Joseph K. West

Joseph K. West: Attorney with Duane Morris LLP AV stamp icon
  • Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Duane Morris LLP (799 Attorneys)
  • 505 9th Street, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004
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Biography

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.

Experience

•Duane Morris LLP
- Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, 2016-present

•George Mason Antonin Scalia School of Law
- Lecturer, Corporate Leadership and Diversity, 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 of New Orleans, LA Office; Head Litigation Partner, 1996-1999

•Wilkerson & Henry
- Partner, 1995-1996

•Bryan, Jupiter, Lewis & Blanson

•Partner, 1991-1995

•Carter & Cates
- Associate, 1986-1991

Board Memberships

•Xavier University of Louisiana
- Board of Trustees

•Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Member of Board of Directors, 2017-present

•Louisiana State Museum Board
- Chair (appointed by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and confirmed by Louisiana Senate), 2002-2006

•Orleans Parish Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
- Member; Chairperson (appointed by New Orleans City Council), 1988-1996

Honors and Awards

•Named one of the Most Influential Black Lawyers, Savoy Magazine, 2018

•Diversity Collaboration Award, JTB Pipeline Organization, 2016

•Beacon Diversity Award, Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, 2014

•Louis L. Redding Lifetime Achievement Award, Delaware Barristers Association, 2014

•Minority Business Leader Award, Washington Business Journal, 2014

•Power 100 list of the nation’s most influential minority attorneys, Lawyers of Color, Inc., 2013-present

•CUP Catalyst, Council of Urban Professionals, 2012

•In-House Counsel of the Year, National Bar Association, 2010

•AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Civic and Charitable Activities

•Walton Arts Center Corporate Leadership Council, 2009-2011

•Arts Council of New Orleans, 2003-2005

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Selected Publications

•Quoted in In-House Counsel Tout Diversity Initiatives at Legalweek, Corporate Counsel, January 30, 2019

•Featured, GCs at Georgetown Hear Why It Pays to 'Meddle' With Outside Law Firms, The National Law Journal, March 19, 2018

•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

•Speaker, Taking Unconscious Bias out of the Equation, Georgetown Advanced Commercial Leasing Institute, April 12, 2019

•Moderator, Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession, Corporate Counsel Institute: An Insider’s Guide to Washington, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2019

•Keynote Speaker, ALA Attorney Luncheon , Association of Legal Administrators, New York City, March 12, 2019

•Speaker, Law in the Corporate World, Tulane Law School Black Alumni Weekend, New Orleans, LA, February 9, 2019

•Moderator, View from the GCs: Driving Diversity in Law Firms, Legalweek, January 29, 2019

•Co-Moderator, General Counsel Roundtable: Inclusive Leadership in a Global Business Community, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s Fellows Alumni Speaker Series, Miami, December 12, 2018

•Moderator, Addressing Implicit Bias in the Workplace, Duane Morris/Deloitte Event, Washington, D.C., December 11, 2018

•Speaker, The Corley Institute for Diversity & Inclusion Education Inaugural Conference, Arlington, VA, November 4-6, 2018

•Co-presenter, Diversity and Inclusion - Both the Right Thing to Do and a Competitive Imperative in the Workplace , Duane Morris Institute (DMi) Webinar, November 1, 2018

•Speaker, Business Development Bootcamp: A Practice Guide for Associates and Junior Partners, CMCP Annual Business Conference, San Francisco, October 11, 2018

•Moderator, Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Impact on Unconscious Bias on Progress, and Lessons Learned to Improve Success, The 22nd Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., March 15, 2018

•Speaker, Embracing Diversity and Inclusion & Improving the Practice of Health Law, CBA Health Law Committee Meeting Presentation, Chicago, November 30, 2017

•Keynote Speaker, Implicit Bias , Florida Bar Symposium Plenary Session, November 10, 2017
•Keynote Speaker, Diversity & Inclusion-2022; Five Future trends for the Next 5 Years, ALA Philadelphia Managing Partners Luncheon, November 9, 2017
•Presenter, Embracing Diversity & Inclusion & Improving the Practice of Health Law, Illinois Association of Health Care Attorneys Annual Meeting, November 2, 2017
•Speaker, Legends Breakfast with Bill Duke (Film Legend), 37th Annual Conference of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, Montego Bay, Jamaica, October 26, 2017
•Speaker, Implicit Bias, The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Path to Inclusion Symposium, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, November 10, 2017
•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
•Presenter, Implicit Bias, Duane Morris LLP, Los Angeles, January 27, 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

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
202 776 7806  Phone
202 478 2672  Fax
dnmrs.co/attorneys/josephkwest.html#tab_Biography
University Attended:
Southern University, B.A., 1983
Law School Attended:
Tulane Law School, J.D., 1986
Year of First Admission:
1987
Admission:
Louisiana; District of Columbia; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana; U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
Memberships:

Professional Activities

•American Bar Association (ABA)
- Commission of Women in the Profession, 2018
- Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, 2016-present
- Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360 (appointed by ABA President), 2015-2016
- Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education, 2014-2015
- Commission on Racial and Ethnic 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, 2009-2011

•National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms
- Advisory Council Member, 2009-present

Birth Information:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 24, 1961
Reported Cases:
Representative Matters: Class Action - DUKES V. WALMART - In-house counsel at Walmart Stores, Inc. co-managing this matter, which was the largest class action matter of any kind in U.S. history. As Associate General Counsel for Class Actions/Complex Litigation, provided guidance and input on trial and appellate strategy, assisted in managing the amicus brief process before the U.S. Supreme Court and oversaw post Supreme Court of the United States strategy for mini-Dukes state court litigation in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to deny class certification.; Environmental and Toxic Tort Litigation - GREFER V. ITCO, ET AL. - Lead counsel for Entergy subsidiary, System Fuels Inc. ( SFI ), as a co-defendant of Exxon Mobil in a series of cases stemming from an oilfield equipment cleaning operation in Jefferson Parish Louisiana. Approximately a dozen other cases were spawned from this matter that involved Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials. In the original Grefer case, the plaintiffs were awarded a judgment against Exxon Mobil in the amount of $1.06 billion. Of the numerous defendants in the matter, only one, SFI, paid zero.; Product Liability Litigation - HANSEL V. TAKATA INC. - Lead counsel for Takata Inc., Takata Restraints, Inc. and Takata Corporation in a very highly publicized case that became the subject of a book and film entitled Chappaquiddick on the Bayou . The case involved the death of a 25- year-old student, Shelly Hansel, in a vehicle that was driven into Bayou St. John by Dr. Chris Nabors, who escaped from the submerged vehicle through the sunroof and failed to inform rescue workers that the Hansel remained in the vehicle. The Hansel family sued multiple defendants including various Takata entities, alleging as to Takata that the restraint system in the Eagle Talon was defective and failed to release in a manner to allow Hansel to also escape the vehicle. After years of extensive discovery, motion practice, two mediations and several pre-trial conferences, a dismissal via Motion to Dismiss was obtained for Takata.; Catastrophic Injury/Death Litigation - JOHN GODFREY V. ENTERGY OF LOUISIANA - Lead counsel for Entergy of Louisiana wherein plaintiff was one of four occupants in a vehicle who all suffered severe injuries as a result of a collision with a utility pole. One individual died in the crash, two others suffered debilitating head and neck injuries and named plaintiff John Godfrey was left a quadriplegic. Having taken over the matter after it had been previously tried to a mistrial, additional discovery was conducted and a zero verdict was obtained for Entergy of Louisiana.; Transportation Litigation - CRUZ V. DERBYSHIRE AND LOUISIANA DOTD - Lead counsel for Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in this death case that involved the allegation that poor highway design of a state road in St. Bernard Parish Louisiana contributed to the plaintiff's death. A dismissal via directed verdict was obtained for Louisiana DOTD and the appeal of this matter was successfully argued before the Louisiana Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.; Labor and Employment - POST-KATRINA LABOR GRIEVANCES - Lead counsel for Entergy of Louisiana in litigation stemming from losses sustained by the company to its infrastructure during 2005's Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in labor grievances. The labor grievances were presented before arbitration panels in New York State, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The issues litigated mainly arose from alleged violations of the various applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements and ranged from donning and doffing issues, to emergency deployment restoration working conditions, to violations of plant security procedures. Approximately 30 matters were resolved by arbitration or negotiated settlement within an eighteen month period.; Civil Rights Litigation - UNITED STATES V. STATE OF LOUISIANA - Between 1991 and 1994, served as lead counsel for the State of Louisiana's two HBCUs in the nation's then longest running school desegregation lawsuit. Other parties included the U. S. Department of Justice, the Louisiana State Board of Education, the Office of the Governor and the boards of trustees of the state's other institutions of higher learning. Obtained a negotiated settlement that included $117 million in new funding for Southern University and Grambling State University; the elimination of duplicate programs at Southern and LSU, which duplication was having the impact of perpetuating a separate but equal system at the university level, and the creation of the state's community college system to provide an opportunity for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the college system when they might otherwise not have that chance. The settlement was lauded as groundbreaking and received media coverage.; Entertainment Law - LOU DUVA AND LOU DUVA BOXING, INC. - Lead counsel for boxing promoter Lou Duva in a dispute with an ex-manager of one of his fighters, Alex Bunema, who had enjoined a fight that was to take place on the same day as a result of a fee dispute. Successfully obtained emergency injunctive relief on behalf of Duva after being retained, researching the case, interviewing clients and witnesses, obtaining the requisite affidavits, preparing and filing the Temporary Restraining Order and arguing the injunction all within an 8-hour period.; Utilities Regulatory - LOUISIANA OVERHEAD POWERLINES SAFETY ACT - Litigated the first matter to be brought pursuant to this law that requires persons working within ten feet of overhead power lines to undertake certain notification steps prior to commencing work. Obtained a favorable ruling as lead counsel on behalf of a public utility, which was upheld on appeal.; Telecommunications Regulatory- NEW ORLEANS TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORDINANCE OF 1996 - Drafted and argued for passage of this ordinance, which was the nation's first of its kind city ordinance modeled on the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
ISLN:
902834918

Peer Reviews

5.0/5.0
A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

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