Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and spent her early legal career working at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her husband.
She subsequently worked as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago and the Vice President for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Her faculty mentor at Harvard Law was Charles Ogletree, who has said that she had answered the question that had plagued her throughout Princeton by the time she arrived at Harvard Law, of whether she would remain the product of her parents or keep the identity she had acquired at Princeton, believing that she concluded she could be "both brilliant and black." Her friend Suzanne Alele died from cancer around this time as well, Obama later telling Katie Couric that the loss made her think of her contributions toward society and how well she was influencing the world from her law firm. Michelle met Barack Obama when they were among the few African Americans at their law firm, Sidley Austin LLP (she has sometimes said only two, although others have pointed out there were others in different departments), Barack Obama has opined that the two had an "opposites attract" scenario in their interest for each other initially since Michelle had stability through her two-parent home while he was "adventurous".
in an interview with WTTW's Chicago Tonight in which Mrs Robinson addressed the issue of race.
In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit organization encouraging young people to work on social issues in nonprofit groups and government agencies.