Shawn Ray White

General Counsel, Smith Family Circle, the Will and Jada Smith family office 

Shawn Ray White is an experienced corporate executive and a dedicated public servant with a strong background and proven record of success in both corporate and nonprofit settings. In October 2021, she joined as General Counsel, Smith Family Circle, the family office that manages the assets and business enterprises of the Smith family (Will Smith, Jada, Willow, Jaden, Trey, and their family circle), based on the principle of Improving Lives. Previously, she served as a member of the executive team of The Barack Obama Foundation as General Counsel, and its most senior attorney, responsible for leading the legal team and the provision of all legal services including those related to the design and construction of the Obama Presidential Center. Prior to joining the Obama Foundation, White served as General Counsel and a member of the leadership team for the Eli & Edythe Broad family office, The Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation, the Broad Museum, The Broad Center, and The Broad Art Foundation.

Shawn began her legal career in 2001 as an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in the Capital Markets Practice Group. Drawing on her undergraduate training in Latin American studies and her Spanish proficiency enhanced during an exchange year in Spain at age sixteen, she also served as a member of the firm’s Latin American Practice Group. During her tenure, she worked on a broad range of global transactions representing issuers and underwriters in debt and equity offerings, borrowers and lenders in finance and banking matters, and private equity firms and public companies in mergers and acquisitions matters.

Shawn left Simpson Thacher in 2006 to join Prudential Financial as Vice President – Corporate Counsel in the enterprise-wide governance, securities law, and strategic transactions group. At Prudential Financial, she provided legal support to the business development department on acquisitions, joint ventures, and divestitures for its international businesses in China, India, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and Mexico, and she assisted on ESG, board governance, securities disclosure, and treasury matters. While at Prudential, she was tasked by its general counsel to serve as chief counsel to The Prudential Foundation. In this role, she provided legal support to the foundation’s oversight board and negotiated and documented program-related investments, grant-making initiatives and Prudential’s corporate level contributions, global employee volunteerism projects and social investments for Prudential’s Community Resources Division.

Drawing on her deep interest and expertise in international transactions and negotiations, Shawn served as Head of the International Contracting Group at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) from 2015- 2018, where she focused on negotiating agreements in support of the global internet domain name ecosystem and advised on global infrastructure agreements, intellectual property matters, privacy laws and risk mitigation. Prior to joining ICANN, Shawn served as the first internal general counsel of one of the largest minority-owned federally chartered banks with branches in New York and New Jersey. There, she sat on the executive committee which oversaw strategic planning and organizational management for the bank and its holding company. In building this new position, Shawn leveraged her strategic planning acumen, her finance and economics training, her corporate transactional expertise, and her passion for community development. Prior to law school, Shawn was a financial analyst in New York.

Throughout her career, Shawn has maintained an active commitment to public service as a mentor and through various pro bono programs. During law school, she spent a semester fighting against predatory lending and housing discrimination as a clinical student attorney at the East Palo Alto Community Law Center.
Shawn holds a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in Spanish and a concentration in Latin American studies from Barnard College, Columbia University and a juris doctor from Stanford Law School, Stanford University. She was recently awarded the National Association of Women Lawyer’s Public Service Award, the National Congress of Black Women’s Shirley Chisholm Award, and the National Bar Association Women Lawyer’s Division Outstanding Inhouse Counsel Award, and nominated for the Los Angeles Times Inspirational Women Awards, and the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Leadership Award. Award, and the National Bar Association Women Lawyer’s Division Outstanding Inhouse Counsel Award.

She currently resides in her hometown of Los Angeles, California.


  • National Association of Women Lawyers' Public Service Award
  • National Congress of Black Women's Shirley Chisholm Award
  • National Bar Association Women Lawyer's Division Outstanding Inhouse Counsel Award
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles’ Corporate Excellence Award
  • The Los Angeles Times Inspirational Women Award - finalist
  • The Los Angeles Business Journal's Women Leadership Award - finalist
  • National Bar Association Sankofa Award


  • Stanford Law School, Stanford University | Stanford, CA | Juris Doctor
  • Barnard College, Columbia University | New York, NY | B.A. Economics | Minor: Spanish | Concentration: Latin American Studies