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The View from the GCs: Driving Diversity in Law Firms

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 65 minutes
Recorded Date: January 30, 2019
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  • The relationship between Diversity and Inclusion
  • The impact of Implicit Bias
  • Steps that GCs and their corporations have taken to incorporate D&I culture into their workplaces
  • How GCs are holding law firms accountable going forward
  • Effects of Mansfield 1.0, ABA 113, and the Rooney Rule
Runtime: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Recorded: January 30th, 2019


Although many corporations now have effective D&I initiatives in place, their law firms are lagging behind. In this session, GCs will discuss how they view their law firms’ diversity initiatives, effects of Mansfield Rule 1.0, and measures they are taking to ensure law firms move the needle forward in diversity.

This program was recorded as part of the LegalDiversity & Talent Management Forum at the Legalweek Conference held on January 30th, 2019.

Provided By

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Andy Yoo

Former Vice President & Associate General Counsel

Andy Yoo is Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Pearson, the world’s leading learning and education company, whose corporate mission is to improve people’s lives through learning. He has significant experience leading teams and working in the education sector ranging from K-12, Higher Education, and Adult professional/vocational training and employability. His work focuses on Publishing, Educational Technology, Copyright and Trademark, Online Learning, Learning Platforms, Educational Research, Digital Content Distribution, Antitrust, Consumer Protection, Strategic Partnerships, Litigation and In-House operations.

He is also passionate about and head of the Diversity and Inclusion efforts within the Pearson Legal Function. In order to increase diversity in the legal profession, he serves on the Board of the Pipeline to Practice Foundation and the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and is active with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), Diversity Lab, NAMWOLF and the National Federation of the Blind. Prior to Pearson, he was associated with the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore and in-house at Viacom.

Andy graduated with a B.A. from Cornell University and received his law degree from NYU where he was a member of the Law Review and Order of the Coif.

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Ann Kappler

Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Head of External Affairs
Prudential Financial

Ann Kappler is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel and Head of External Affairs. Ann serves as Chief Litigation Officer and oversees significant regulatory matters and legal support for government relations, as well as internal investigations, employment and ERISA, intellectual property, technology and general contracting. Prior to joining Prudential, Ann was a partner in the Financial Institutions, Litigation, and Public Policies and Strategies practice groups at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, D.C. She has extensive experience in the financial services industry, particularly mortgage banking and insurance.

Prior to returning to private practice in 2006, Ann served as General Counsel at Fannie Mae. Previously, she was a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block, where her practice included long-term representation of a coalition of insurance agent and broker trade associations on insurance and banking issues. Ann has served on the Boards of Directors of several non-profit organizations and is currently the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Lowell School in Washington, DC.

She graduated from Dartmouth College, received her law degree from New York University School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, and was a law clerk to Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Abner Mikva and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry Blackmun.

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Simon Des-Etages

Deputy General Counsel, Global Retail Banking & Wealth Management

Simon is a seasoned attorney with extensive international experience advising on a broad range of legal and regulator matters, and a particular expertise in wealth management and private banking. He has a track record of delivering client value; cost effective legal solutions and practical, commercial legal advice. Simon is able to communicate at the highest levels within an organization and a team player with a commitment and ability to develop and manage experienced teams of attorneys.

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Tami Collingwood

Attorney, GCFC US Enterprise Commercial

Tami is an attorney at Microsoft’s Corporate and Legal External Affairs (CELA) team. In her role, she provides legal support for Microsoft’s U.S. commercial enterprise business team for the Great Lakes region, and assists in driving their technology transaction sales. Additionally, Tami is lead field attorney responsible for supporting internal clients and external customer needs, requirements and education for the legal industry (both law firms and corporate legal departments).

Tami's primary legal expertise includes negotiating a wide range of complex cloud and IT commercial agreements such as cloud volume licensing and services, professional and consulting services, and procurement and sourcing for corporate shared services software purchases and implementations (IT, Finance, HR, Marketing etc.). She has additional legal experience in HR employment, training and development, and non-compete agreements, OEM and affiliate agreements, corporate and digital marketing, and technical IT mapping for mergers and acquisitions.

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Joe West

Partner, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Duane Morris LLP

Joseph K. West is a partner in the firm's Trial Practice Group and practices in the area of complex litigation, handling a variety of matters in areas including, but not limited to, class actions, insurance litigation, commercial litigation, zoning and land use, catastrophic injury, products liability, and labor and employment. Mr. West is also a member of the firm’s Partners Board and serves as the firm’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, in which capacity he manages Duane Morris’ comprehensive firm-wide diversity and inclusion program and he chairs the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Practice. Mr. West advises domestic and global companies on a wide array of legal issues, and also represents, trains and advises numerous associations and companies, including publicly traded companies and their boards and CEOs, on issues related to diversity and inclusion and the compliance, risk management and corporate strategies associated with these issues. He helped establish the first of its kind law firm diversity and inclusion consulting practice at the firm, which has been cited for its innovative approach to crafting sustainable diversity and inclusion programs and solutions for corporate entities. His clients range from startups to Fortune 500 companies and currently include Walmart Stores, Inc., Exxon Mobil, The Carolina Panthers, the Dubai-based Al Ahli Holding Group, Mercedes Benz-USA, Altria, Discover Financial Services, Inc. and Jabil Circuit, Inc.

Mr. West is an award-winning, nationally recognized subject matter authority in the field of diversity and inclusion, having worked, lectured and written extensively on diversity and inclusion issues impacting businesses and the legal profession. He has lectured at the George Mason Antonin Scalia School of Law on corporate leadership and diversity and was retained by the school to develop the first of its kind curriculum on corporate diversity and inclusion.

Prior to joining Duane Morris, Mr. West spent almost five years focused on diversity and inclusion within the legal profession as President and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). Prior to MCCA, Mr. West was Associate General Counsel – Head of Global Outside Counsel Management at Walmart Stores Inc., where he was responsible for managing the company’s relationships with all of its outside counsel worldwide, including oversight of over 600 law firms and a budget of over $300 million. He was also a member of Walmart’s Class Action/Complex Litigation Group, where he helped manage and develop litigation strategies for several groundbreaking matters, including the largest class action matter in U.S. history. Before joining Walmart, he served as Assistant General Counsel in the Litigation Group of Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy and current Fortune 500 company. There, he served as lead counsel on a number of high-profile jury and bench trials, appellate arguments and arbitrations on behalf of the company. Prior to Entergy, Mr. West spent over 13 years as a litigator and partner in law firms in Louisiana, representing clients in state and federal courts and in arbitration and mediation.

Mr. West developed his extensive knowledge in diversity and inclusion matters working with companies and law firms to improve their diversity and inclusion metrics, training and programs. At Walmart, Mr. West successfully leveraged his role as Head of Global Outside Counsel Management to establish and meet the company’s diversity and inclusion goals through its outside counsel spend, for which he is recognized as being at the forefront of the business case for diversity, and to facilitate the company’s role as an initial signatory to the Inclusion Initiative with the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms. As President and CEO of MCCA, he tripled membership in the national advocacy group for corporate diversity and inclusion issues and created programs focused on expanding opportunities for minority lawyers and women in corporate law departments and within member firms, enhancing legal skills for corporate lawyers and facilitating business development opportunities for corporate lawyers.

Mr. West was elected and currently serves on the board of directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He currently serves as a member of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which oversees the accreditation of the nation’s law schools, and is serving a one-year term as a member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Mr. West is also serving a three-year term as a member of the Xavier University of Louisiana Board of Trustees. He previously served on the ABA Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360 via appointment by then-ABA President Paulette Brown. He was a member of the ABA Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education, and has served on the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. Mr. West was also a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s ACC Value Challenge Steering Committee and has served on the Arts Council of New Orleans and the Walton Arts Center Corporate Leadership Council.

Mr. West has been named to Savoy Magazine’s 2018 list of Most Influential Black Lawyers. He was awarded the Diversity Collaboration Award in 2016 by the JTB Pipeline Organization, the Beacon Diversity Award in 2014 by the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, the Louis L. Redding Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 by the Delaware Barristers Association, and the 2014 Minority Business Leader Award by the Washington Business Journal. Each year since 2013, he has been named to the Power 100 list of the nation’s most influential minority attorneys by Lawyers of Color, Inc. Mr. West was named a CUP Catalyst by the Council of Urban Professionals in its 2012 inaugural list and in 2010 he was named In-House Counsel of the Year by the National Bar Association. His contributions beyond the legal community were recognized by ABC and NBC for the personal care he extended to patients stranded at Methodist Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, during and after Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city of New Orleans in 2005.

Mr. West is a graduate of Tulane Law School, where he formerly served as Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Southern University.

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