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2021 In-House Counsel Awards: Sufia Alikhan Orbe

General Counsel

Axiom Product Administration

Sufia Alikhan OrbeAs the first lawyer hired by her current employer, Sufia Orbe appreciates every opportunity she has to be a proactive lawyer able to effectuate change. “I’m part of the executive management team at Axiom,” she says. “I have my hand on all of our company’s various legal issues. No two days are ever the same.”

When Orbe graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law, the United States was dealing with the fallout from the Great Recession. She found a job as a contracts administrator for an information technology firm. While working full time there, she earned her LLM in intellectual property and technology law at Washington University School of Law.

Orbe moved on to positions as a staff attorney, associate general counsel and legal counsel before joining Axiom’s team in 2021. She is responsible for managing all of the company’s business operational legal matters and providing counsel to internal departments. Currently, she is working on setting up legal entities and managing the process of hiring resources for Axiom’s global expansion in Columbia, Australia and Poland.

“I knew in law school that in-house was the job I wanted,” she says. “I enjoy combining business and legal — being a business partner and having a seat at the corporate table. I work to protect our company from risk and provide advice on how to prevent problems from happening again.”

Axiom is growing very quickly, and Orbe is there to manage all the legal issues so the owners can focus on managing the growth. “Lawyers are often viewed as the ones who are in the room to say no,” she says. “I take time to explain the why and what the risks are. That leads our team to have a strategy and get to a solution that works for all of us.”

A St. Louis native, Orbe takes pride in her hometown. She loves the Cardinals, toasted ravioli, and the dog she and her husband adopted during the pandemic shutdown. She is also an aunt to 11 nieces and nephews. In her leisure time, she enjoys skiing, traveling, cooking and crafting.

“If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I would have become a baker or chef,” Orbe says. “But I’d have to be great at it. Both of my parents are great cooks. I try to emulate their recipes and perfect their techniques.”

As a woman in the in-house counsel field of law, Orbe often feels the pressure. “I have to know my stuff,” she says. “I research and study 10 times harder than I probably need to. I want to make sure others know I’m smart and capable, and that I will contribute.”

Orbe is grateful for the many opportunities she has had to grow and be successful in her career. And she is already seven years ahead on her plan to achieve her career goals.