A Note from our CEO

By: Joel Stern, NAMWOLF

March, 2015

We are now a few weeks post the San Antonio Business Meeting and I want to share some of my reflections from this meeting.

1. There were more than 260 law firm members and in-house counsel together for three days focused on helping NAMWOLF achieve its mission and vision. Many introductions were made and relationships were either established or enhanced. I heard from several that we have the best “people” at our meetings and I know this to be the case since it was one of the primary reasons I gravitated towards NAMWOLF more than 11 years ago. It is why I so often refer to our Members and in-house as ‘family.’ I do not use that term loosely.

2. The Petco lunch session was outstanding and provided an example of how one company found a way to use NAMWOLF firms as the “go to law firms” across the United States, We need to figure out how to emulate this model in other areas of the law and with other companies. The video from the GC of Petco, Darragh Davis, is now on our website and I urge all those that didn’t see Darragh’s video introduction to take the 10 or so minutes to do so.

3. The CEO of CST, Kim Lubel, gave a great luncheon address to a sold out audience on her journey as a mother, GC and then CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Her words of wisdom were insightful and inspirational not only to women but to all of us who attended.

4. Seeing Yolanda Coly receive the first annual Yolanda Coly Advocacy Award and get not one but two standing ovations was heartwarming and so well deserved. Her passion and drive have been contagious to many.

5. Observing our in-house lawyers (long standing members and several first time attendees) not only attending but actively participating and being engaged gives me goose bumps since this is one of our primary objectives of the meeting. One in-house member who attends several legal trade association meetings said: “hands down our meetings are the best and our in-house counsel are engaged and working hard to move the needle.” I heard this from several “newbies” as well, including comments from a few who said they are going to go back to their in-house departments and share their passion for NAMWOLF and figure out what they can do more to support our cause.

6. Having stellar companies like Shell share their successes as well as areas for improvement on diversity practices in their legal group was well received and something we need to do more of. We will most likely make this a yearly event, using different companies to share their success stories so others can learn and then implement.

7. We listened to our Advisory Council and tried something different this year. The Practice Area Committee focus and the separate PAC sessions seemed to work out very well. I heard this from both Member Firms and In-house. The sessions were well attended, lively and helped to provide a forum for lawyers of similar expertise to work with each other and develop those critical relationship building blocks that ideally will lead to business. Having dine arounds grouped by practice area also seemed to work out very well. Kudos to Linda Burwell and our PAC chairs for their hard work and creativity in making these sessions fantastic.

8. Hearing from several of our new law firm members how excited they were after the meeting and that the meeting exceeded their expectations. I received several follow up notes from Member Firms stating that this was the best legal event they have ever attended.

9. The in-house and law firm only sessions were well attended and led to some thought provoking ideas. The results from these sessions lead to some great “take aways” for our Board and the NAMWOLF Team. It is this type of feedback that allows us to continuously improve and we thank you for that. We are listening! Please keep the comments coming.

10. Seeing the energy around the 2015 Annual Meeting planning process highlighted by the extremely creative and humorous video developed by our co-chairs Mark Tarrango and William Delgado gave Jane and I comfort knowing that our 2015 meeting is going to be very special.

11. Finally, I’m feeling very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with so many amazing people who care about our cause and who are working hard to effectuate change. These meetings recharge many including yours truly.