A Note from the CEO...CEONote
By: Joel Stern, NAMWOLF

Hello NAMWOLF Friends,
We are almost half way through 2017 and it's been an exciting year for NAMWOLF, our firms and in-house. In February, we had a great Business Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale that broke attendance records for both total attendees and in-house counsel.  What pleased me most was the large number of first time in-house attendees who raved about our organization, our meetings and the law firms and in-house counsel who participated.  The reviews for the meeting were glowing including the networking opportunities, the hotel and warm and sunny location. The "Pitch Perfect" pilot was so successful that we are going to expand it next year in San Diego. Thanks to the firms that participated and in-house counsel who acted as judges. We also appreciate the comments about the pilot that we will use to improve the program as we roll it out next February in San Diego. Thanks to Jessica Lewis and Bacardi Jackson for being such tremendous co-chairs and all those who helped put on this program. Planning for our Annual Meeting in NYC is well underway and we are confident it will be our best Annual Meeting ever. Stay tuned for registration which should open later this month. For in-house counsel, it's a great opportunity to see NAMWOLF and our firms and it's at no cost to in-house.   
I am also excited by the renewed interest in solving versus admiring the diversity and inclusion legal challenges we have been focusing on for years. ABA Resolution 113 is a great example of General Counsel support for moving the ball in the right direction and taking demonstrable steps to drive real and sustained improvements in our profession. Recent comments and actions by Kim Rivera, General Counsel of HP, Facebook and others are also generating positive energy to effectuate change. The key is to keep this issue top of mind and make certain that the actions put in place remain at the forefront of legal group agendas. Thanks to Prudential, Mastercard, Accenture, Walmart and BoA (and many others) for publicly advocating the benefits of NAMWOLF and using NAMWOLF firms. The increasing amount of positive press by our in-house counsel groups is helping to enhance our brand and the brand of our firms.  While we have a long journey ahead of us, a lot of positive progress has been made in the last year.
In the past year, we have developed a one hour and fifteen minute CLE on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession that has been accredited in several states for professionalism, bias busting, ethics and diversity. It not only covers NAMWOLF, but also addresses that state of our profession, "best in class" diversity and inclusion legal programs and the adverse impact of unconscious bias in our profession, which I believe is the number one impediment to more progress. The presentation has been given in several states and for several companies and it has received very positive reviews.  It's a great way to bring NAMWOLF into corporate legal groups and get in-house counsel galvanized about supplier legal diversity. In late May, I will be giving the CLE to the ACC NJ Chapter.  If interested in learning more about this CLE, please find me. 
We have kicked-off a very exciting re-branding and website project led by our Communications Committee. We are excited to be working towards a new website and to revamp and enhance NAMWOLF's brand.  We are looking forward to completing this before the end of 2017.
Finally, I want to thank my amazing NAMWOLF Team, the Board, and the in-house Advisory Council for all the work they are putting in to help achieve our vision and mission. If we are truly the sum of our parts, we are in great shape having such a passionate group of law firms and in-house lawyers supporting this great organization.
If anyone has any questions about NAMWOLF, feel free to contact me or anyone on my team. We are here to help.  
Take care,
Walmart Ready: 
A Template for In-House Legal Departments Seeking to Diversify Outside Counsel HiresWalmartReady

By Vanessa M. Snyder, The Axelrod Firm, P.C., Philadelphia, PA and Preston L. Pugh, Formerly with Pugh Jones & Johnson, P.C., Chicago, IL

At the 2017 NAMWOLF Business Meeting, Alan Bryan, Senior Associate General Counsel-Legal Operations and Outside Counsel Management for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., addressed a crowd of several hundred in-house and outside counsel, highlighting an issue he believed many of the in-house attorneys in the room may be facing:  "we noticed a clear underutilization of diverse firms in some practice areas."  According to Bryan, diverse firms were making counsel lists, but were not getting hired.  There was a disconnect-hiring attorneys indicated that "we have a unique group of associates-how do we trust [new outside counsel] to go into our stores and work with them?"  The answer-we need to make them Walmart Ready!

Bryan and his colleagues developed Walmart Ready, an onboarding program for women and diverse outside counsel from across the country.  The program, which is going into its third year, is held at Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.  In 2016, Walmart invited approximately 100 pre-screened, women and diverse outside counsel for a day of training on its business, company culture, and legal operations, along with practice area breakout sessions.  Walmart Ready was effective from its launch, garnering at least 25% of attendees with new assignments or expanded representation of Walmart within a year of attending. (Click here to keep reading)
CenterPoint Energy Honors Legal Team's MWBE Efforts
CenterPoint Energy's efforts to increase the amount of work contracted to diverse law firms  earned honors recently for its Legal department's supplier diversity team.
The company's president and CEO, Scott Prochazka, presented awards to the team and to Jason Ryan, vice president of Regulatory and Government Affairs, for their continuing initiative. Houston-based CenterPoint Energy has increased its participation in NAMWOLF and hosted a reception in conjunction with the national NAMWOLF conference held in Houston in September.
"While we have much to be proud of, we also have plenty of room to do even better," Prochazka, president and CEO, told an audience watching in person and via live stream at the company's annual Supplier Diversity Recognition Breakfast.

The Legal Department created its supplier diversity team after CenterPoint Energy's general counsel, Dana O'Brien, began seeking ways for her department to support the company's overall efforts to increase its work with minority- and women-owned suppliers. She asked Ryan, a member of the company's Supplier Diversity Council, to assemble a team of attorneys with the mission to increase the department's use of diverse law firms and suppliers. ( Click to keep reading)
Spotlight Member Firm: Goosmann Law FirmGoosmann
Headquartered: Sioux City, IA

Goosmann Law Firm is a full-service business law firm with locations in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The firm has done over two billion dollars in deals and have a combined total of over 450 trials in state and federal courts.
1.       When was the firm founded and who are the firm's founders?
When Jeana Goosmann founded Goosmann Law Firm in 2009, she knew she was taking a big risk. "Like a lot of entrepreneurs, it was a difficult decision because my current situation was a good one and a safe one," she said. "I just knew I wanted more." She focused her firm around business law and positioned herself as The CEO's Attorney, providing full-service legal and business advice to local and regional business owners. Her growing firm now practices in an array of practices areas including agricultural law, banking law and finance, bankruptcy law, business law, construction law, cyber law, employment law, divorce and family law, gestational surrogacy law, health law, mergers and acquisitions, real estate law, telecom law, litigation, arbitration and mediation, and estate planning.
"If it matters to the client, it matters to me," adds Goosmann. "My favorite part of representing women-owned businesses is that I have a unique understanding of how to navigate the role, its benefits, and its opportunities." (Click to keep reading)
Business Partner Spotlight - Exponent, Inc.    Exponent
By: Angela H. France, PCT Law Group, Alexandria, Virginia

Exponent, Inc. is a publicly traded, leading engineering and scientific consulting firm. Exponent works with law firms, insurers and in-house counsel on claims involving:
  • Personal Injury
  • Toxic Tort & Environmental
  • Product Liability
  • Construction Defect/Delay
  • Intellectual Property
  • Insurance Defense
Exponent employs the best and the brightest from the major academic institutions around the world as well as technical specialists from a variety of industries. The company prides itself on a high quality of staff of approximately 1,000 employees. More than 700 are degreed technical professionals, and over 450 have earned an M.D. or Ph.D.
For nearly 50 years Exponent has provided engineering, scientific, environmental and health consulting services to corporations, insurance carriers, government agencies, law firms and individuals. The firm has been best known for analyzing accidents and failures to determine their causes, but in recent years it has become more active in assisting clients with human health, environmental, engineering and regulatory issues associated with new products or processes to help prevent problems in the future. 
Diversity is a Core Value at Exponent
Exponent is committed to attracting and retaining an exceptional team of scientists and engineers in a workplace that values and celebrates diversity. As Exponent continues to expand, its commitment remains through active participation and leadership in many local and national minority and community organizations. Exponent was a proud sponsor of the 2017 NAMWOLF Business Meeting and 2016 Annual Meeting. (Click to keep reading)
Submitted by the Insurance PAC

By: Emilia A. Quesada, Esq., Sanchez-Medina, Gonzalez, Quesada, et al. (SMGQ Law) in Miami, Florida

Review of an administrator's benefit determination under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") when the arbitrary and capricious standard of review applies is ordinarily limited to the administrative record, however, a recent trend in Florida district courts is allowing limited discovery in these cases.  This article sets out the standard of review in ERISA benefits determination cases and analyzes the decisions of Florida district courts that permit discovery.    (click to keep reading)
10 Questions to Ask Before Signing That New Service AgreementQuestions
Submitted by the Labor & Employment PAC
By: Deborah Fabricant, Boutwell Fay LLP
"Attached is Our Standard Service Agreement..."
Sound familiar? Employers and others (referred to in this article simply as "Employer") who outsource services for their employer benefit plans to vendors, such as record keepers, third party administrators, custodians, and investment advisors, should be wary of so-called "standard" vendor service agreements, many of which have already been amended and circulated in anticipation of the new DOL fiduciary rule (the effective date of which is now delayed until at least June 9, 2017.) We work with many of our clients in reviewing and negotiating proposed service agreements, and in our experience, a vendor's "standard" agreement has generally been designed by its attorneys to protect the vendor. Employers need to carefully review and negotiate proposed service agreement terms (even if their plans are not covered by ERISA) to ensure that they are balanced, fair and reasonable, comply with ERISA where applicable and other applicable law and do not create liabilities, duties and obligations that they, in hindsight, never would have "bargained for." Below are just a few of the most common areas that should be scrutinized and negotiated with the help of business and legal advisors. (Click to keep reading).
Submitted by the Labor & Employment PAC
By: Carolyn Rashby, John Feldmann & Oswald Cousins, Miller Law Group

"A Day Without Women." "A Day Without Immigrants." "Fight for Fifteen" strikes. Across the nation, workers are either failing to report to work or walking out on specified days, to draw attention to economic and social inequalities. Many employers have been supportive of the protests and some have even closed their businesses in solidarity. Other employers have disciplined or terminated employees who participated. 

Over the coming year, employers can expect similar protests, such as a second "Day Without Immigrants" that is in the works for May 1, International Workers' Day. What legal and practical risks should employers consider before they discipline employees for participating in these events? Here's an overview of what employers should know about how to navigate "Day Without" and similar demonstrations. (Click to keep reading).
Part II: Recent Decisions Affecting Insurers' Attorney-Client Privilege ProtectionPartII

Submitted by the Insurance PAC
By: Moheeb Murray, Partner, Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC, Troy, Michigan
Part 1 of this article noted decisions from three jurisdictions (Ohio, Washington, and New York) that limited the application of the attorney-client privilege for insurance companies, particularly when attorneys take on roles in claims investigations.  As those cases and others show, it is critical for insurers and their counsel to do all they can to preserve the privilege at every turn.  Part 2 of this article provides some practical tips for how to maximize the likelihood their written communications will be deemed protected under the attorney-client privilege. (Click to keep reading)
IoT Innovation and USPTO Decisions in a Post-Alice WorldPostAlice

Submitted by the Intellectual Property PAC

By: Robert Suarez, Espinosa Trueba Martinez P.L., Miami, FL

We have reached the next industrial revolution and it is largely driven by innovation in the "Internet of Things" (IoT). From smart phones and smart watches to smart TV's and even smart buildings, devices that are connected to, and interconnected with, vast data networks, present a seemingly limitless opportunity for innovative companies to tap into new avenues of economic growth. Processors, memory and sensors are well known and used in combination to create a variety of devices. The real innovation driving the IoT revolution is the software that runs on the hardware, interacts with the user and transforms the hardware into a new and useful invention. ( Click to keep reading)
Using Motions in Limine When ParachutingUsingMotions

Submitted by the Trials PAC

By: Joyce Gist Lewis, Shingler Lewis, Atlanta, Georgia

At the February 2017 Business Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, members of the Trials PAC and in-house counsel from The Krystal Company/On the Border (Sloane Perras), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (J. Stuart Tonkinson) shared their advice and experience for achieving a successful outcome when new counsel must be brought in on the eve of trial. Among the takeaways, motions in limine can be used in many jurisdictions to narrow the issues for trial, even where the predecessor counsel failed to raise the issue on a motion for summary judgment. This article will address considerations for counsel in deciding how to use motions in limine when parachuting into a case for trial. (Click to keep reading)
Dear Fang: Third EditionFang2

Submitted by the Marketing Best Practices Committee

By: Alexis Lightner, Legal and Marketing Intern, The Axelrod Firm, PC, Philadelphia, PA and Washington, D.C.

How the NAMWOLF Marketing Best Practices Committee Brought Family Feud to NAMWOLF 2017

At the 2017 NAMWOLF Business Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the NAMWOLF Marketing Best Practices Committee (MBPC) presented an entertaining and interactive game of Family Feud that showed off the latest tools firms can use to take their marketing to the next level while saving time and money. In touching on everything from creating presentations and newsletters, to analytics and beyond, Host Lizz Harvey and the Kalata and Stern families presented the most practical, inexpensive resources available for members to enhance their marketing and outreach initiatives while also giving the audience a good laugh.
Throughout the game show-style presentation, the families were quizzed on the best resources available to meet a variety of marketing needs, with the MBPC highlighting a few of their favorites in between each round. Several MBPC-recommended tools include Constant Contact, Adobe Creative Cloud, Envato Market, CrowdSpring, Law360, and Evite. (Click to keep reading)
Vendor Ambassador Program Celebrates Valued Sponsors at the Business Meeting in Fort Lauderdale

By: Anne Widlak, Partner, Nemeth Law, P.C., Detroit, MI VAmbassador
In a continuing effort to strengthen the relationships between vendors  (n/k/a Business Partners) and  attorneys, NAMWOLF once again sponsored the Vendor Ambassador
From left to right -- Kristian Robert, Director of Business Development for Midwest Litigation Services, is pictured NAMWOLF member Taylor Fields, and Account Manager Mert Seaton at the Vendor Expo.
 Program as an important part of the February 2017 Business Meeting.  Jane Kalata recruited attorneys to volunteer to serve as ambassadors who reached out to select vendors that were assigned to them.  Ambassador-attorneys initially welcomed the vendors to the meeting and emphasized what an important role they played in the conference.  Over the course of the meeting, ambassadors visited with the vendors to check on their ongoing needs, answered questions and provided information about NAMWOLF.  Ambassadors also encouraged NAMWOLF members to spend time at the vendors' tables.  These opportunities gave the vendors multiple opportunities to explain to attendees what their company had to offer and how it might be useful to their practices. ( Click to keep reading )
2017 Sponsors and Business PartnersSponsors

LetterEditors A Letter From the Editors.... 
Dear NAMWOLF Members -
We hope you enjoy this issue of the NAMWOLF Newsletter. Please CIRCULATE it to all the members of your firm or organization.
Our hard-working Newsletter staff consists of: Susan D. Koval (Nemeth Law, Detroit, MI), Angela France (PCT Law Group, PLLC, Alexandria, VA), Crystal Vanderputten (The Livingston Law Firm, Walnut Creek, CA), Oscar Lizardi/Pat Lopez/Tim Reckart (all of Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, Tucson, AZ), Amy Kurson (Reyes Kurson, Chicago, IL), Joshua Brown (Lee + Kinder, Denver, CO), Lauren Hunt (Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira, Miami, FL), Elizabeth Carter (Hill Hill Carter, Montgomery, AL), Frances K. Browne (Brody & Browne, New York, NY) and Michele Desoer (Zuber Lawler & Del Duca, Los Angeles, CA) and of course, we could not publish without Jane Kalata (NAMWOLF).
Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Susan Koval
Nemeth Law, PC - Detroit, MI
Angela France  
PCT Law Group, PLLC - Alexandria, VA