Leslie D. Davis is a respected leader, experienced advocate and logical strategist who has been a tireless champion for equity in the legal profession. As the chief executive officer of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms Inc., Leslie is uniquely aligned with NAMWOLF’s mission having been a law firm partner and rainmaker, all while successfully negotiating the challenges that come with being a woman of color in the corporate legal profession.
For more than two decades, Leslie has served as lead counsel for many jury trials, bench trials and arbitrations, obtaining favorable verdicts for her clients in complex and high-stakes cases. In addition to being a skilled lawyer, Leslie is a transformational leadership coach who prides herself on helping clients reach their highest potential. She is a sought-after speaker and has helped many organizations and educational institutions with her presentations on diversity, core energy leadership and social media. Honored by a number of professional, academic and community organizations, Leslie continues to use her talents and influence to support the needs of both the legal field and the broader community through her training, pro bono and community service contributions.
NAMWOLF is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, a milestone that coincides with a moment of challenge and disruption in the legal profession. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every business and social justice issues are increasingly a catalyst for change. Corporate legal departments are responding by demanding more diversity from their outside counsel and legal services providers. In the recent Survey of the Industry by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, 61% of the 200 in-house legal professionals polled said launching a Diversity & Inclusion program was their top priority. But, achieving this goal is often hampered by engrained behaviors and the failure to establish best practices and benchmarks to make diversity goals a reality.
Leading the NAMWOLF team, Leslie is having a substantial impact by educating corporate legal departments about the moral and business imperative for increasing diversity. NAMWOLF is well positioned to provide guidance and resources for those legal departments seeking to increase opportunities for minority-owned law firms and legal service providers. NAMWOLF’s vision and mission supports more than 200 MWBE law firms, operating in 42 states, in every major practice area. Under Leslie’s leadership, NAMWOLF will expand programming and outreach to major U.S. corporations interested in achieving meaningful change in their legal departments.
Leslie is a proud Hawkeye having earned her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and her M.A. and B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. She resides in Chicago with her husband, Theodore and two children, Niel and Ellyss, who provide the sparkle in her eyes and the resolve in her step.