Mary E. Snapp, Board Chair of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), announced today that Joseph K. West, currently an Associate General Counsel at Walmart, has been selected as the association’s new President and CEO, effective September 12. He succeeds Veta T. Richardson, who is now serving in the position of President and CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).
Besides 25 years of legal experience, Mr. West has extensive knowledge and involvement in diversity matters. He is a nationally recognized leader on diversity and inclusion issues, in addition to managing Walmart’s groundbreaking diversity efforts. He has served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, presented at MCCA CLE events and was honored for his diversity efforts by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF).
“Joe brings a broad range of experience to this position as an accomplished attorney and the knowledge of in-house and outside counsel challenges, as well as the workings of legal associations and nonprofit organizations,” said Mary Snapp, who is Corporate VP and Deputy General Counsel of Microsoft Corporation. “He also brings extensive governmental, corporate and legal perspectives. The Board and I are excited about this new stage 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.”
As an Associate General Counsel at Walmart since 2007, and most recently the head of Outside Counsel Management, Mr. West was responsible for managing all aspects of Walmart’s relationship with its 600 external law firms and 25,000 timekeepers, as well as the legal department’s efforts to help increase retention, advancement and inclusiveness for diverse attorneys both internally and with these external law firms.
"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," said Jeff Gearhart, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Walmart. "We wish Joe the best in his new role and look forward to continuing to work together with the MCCA under his leadership.”
A long-time acquaintance of Mr. West, Marc Morial, the President and CEO of the National Urban League said, “Joe West is a catalyst for positive change in the legal community. His innovative ideas for the inclusion of women and people of color in the halls of corporate America and blue chip law firms have enriched those institutions immeasurably. For the future of the modern day civil rights movement, 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.”
“I am honored and humbled to have been selected to lead MCCA, an organization for which I have a tremendous amount of respect,” said West. “I believe my experiences working in law firms and within Fortune 500 Corporations will ensure that I focus on collaboration with all of MCCA’s stakeholders. While managing outside counsel at Walmart, I learned the importance of appreciating, supporting and nurturing the tremendous wealth of talent that is represented by diverse attorneys in law firms and law departments and I am confident that those insights will help us to achieve MCCA’s mission.”
Mr. West was named the “Inside Counsel of the Year” in 2011 by the National Bar Association, Commercial Law Section for making significant contributions to the advancement of women and minority lawyers nationwide. In 2010, ABA President Steve Zack appointed West to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and he has served as the co-chair of the ABA Minority Counsel Program and co-chair of the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award. 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.
Prior to his positions for Walmart, West worked in the legal department of Entergy Corporation. He was initially a senior counsel for litigation from 1999 to 2004 and then became the corporation’s assistant general counsel for litigation until 2007. He had first chair responsibility for all aspects of complex litigation matters. While at Entergy, West was an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Tulane Law School.
Mr. West obtained his law degree in 1986 from Tulane Law School and from graduation until 1999, he maintained an active trial practice at a variety of law firms. In 1983, West received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Southern University.