A Note From Our CEO
By: Joel Stern, NAMWOLF
I hope you are enjoying your summer and looking forward to our Annual Meeting in September. As we all prepare for that great event, I want to focus on the ways in which we can all spread the word about NAMWOLF.
I have often spoken and written about my favorite part of my job – visiting corporate legal groups across the United States and sharing the NAMWOLF story. Ideally, when I meet with corporate legal groups, I have an opportunity to meet with the General Counsel, legal leadership, and the diversity and inclusion legal committee, if one exists. The meetings typically last an hour and consist of an informal discussion focusing on the four pillars of a great in-house legal diversity and inclusion program: internal focused, pipeline, “big firm” and supplier diversity. My goal is to establish the context for the importance of NAMWOLF, which can provide companies with much-sought-after supplier diversity. I then talk about the 150-plus law firms that were vetted prior to being admitted into NAMWOLF; the many in-house legal groups that are a part of this amazing organization; the practice areas our firms focus on; our NAMWOLF Partner Program and Inclusion Initiative; our Practice Area Committees; and the many ways we can help in-house counsel find a NAMWOLF firm to wow them, including the anonymous solicitation (see last newsletter). Throughout the discussion, I emphasize our compelling value proposition: high quality and high value legal services that align perfectly with the company’s supplier diversity programs. I typically end with an invitation to our Annual Meeting and answer questions. I also take the time to dispel myths about NAMWOLF and share many documents with the attorneys including our corporate counsel guide, the Guide to Bringing NAMWOLF into Corporate Legal, and the article we recently published.
These meetings are fruitful; several of the groups with whom I met will be attending our Annual Meeting, and many are looking for opportunities to meet our Member Firms. I consider this one of the most important tasks I have and one I look forward to continuing.
I extend my thanks to the many NAMWOLF Member Firms and In-House counsel who have helped arrange these meetings, allowing me to meet with many corporate legal groups in the past year. Because I am not a huge believer in “cold calling,” most of my meetings have been set up with the help of an active In-House counsel member or one of our Member Firms. When a Member Firm helps make the introduction, I invite an attorney from the firm to the meeting. The attorney focuses on selling NAMWOLF, rather than his or her own firm, which typically surprises and impresses our in-house audience. This often works to the advantage of NAMWOLF and the firm.
In addition to meeting with corporate legal groups, I often have the opportunity to speak about NAMWOLF with larger audiences. I have been asked to speak at the recently held Coca Cola Legal Diversity event, a Home Depot/ACC Georgia Diversity Summit, and an ABA Young Lawyers Division Annual Meeting panel in Chicago. I have also been asked to speak at a Florida legal diversity event in October, and all of our NAMWOLF Firms will be invited to attend. Recently, I spoke at an NMSDC Supplier Diversity meeting in Chicago, where I was able to talk with many procurement professionals who are now working to connect me with their legal groups. I shared with them that legal departments are not, and should not, be exempt from any company’s supplier diversity initiatives. Just as other parts of the business are challenged to use minority and women owned businesses, legal departments should be similarly challenged. This message needs to be spread to corporate America.
There is a simple and easy way you can help me in this important work. Please continue to connect me with corporate legal groups in the U.S. that have an outside counsel budget but do not know about NAMWOLF. A simple call or note from you can have a very positive impact on our ability to tell the NAMWOLF story. Most of my recent corporate visits occurred as a result of introductions from you, and you can help keep that momentum and continue spreading the word about NAMWOLF.
Finally, please register for our Annual Meeting. We have a great agenda, a great location, and two co-chairs who believe they have careers outside of the legal practice. Let’s make certain they stay in legal. Hollywood is not ready for Mark or Will.
See you in less than a month!
Joel Stern has been actively associated with NAMWOLF since 2006 and has served as a board member and also as chair of the In-House Advisory Council. Since 2010, he has headed his own consulting practice, providing a range of services to corporate law departments and law firms.