Samuel Borbor-Sawyer

Senior Associate Buffalo

Sam is a senior associate in Phillips Lytle’s Litigation Practice Group, who advises clients in various industries, including energy, education, health care, finance, insurance, technology and telecommunications, conducts their internal investigations, and represents them in disputes.

As a business litigator, Sam represents clients in various types of matters, including antitrust and trade practices, contract disputes and general business disputes. He has experience handling federal multidistrict litigations and class actions. He has litigated in federal and state courts across the country and is well versed in motion practice, appellate practice and e-discovery.

In labor and employment, Sam counsels and represents clients regarding union disputes and arbitrations, employment discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, employment contract disputes and internal investigations. He also has experience advising governmental entities regarding employment issues.

Within higher education, Sam counsels clients regarding student affairs and conduct, housing policies and risk management. He also conducts internal investigations (including Title VII and Title IX). He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

In the telecom industry, Sam advises and assists clients in the U.S. and abroad on the deployment of critical digital infrastructure.

Sam also has experience assisting court-appointed referees and receivers and serving as court-appointed pro bono counsel in civil rights cases implicating deliberate indifference.

Beyond his legal practice, Sam is a gifted singer, vocal coach, keyboardist and songwriter.


Honors & Awards

  • Named Upstate New York Super Lawyers® Rising Star, 2023
  • Named to Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America®
  • Listed in The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers in New York, 2020
  • Phillips Lytle Diversity Scholarship, 2016
  • Sierra Leone Law School Outstanding Academic Performance in Law Award for Second Highest GPA in LL.B. Class of 2012
Awards & Certifications

Education & Admissions

  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2017
  • Sierra Leone Law School, BL, 2013
  • University of Sierra Leone, Fourah Bay College, LL.B., First Class Honors, 2013
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • Sierra Leone


Representative Matters
  • Representing a health insurance plan in a consolidated multidistrict antitrust class action litigation and several related opt-out actions where plaintiffs, including large subscribers and provider groups, alleged that the plan and others conspired to fix prices and limit competition.
  • Providing counsel to a private research university with over 25,000 employees regarding union-related issues.
  • Providing counsel to an energy company with over 2,100 full-time employees regarding union-related issues.
  • Represented a health insurance plan and its holding company in an opt-out action filed in California state court alleging that the plan and others conspired to fix prices and limit competition. The action was dismissed after a motion to dismiss, oral arguments and supplemental submissions.
  • Represented an energy company in an arbitration regarding a union grievance and obtained an award denying the grievance.
  • Represented an energy company in action alleging unlawful meter relocation and obtained dismissal of the action after oral arguments in New York State Supreme Court.
  • Represented an adjudicator sued in federal court for alleged discrimination, ruling on a Title IX matter. After filing a motion to dismiss, the complaint against the adjudicator was dismissed.
  • Represented a bank in a class action alleging improper overdraft fees. The case settled on terms favorable to the bank.
  • Served as counsel to referee and receiver in the dissolution proceedings of a notable personal injury firm.

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Co-Presenter, “Digital Infrastructure and Regulatory Framework as Determinants of 5G Success,” Accelerating 5G Deployment in South America, WIA, March 2024
  • Co-Presenter, “Strategies to Establish More Inclusive and Equitable Work Environments,” Phillips Lytle Breakfast Briefing Webinar, June 2023

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center, Inc., Board of Directors, Member

Past Activities

  • Ukulele Kids Club Inc.
    • National Board of Directors, Secretary
    • Governance Committee, Chair
  • Judicial Extern, Hon. Paula L. Feroleto, New York State Supreme Court, 8th Judicial District, 2017
  • Buffalo Law Review, Associate
  • Buffalo Intellectual Property Law Journal, Associate
  • Buffalo Performing Arts Law Society, Founder
  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School – Class of 2019 (1L, Sections S1 & S2) Legal Analysis, Writing & Research Course, Writing Fellow

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Business Law Section
    • Litigation Section
    • Young Lawyers Division
  • Bar Association of Erie County
    • Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy Law Committee
    • Federal Practice Committee
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York, Inc., Board of Directors, Director
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Antitrust Law Section
    • Business Law Section

Articles & Publications


  • Co-Author, “New York State Education Department Requires School Districts to Replace Native American Mascots or Obtain Tribe Approval,” The Daily Record, December 2022