Seventh Annual McGlothlin Leadership Forum Introduces Students to National Leaders in Law and Business

  • Leadership and Public Service
    Leadership and Public Service  Thanks to the annual McGlothlin Leadership Forum, law students hear from successful professionals and expand their understanding of leadership and integrity. And they have a good time doing it.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Leadership and Public Service
    Leadership and Public Service  Deborah Baum, a Partner at Pillsbury Law, spoke with students in two sessions at the Law School.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Leadership and Public Service
    Leadership and Public Service  R. Brad Martin, Chairman of Chesapeake Energy, RBM Ventures & Retired CEO of Saks Inc., brought his leadership expertise to William & Mary law students.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • Leadership and Public Service
    Leadership and Public Service  James Sowell, Founder of Sowell & Company, a privately held investment company and one of the largest land developers in Texas, shared insights with students at the Law School.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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Second year law student Nick Thompson didn’t mince words when asked about William & Mary’s annual McGlothlin Leadership Forum.

“Hands down, the McGlothlin Leadership Forum is among the best three days of the school year,” Thompson said.

Since its inception in 2010, the forum has given law and business students the opportunity to engage with three top leaders in law and business during seminar-style classes and other events at both William & Mary Law School and the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. For their generosity and steadfast commitment to William & Mary, the Forum is named in recognition of Frances G. ’66 and James W. McGlothlin ’62, J.D. ’64, LL.D. ’00.

This year’s McGlothlin Fellows included:

Deborah BaumDeborah Baum, Esq. – Partner, Pillsbury Law. A leader of Pillsbury’s national Litigation practice, Baum has secured an impressive 7-0 success rate in recent cases tried to conclusion. She has been achieving winning results for more than 30 years, and her broad practice includes complex corporate, commercial, real estate, fiduciary and health care disputes, and international arbitrations.

R. Brad MartinBrad Martin – Chairman of Chesapeake Energy, RBM Ventures & Retired CEO of Saks Inc. Martin served as CEO of Saks for nearly 20 years, during which the company grew from a ten-store base in East Tennessee to become a Fortune 500 enterprise. He also co-founded Corporate Child Care, Inc., which became the largest corporate affiliated childcare company in the United States. Martin served five terms as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

James SowellJames Sowell – Founder, Sowell & Company. Now in its fifth decade, Sowell & Co. is a privately held investment company and is one of the largest land developers in Texas. The company focuses on Private Equity, Oil & Gas, and Real Estate. Sowell was President at Boy Scouts of America–Circle Ten Council and has served on numerous NY Stock Exchange companies' Board of Directors.

The three leaders came to campus on October 24-26 to engage with students and faculty in discussion, debate, and analysis on the most pressing issues of the day. And students came away impressed.

Law student Elizabeth Lester-Abdalla ’19 appreciated insight on how failures turned into opportunities, initiative turned into confidence, and being the smartest or hardest working in the room turned into lifelong success.

“I took to heart Deborah Baum’s contributions about her role and approach to law firm management and how the new classes of graduating lawyers can help to contribute to the workplace through their leadership and relationship skills,” Lester-Abdalla said. “I am indebted to the McGlothlins for bringing this experience to William & Mary and helping us to go out in the world as citizen lawyers.”

Another student, Afton Paris ’19, was impressed with the discussion session with Jim Sowell, especially when learning how lawyers can make their practice more business savvy.

“Mr. Sowell shared with us that the best lawyers he knows are the deal-makers—those who appreciate the value of compromise and who communicate clearly and consistently,” Paris said. “As the students of William & Mary transition from law students to lawyers, I hope that many members of the student body are able to apply these principles and become deal-makers in our own right.”

Mathew Neufeld ’18 enjoyed learning how the Fellows rose to prominence in their respective fields to become successful business leaders on a national scale.

“The Fellows’ valuable insight about their journeys was not only educational, but encouraging that if we continue to work to be the best versions of ourselves, we can also thrive in our careers,” Neufeld said.

About William & Mary Law School

Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.