I want. Eg. Taking my BAR exam in a different state because I previously had it only where I lived. So, with two new kids I studied for the BAR exam again, took my real estate licensing exam and then began putting the building blocks together to get to my own thing. I get to balance it with my day job because my company is flexible enough to let me work part time; therefore, I can take the time to develop my business. This isn’t always ideal so I was working on the business on the weekends and evenings so that if necessary, I would be able and willing to leave the day job.

5) What does diversity in the workplace mean to you? How do you promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace? Diversity to me means ability and access to different thought and ideas, based not just on gender or race but life experiences, backgrounds and general ideology. Diversity means openness to learning and accepting that which is different from you or what you are naturally aware of or aligned to.  I promote diversity and inclusion by opening up myself to ideas of others even when I may think their thoughts do not affect my position, I also actively seek to talk to others about job opportunities, ideas to improve and develop their skills to be more competitive and to pull in qualified candidates for positions when the opportunity presents itself.

6) What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career in law? My advice to anyone who has any specific goal that they want to go for is, determine your why and that WHY doesn’t have to mean much to anyone else but dig deep for your why. The clarify of purpose will fuel your passion and discipline like nothing else can

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