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August 25, 2011
Joseph K. West Named President & CEO Of The MCCA

Joseph K. West Photo
        Joseph K. West, Esq.
        Associate General Counsel
        Walmart, Inc.

Joseph K. West, currently an Associate General Counsel at Walmart, has been selected as the  new President and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, effective September 12, 2011.  He succeeds Veta T. Richardson, who is now serving in the position of President and CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)

Mr. West is an accomplished attorney with 25 years of legal experience having served as senior counsel for litigation for Entergy Corporation from 1999 to 2004 and as assistant general counsel until 2007.  At Entergy, West had first chair responsibility for all aspects of complex litigation matters and he simultaneously served as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Tulane Law School.

In 2007, Mr. West joined Walmart’s Legal Department as an Associate General Counsel and most recently was tasked with leading Walmart’s Outside Counsel Management, wherein he was responsible for managing all aspects of Walmart’s relationship with its 600 external law firms and 25,000 timekeepers.  In his efforts to increase the retention, advancement and inclusiveness of diverse attorneys both internally and with external law firms, Mr. West has made significant strides in key diversity initiatives for Walmart, which include:

     1.) adding 15 minority owned law firms to Walmart’s Outside Counsel List;

    2.) the creation of the new certification requirement Walmart imposes on its outside counsel to insure minority and women relationship partners receive their fair share of the credit come compensation time; 

    3.) boosting Walmart’s legal spend credited to minority lawyers in 2010 to $50 million, which is 17% of Walmart’s total $300 million legal spend in that year;

Mr. West’s contributions to diversity within the legal profession also include serving on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and he served as c-chair of the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award.   Mr. West was named the “Inside Counsel of the Year” in February 2011 by the National Bar Association, Commercial Law Section for making significant contributions to the advancement of women and minority lawyers nationwide. In 2009, West was named the “Outstanding Advisory Council Member” by NAMWOLF for his efforts to provide quality opportunities for women and minority attorneys in minority-owned firms.

Mr. West has been described by his colleagues as a “road builder” in the diversity arena.  During the NBA Commercial Law Section’s 2011 Counsel of the Year award program, Ben Wilson, Managing Principal of Beveridge & Diamond PC, described Mr. West as a man who has paved the way for the success of many minority partners and who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the diversity efforts he helped establish and further have a measurable and sustainable impact on diversity within the legal profession as a whole and at Walmart.

Jeff Gearhart, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Walmart said that "Joe has been an important contributor to our diversity initiatives and we are thrilled that he has the opportunity to continue work on diversity with an outstanding organization like MCCA, but we are sorry to see him leave Walmart. We wish Joe the best in his new role and look forward to continuing to work together with the MCCA under his leadership.”

Mary Snapp, Corporate VP and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft Corporation recently stated that “The Board and I are excited about this new state in MCCA’s development and look forward to working with him. Under Joe’s leadership, we expect MCCA programs and initiatives to grow and continue to advance a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.” 

A long-time acquaintance of Mr. West, Marc Morial, the President and CEO of the National Urban League said, “Joe has both the temperament and skill set to make a quantifiable difference at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The National Urban League looks forward to working closely with Joe and we wish him the best.”

Not only is Mr. West dedicated to increasing diversity within the legal profession, Mr. West cares about his community.  During hurricane Katrina, Mr. West worked shoulder to shoulder with his wife, who is a physician, helping to save lives of patients abandoned and stranded during the disaster.  Therefore, it is expected that Mr. West will make further strides in diversity in his new position at the MCCA.

Mr. West obtained his law degree in 1986 from Tulane Law School and in 1983, West received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Southern University.