Fondungallah & Kigham, LLC: Advocating for Justice at Home and Abroad

Fondungallah & Kigham, LLC has a legacy of more than 20 years of service to clients in Minnesota, across the United States and across the world. Founder Michael Fondungallah and Senior Partner Pamela D. Kigham bring experienced representation and a global vision of justice to a wide range of practice areas, including discrimination law, employment law, family law, general litigation, immigration law, personal injury law and international law (Cameroon).

Fondungallah’s practice centers on civil litigation; federal employment; employment investigations; compliance, reviews and audits; and auto accidents. Also licensed to practice in his home country of Cameroon, Fondungallah collaborates with a global network of firms to handle international matters including investments, business contracts, intellectual property protections, adoption and immigration.

Kigham represents clients in the areas of family law, immigration, landlord/tenant, insurance and personal injury matters, as well as conciliation court cases. She also advocates for the best interests of children in her work as a guardian ad litem with the First Judicial District.

“We have a broader focus not limited to one area of law,” Kigham says. “It meets more needs of families in the areas of family and immigration as well as discrimination cases. Clients who come in most often have other issues or family members and friends who need help with family law issues as well as immigration help. They come in needing help in one area and end up realizing they can use our services in other areas as well.”

Fondungallah and Kigham are more than colleagues, they are in-laws, and the family atmosphere they create puts clients at ease during distressing circumstances. Together with Fondungallah’s wife, they are a family of lawyers, all of whom completed degrees in law from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon before their journeys brought them to the United States.

The family was living in Texas when Fondungallah was admitted to William Mitchell College of Law. He admits that the relocation to Minnesota seemed daunting at first. “I almost didn’t come because of the stories I heard about the cold. But I met with the dean of studies and was given an advanced standing as a lawyer in a foreign country. Instead of four years, I was able to complete the night-school program in only two-and-a-half years.”

Fondungallah paved the way for the the rest of the family to follow and complete their U.S. law degrees as well. “The three of us lived in the same house, and we all pulled together and finished,” he says. Pulling together also meant caring for new additions to the family, as Fondungallah‘s first two sons were born during his term at William Mitchell.

Senior Partner Pamela D. Kigham and
Founder Michael Fondungallah

Fondungallah began his law career in Cameroon with a passion for international business. Due to limited practice opportunities at home, he immigrated to the United States with a goal of facilitating business ventures between Cameroon and other nations. Although much of Fondungallah’s early practice was focused on immigration, the firm’s reliable and compassionate approach to resolving complex immigration issues became the basis for many of its long-term client relationships.

From that foundation of trust, Fondungallah went on to develop a robust federal employment practice. “I started representing employees at the V.A. who were being disciplined. As I got to know the issues federal employees face, especially nurses and doctors, the more I got into this area of law. I discovered this is a niche area, and there are not a lot of lawyers in the Midwest who practice in this area. Eventually, I started working with clients from the Postal Service, the Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”

Fondungallah has also achieved his original aspiration of practicing international law. Fondungallah & Kigham is member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the world’s leading arbitral institution that helps to resolve international commercial and business disputes in order to support global trade and investment. The firm is currently expanding its arbitration practice both domestically and in Cameroon. 


Michael Fondungallah
Pamela D. Kigham

“I travel back home to Cameroon and maintain my license there,” Fondungallah says. “Most corporations or people who want to deal in Cameron use arbitration as their mode of resolving disputes. This is because the rule of law is not reliable. It may take forever to get through the courts, and you don’t know what will happen. Arbitration is a quick process. You can get a decision and move on. As a result, arbitration is growing in the Central Africa region. The unified, uniform business law for that area recommends arbitration. It is also a growing area here. We are involved in a few cases now where we are representing people going before an arbitrator to resolve disputes. This year, we joined the U.S. International Business Committee that is part of the ICC. We can get more training there and be on the panel for arbitrations. Jeff Olson is our paralegal, and he has done a lot of auto warranty and real estate arbitrations. He and Pamela will both be doing arbitration work.”

The firm’s favorable ties to entities overseas make it an effective ally in dealing with foreign governments. Fondungallah & Kigham was instrumental in helping an American family resolve a crisis in Central Africa.

“Congressman Tom Emmer (U.S. House of Representatives) reached out to us about an American citizen who had been working in the Central Africa region and died in a plane crash,” Fondungallah says. “The family had not been able to recover the body, and he wondered if we could help with the situation. We were able to talk with our contacts back home, and work with the government and partners on the ground, to go into the jungle and recover the body.”

Pamela D. Kigham, Michael Fondungallah and Paralegal Jeff Olson

Both Fondungallah and Kigham are tireless supporters of community in Minnesota and Cameroon. In addition to his service to the MSBA Litigation Committee, Fondungallah is a regular volunteer at the Ramsey County Law Library Clinic and Anoka Housing clinic. He is also a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the U.S. Center for International Business. He maintains strong ties with the Central African community via his work as chair of the Lewoh Cultural and Development Meeting and through his service to the board of the Sasse Old Boys Association.

Fondungallah is married with four children, and the family enjoys close association with their worship community.

In 2016, the Fon (king) of the Lebialem region of Cameroon visited the United States and honored Fondungallah with a chieftaincy for service to his home village and to the Cameroonian community in the U.S.

“I was given my own area, and now when I go home, I have to go there as a chief and help to develop the area where I have been assigned,” Fondungallah says. “I am now building a dynasty to pass on to my children. In African culture, the chief does not die, but travels and returns in his successor. Last year, I took all my kids back home to introduce them to this culture so they will understand it and know how to nurture it. Hopefully, one of my sons will be ready to take over when I leave.”

Located in Southwest Cameroon, Lebialem is a lush landscape of forests and farms. Fundungallah hails from the village of Lewoh, and he calls his community Modwem. “It means ‘Son of God,’” he says. “I decided to give it that name because I never sought to be chief. It is a calling, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.”

I was given my own area, and now when I go home, I have to go there as a chief and help to develop the area where I have been assigned.

Pamela D. Kigham
Michael Fondungallah

Kigham also renders generous pro bono service in immigration and family law. She has participated in a number of legal clinics, including those for the Brooklyn Park Police, the Immigrant Law Center and for diverse African communities in the Twin Cities. She has taken pro bono cases from Advocates of Human Rights and Volunteer Lawyers Network and low bono from Judicare of Anoka County. Currently, she is doing screening with the Volunteer Lawyers Network.

With their unique understanding of the cultural nuances and legal procedures of both Central Africa and the United States, Fondungallah and Kigham are able to bridge cultural gaps and create effective legal solutions for their clients. Their strong belief in justice and desire to help people inspires them to do so in ways that preserve business and personal relationships. 

“We like to find solutions that are not necessarily achieved through fighting in court or spending a lot of money,” Fondungallah says. “Back home, the tradition is that a family sits down to resolve their problems, knowing they will still live together in that community. Through the law, our hope is that we can find ways for people to resolve their differences amicably.”

Fondungallah & Kigham, LLC

2499 Rice Street, Suite 145
Saint Paul, MN 55113
(651) 482-0520

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