August 2015 
An intense planning meeting with Co-Chairs, Mark Tarango and Will Delgado
The editors of the NAMWOLF Newsletter sat down with Annual Meeting Co-Chairs, Will Delgado (W) and Mark Tarango (M), to talk about the upcoming Annual Meeting in Hollywood in September.  This is a partial transcript of that talk.....
Q.           Okay, biggest question first: how is the planning going?
W.          Stupenderrifically which, you might not realize, is a real word.  You should totally use it next time you play Scrabble.  Triple word score on that and the only other word you'll need to spell for the rest of the night will be "B-O-S-S" because that's what you'll be playing like.
M.          This is what I have to put up with on a near daily basis.  It's absurd.
W.          True.  But in a totally boss sort of way.
M.          The planning is going really well.  The schedule is set, the speakers are set, the General Counsel panel is set.  At this point, we just need to fine tune some of the details. (Click here to keep reading.)
CEOAugustA Note from the CEO...
By: Joel Stern, NAMWOLF
I hope you are enjoying your summer and looking forward to our Annual Meeting in September.  As we all prepare for that great event, I want to focus on the ways in which we can all spread the word about NAMWOLF.
I have often spoken and written about my favorite part of my job - visiting corporate legal groups across the United States and sharing the NAMWOLF story.    Ideally, when I meet with corporate legal groups, I have an opportunity to meet with the General Counsel, legal leadership, and the diversity and inclusion legal committee, if one exists. The meetings typically last an hour and consist of an informal discussion focusing on the four pillars of a great in-house legal diversity and inclusion program: internal focused, pipeline, "big firm" and supplier diversity. My goal is to establish the context for the importance of NAMWOLF, which can provide companies with much-sought-after supplier diversity. (Click here to keep reading)
One Year Later:  How to Network After Your First NAMWOLF Annual MeetingOneYear
By:  Oscar Lizardi, Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, PLLC, Tucson, Arizona
One year ago, our firm attended its first NAMWOLF Annual Meeting. I had no experience with NAMWOLF, nor did I have high expectations for what we would experience other than CLE credits.  To admit that the NAMWOLF Annual Meeting is far more than CLE courses and that NAMWOLF's mission of promoting true diversity within the legal profession far exceeded my personal expectations, would be an understatement.   As "newbies" we were impressed to find the atmosphere throughout the networking events and Law Firm Expo to be one of inclusion which makes NAMWOLF so different from other associations.  We were introduced and invited to participate freely.

I read an article written by NAMWOLF's 2011 Executive Director where he made mention of Napoleon Bonaparte's quote, "Ability is nothing without opportunity".  NAMWOLF is opportunity.  The environment of NAMWOLF fosters relationships that produce opportunity.  Nationally speaking, after joining several of the Practice Area Committees, we have had the opportunity to connect with other law firms from across the country and be introduced to potential clients that we would not have in the past.  The quality of not only our fellow NAMWOLF member firms but that of the proposal requests has motivated us to seek a bigger national presence. (Click here to keep reading)
By Brittney Dobbins, Esq., Brown Law Group, San Diego, CA
In addition to planning fantastic events for NAMWOLF, Mark Tarango is Managing Counsel of Toyota Financial Services (TFS), overseeing business and real estate loans, workouts, supplier and technology agreements, fork-lift and heavy-truck divisional matters, general corporate transactions and department-wide budget responsibilities. 

TFS is the captive automotive finance company for Toyota's operations in the United States.  It is one of the nation's largest and highest-rated captive finance companies, with more than four million active finance accounts and six million insurance agreements in force.  The company's current managed assets total nearly $106 billion.  TFS employs over 3,200 people across the country. 

Toyota boasts a diversity initiative that has resulted in over one billion dollars of business with minority and women-owned suppliers every year.  Legal participates in this initiative by working with minority and women-owned law firms. (Click here to keep reading)
 PerezMorrisSpotlight Member Firm:  Perez & Morris LLC
Perez and Morris LLC is a business law firm with offices in Columbus, Ohio and the New York City metropolitan area, with attorneys also licensed to practice in Florida. The firm's goal is to exceed its clients' expectations with superior service with unique fee arrangements and without the bureaucratic inefficiencies of a larger firm.
1.      When was the firm founded?
Founded in 1997 by Juan Jose ("John") Perez, with Troy Morris joining in1999, Perez & Morris has always aimed to put its clients' needs first and to acquire talented attorneys who represent a diverse body of ideas, experience, and cultures. The majority of the firm's practice is devoted to representing business clients with their various legal needs.  The firm's client roster includes several fortune 500 companies, as well as mid-sized and smaller companies in the retail, restaurant, commercial real estate, manufacturing, insurance and banking industries. (Click to keep reading
PACs Continue to Demonstrate Their ImportancePACsDemonstrate
By: Linda G. Burwell, PAC Oversight Director
As NAMWOLF continues to grow, NAMWOLF's focus on its Practice Area Committees (PACs) is becoming increasingly important.  Practice Area Committees are formed based upon the substantive area of law practiced and are one of the vehicles by which in-house counsel can find attorneys who practice in a specific area of law.   PACs also serve as the vehicle for lawyers and law firms to work together and serve as resources for each others' clients. 
There are currently nine PACs: Insurance, IP, Labor & Employment, Transactional, Trials, White Collar, Products Liability, Restaurant, Retail and Hospitality, and Financial Services Litigation.  Each PAC has its own leaders and committee structure.  They have monthly (if not more) meetings with an approved budget and yearly goals and are engaged throughout the year. (
Click here to keep reading)
Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decision May Prove Problematic For Anti-Discrimination Efforts SupremeCourt
By: Olga M. Serafimova, Esq., Royal LLP, Northampton, MA Submitted on behalf of the Labor & Employment PAC
In 1982, Wisconsin became the first state to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation both in the public and private sphere.  Massachusetts was the next state to do so in 1989 and subsequently took the lead in the nation on the issue of same-sex marriage by legalizing it in 2004.  After the Supreme Court's recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the nation.  At the same time, less than half of the states recognize sexual orientation as a protected category under their anti-discrimination statutes with regard to both public and private employers.  This disparity has raised the question of what impact, if any, will Obergefell have in these states through the federal employment discrimination laws. (Click here to keep reading)
How Will Decertification Petitions Fare Under the NLRB's New Rule?Decertification
By: Linda Joseph, Esq., Schröder, Joseph & Associates, LLP, Buffalo, NY Submitted on behalf of the Labor & Employment PAC

In late 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") issued a Final Rule governing representation-case procedures.  It claimed to be designed to "remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of representation questions." The very interesting question the Final Rule's amendments raise is whether the Board will treat decertification petitions in the same fashion as certification petitions under the new amendments. Our firm, Schroder, Joseph & Associates, LLP, had the opportunity to represent an employer in the very first hearing held under the Final Rule before NLRB Region 3.  We were excited about the prospect since the Petition was the THIRD decertification Petition filed with Region 3 concerning this employee and the prior two were dismissed. The Petitioner previously had been the union steward for the facility for many years and claimed to have at least 70% support from the employees. (Click here to keep reading
Accommodating Pregnant Employees: Reviewing Employer Accommodation Policies in Light of the Supreme Court's Decision in Young v. UPSPregnantEmployees
By Daniel Carrillo Gunning, Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP, San Diego, CA Submitted on Behalf of the Labor & Employment PAC

Passed by Congress in 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat "women affected by pregnancy . . . the same for all employment-related purposes . . . as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work."  42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k).  Thirty-seven years later, the United States Supreme Court in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., addressed the question of what it means to treat pregnant employees "similar in their ability or inability to work" and specifically, how this provision applies in the context of an employer's policy that accommodates many, but not all, employees with work limitations based on characteristics unrelated to pregnancy. (Click here to keep reading)
Road and Access Pitfalls when Handling Real Estate TransactionsRoadandAccess
By: Reginald A. Long, Esq., Love and Long, L.L.P., Newark, New Jersey | Submitted on behalf of the Transactional PAC

When representing developers and other clients in the purchase and development of vacant or under improved land, road and access issues must be properly identified and handled to avoid perils and pitfalls. Generally, legal access to real property can be determined by deed only if the legal description clearly establishes that the real property abuts a public road. However, reliance solely upon a deed to determine access to a public road may be ill-placed in the case of real property abutting a limited access public road, such as a highway.  In such event, there may not be any legal access to the public road notwithstanding that the fact that the property abuts the highway[i].  If the real property does not abut to a public road, an appurtenant access easement from which legal access to a public road from the dominant estate (beneficiary) over the servient estate (grantor)[ii] must be established through an existing appurtenant access easement or an access easement negotiated with the abutting property owner contemporaneously with the land transaction or through curative measures.  (Click here to keep reading)
"Most Workers Are Employees": The Impact of the New DOL Misclassification GuidanceMostWorkers
By: Carolyn Rashby, Miller Law Group, San Francisco, CA Submitted on behalf of the Labor & Employment PAC

All businesses that use independent contractors must take an up-close look at those relationships, in light of new interpretive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  The DOL asserts that "most workers are employees" for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and sends a strong message that it will continue to aggressively police how employers classify workers. The guidance, issued on July 15, 2015, expresses the DOL's concern that misclassification is a significant problem for workers (fewer benefits and statutory protections) and the economy (lower tax revenues for the government and a competitive disadvantage for businesses that properly classify their workers).  Thus, the DOL says that the new guidance is aimed at providing assistance to employers and employees in understanding classification standards and will thereby help curtail misclassifications.  Significantly, the guidance applies not just to the determination of worker status under the FLSA, but also under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. (Click here to keep reading)
CrossMarketingCross Marketing Successes
By: Linda G. Burwell, PAC Oversight Director

I have had many cross marketing successes over the last several years when I was the co-owner of a women-owned employment law firm, and now over the last 1½ years since I sold my interest in that firm.  Those successes included many referrals to other firms and many referrals to me.   Some of the successes over the 1½ years since I narrowed my practice to begin working solely with in-house counsel and law firms in third party workplace investigations, mediation and monitoring, include:  
1.  A law firm member referred a national retailer to me to monitor a state-wide class action case that had been filed against the retailer in Michigan. A  national big box employment firm represented the company in the litigation due to its experience in the specialized subject matter.  I was hired by the general counsel to act as his de facto AGC during the pendency of the case.  This engagement lasted for one year and had me strategizing in the defense and monitoring the national firm's work.  (Click here to keep reading.)
The Marketing Best Practices Committee features LinkedIn Expert at 2015 Annual MeetingMBP
By: The Marketing Best Practice Committee
The Marketing Best Practices (MBP) Committee is excited to announce that social media brand expert and principal of KLN Consulting Group, Kevin L. Nichols, will be our guest speaker at the NAMWOLF Annual Meeting. Kevin will present his LinkedIn for Lawyers program, demonstrating how to build a professional presence and how to generate a qualified referral source for new business. Kevin has worked with international law firms including Morrison & Foerster, Paul Hastings, Heller Ehrman, and Holland & Knight. The MBP Committee was drawn to him because of his dedication to diversity in the legal profession as well as his social networking expertise. He has been published in The Recorder, on, in the American Bar Association's Business Law Corporate Counsel eNewsletter, and in Law & Technology News and has been featured on LinkedIn's Hall of Fame, on Yahoo's Blog, in the Examiner, in CNN Money, in MarketWatch, and in the Wall Street Journal. So if you haven't quite figured out the best way to create business opportunities through LinkedIn, join Kevin on Friday, Sept. 18, from 3:40-4:40 p.m. for a presentation that will leave a lasting impression. And as an added bonus, the MBP Committee will be sponsoring free headshots by a professional photographer for your profile!  (Click here to keep reading.)

Disputes alleging unauthorized trading, breach of contract, unsuitable investments. When problems like these arise, investors and the securities industry turn to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's (FINRA) Dispute Resolution forum to resolve their disputes.
FINRA operates the largest securities dispute resolution forum in the world, and facilitates the efficient resolution of monetary, business and employment disputes between investors, securities firms and individual brokers. (Click here to keep reading)
MentorApply for the Emerging Leaders Mentoring Program!
The Emerging Leaders Mentoring Program matches newer and more experienced attorneys into mentoring relationships to provide a safe and meaningful forum for mentees to receive independent advice on their careers and ask hardline questions to lawyers outside of their organizations without fear of negative consequences.  The program hopes to create lasting personal relationships between women and minority lawyers to foster long-term career success.

The program is actively seeking applications for mentees and mentors!  Placements are made on a rolling basis by geography and practice area, and there is no deadline to apply.  While there are no formal guidelines, mentors generally have at least ten years of practice experience.  Both in-house and law firm mentors are welcome!

Interested?  Please complete the questionnaire or contact Janeen N. Lofton (  or Milele N. St. Julien (
Upcoming Events...UpcomingEvents
2015 Annual Meeting & Law Firm Expo
September 16  - 19, 2015
Loews Hollywood Hotel - Hollywood, CA
Click HERE for more information and to register!

2016 Business Meeting
February 21  - 23, 2016
Royal Sonesta 
New Orleans, LA

EditorsA Letter From the Editors.... 

We are pleased to publish the Third Quarter 2015 NAMWOLF Newsletter. Please remember to circulate this email to all the members of your firm. The Newsletter is a true reflection of the talent that we have at NAMWOLF. From Joel's insights from the helm, to the spotlights on our stellar corporate and firm members, to the insightful articles from our PACs and committees, the many faces of NAMWOLF are on display in this issue. We hope you enjoy the issue and please CIRCULATE it to all the members of your firm or organization, so they can read it too. We were pleased to learn that starting with this issue, Wells Fargo will be providing a link to the newsletter on its Wells Fargo Law Department Legal Diversity and Inclusion Council website. Hint, hint to our other Corporate legal departments.
Our hard-working Newsletter staff consists of: Angela France (PCT Law Group, PLLC, Alexandria, Virginia), Crystal Vanderputten (The Livingston Law Firm, Walnut Creek, CA), Oscar Lizardi/Pat Lopez/Tim Reckart (all of Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, Tucson, AZ), Keely Herrick (Parks Wood Law, Atlanta, Georgia), Amy Kurson (Reyes Kurson, Chicago, IL), Susan D. Koval (Nemeth Law, Detroit, MI) and Joshua Brown (Lee + Kinder, Denver, CO) and of course, we could not publish without Jane Kalata (NAMWOLF).
Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions.
Sonjui L. Kumar
Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee, LLC - Atlanta, GA
Jamie Rudman
Sanchez & Amador, LLC - Oakland, CA