Joseph K. West is a member of the Trial Practice Group and Duane Morris' Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
Mr. West served as President and CEO of Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) from 2011 to 2015, nearly tripling membership in the organization during his tenure. At MCCA, Mr. West created a number of programs focused on expanding opportunities for minority lawyers and women, notably the MCCA Academy for Leadership and Inclusion, a training program for corporate law departments and member firms created to identify and help eliminate obstacles to inclusion in the profession. He established a quarterly webinar/lecture series, as well as the MCCA Exchange and MCCA Blueprint programs, each focused on attorney skills and business development.
Mr. West has more than 20 years of experience as both in-house and outside counsel for Fortune 500 companies. Before joining MCCA, he was associate general counsel at Walmart Stores, Inc., serving as head of the outside counsel management group. In that role, Mr. West oversaw more than 600 law firms and a budget of over $300 million, and he was responsible for setting rates, managing the conflict-of-interest process and overseeing firm compliance globally. He also served in Walmart's Class Action Division, where he helped manage complex litigation, including the largest class action matter in history. Among other innovative measures, Mr. West revamped the company's outside counsel guidelines to make them more efficient and introduced value-based billing practices, resulting in significant savings for the company.
Mr. West also helped utilize Walmart's outside counsel spend to facilitate the department's diversity and inclusion goals and is widely recognized as being at the forefront of the business case for diversity. In addition, he made Walmart one of the initial signatories to the Inclusion Initiative with the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF). In 2009, Walmart was awarded NAMWOLF's Outstanding Advisory Council Member Award.
Prior to his role at Walmart, Mr. West was assistant general counsel at Entergy Corporation, a Fortune 250 Utility Company based in New Orleans, where he handled numerous high-profile trials. Both at Entergy and in private practice, he had first chair responsibility in a broad range of litigation matters and has tried more than 200 cases to verdict.
In 2016, Mr. West was awarded the Diversity Collaboration Award from the JTB Pipeline Organization. In 2014, Mr. West was awarded both the Beacon of Diversity Award from the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association and the Louis L. Redding Lifetime Achievement Award from the Delaware Barristers Association. The Washington Business Journal honored him with its 2014 Minority Business Leader Award. Each year since 2013, Mr. West has been named to the Power 100 list of the nation's most influential minority attorneys by Lawyers of Color, Inc. and was named a CUP Catalyst by the Council of Urban Professionals on its inaugural 2012 list. In 2010, he was named In-House Counsel of the Year by the National Bar Association. After Hurricane Katrina, Mr. West was cited by ABC and NBC for the personal care he extended to patients stranded at Methodist Hospital in New Orleans.
Mr. West was appointed by American Bar Association (ABA) President Paulette Brown to the ABA Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360, is 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. He is also a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel's ACC Value Challenge Steering Committee. Mr. West formerly served on the Arts Council of New Orleans and the Walton Arts Center Corporate Leadership Council; additionally, former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco appointed him to chair the Louisiana State Museum Board.
Mr. West is a 1986 graduate of Tulane Law School and earned his B.A. in journalism from Southern University. He has served as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Tulane Law School.
- Tulane Law School, J.D., 1986
- Southern University, B.A., 1983
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, 2016-present
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association
- President & CEO, 2011-2015
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Associate General Counsel, 2007-2011
- Entergy Corporation
- Assistant General Counsel – Litigation, 2004-2007
- Senior Counsel – Litigation, 1999-2004
- Tulane Law School
- Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy, 2002-2006
- Matchett, Verbois, Futrell & Henchy
- Managing Partner, New Orleans, LA; Head Litigation Partner, 1996-1999
- Wilkerson & Henry
- Partner, 1995-1996
- Bryan, Jupiter & Lewis
- Partner, 1991-1995
- Carter & Cates
- Associate, 1986-1991
- American Bar Association
- Commission on Ethnic and Racial Diversity in the Profession (Appointed by ABA President), 2010-2012
- - Spirit of Excellence Selection Committee, 2010-2012
- Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
- Member of ACC Value Challenge Steering Committee, 2009-present
- National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms
- Advisory Council Member, 2009-present
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Walton Arts Center Corporate Leadership Council, 2009-2011
- Featured in "Diversity Report," The Legal Intelligencer, June 2017
- Author, "Perspective: What We Can Learn From NCAA Diversity," Bloomberg BNA Big Law Business, April 6, 2016
- Featured in "Meet #Superman Joseph K. West," Ms. JD, February 18, 2016
- Featured in "All Inclusive: MCC Interview With Joe West," Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2016
- Featured in "MCCA CEO to Lead Duane Morris' Diversity Initiatives," The Legal Intelligencer, November 5, 2015
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Panelist, "Career Tools: Integrating Mentoring, Sponsorship, Coaching, and Networking for Maximum Effect," National Conference of Women's Bar Associations Leadership Summit, New York City, August 11, 2017
- Moderator, National Bar Association 92nd Annual Convention & Exhibits, Toronto, Canada, August 2, 2017
- Keynote speaker, "Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace," Michigan Community Action Conference, Thompson, MI, July 11, 2017
- Panelist, "Implicit Bias in the Courtroom and ABA Resolution on Diversity in Law Forms and Corporations," University of Baltimore School of Law, March 29, 2017
- Speaker, "Expectations of Corporate Clients - Is ABA Prop 113 a Tipping Point?" International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), November 29, 2016
- Moderator, "Beauty Contests: Capturing the Crown," 2016 ABA Section of Litigation Professional Success Summit, Atlanta, Georgia, November 15, 2016
- Keynote Speaker, Washington Bar Association's Law Day Dinner, Washington, D.C. May 8, 2016
- Panelist, "Diversity & Inclusion: Your Clients Care and This Is Why You Should Too!," 2016 ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, Montreal, April 9, 2016
- Panelist, "A Bridge to 21st Century Leadership and Beyond! The Making of a Diverse and Inclusive Leader," Association of Legal Administrators Webinar, New York City (Streamed Online), March 22, 2016
- Keynote Speaker, DRI Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 17, 2016
- Panelist, "Law School Rankings and Ensuring a Diverse Attorney Workforce: Is It Just Lip Service?," ABA Midwinter Meeting of the Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 16, 2016