35 Years of Leadership: Maria Elisa Verri

Published on Dec 12, 2023


Maria Elisa Gualandi Verri
TozziniFreire, Brazil
WLG President, WLG Membership Committee Member

How did you first get involved with WLG, and what led you to take on a leadership position?

I first got involved with WLG while José Luis Freire, TozziniFreire’s founding partner, was still attending the conferences. We discussed the importance of planning succession within our group of Key Contact Partners (KCPs) in such a way that our involvement with WLG would not be impacted.

I quickly felt comfortable contributing to the group, as the network embraces those who want to get involved in its different activities. I've always been aware of the responsibility that comes with being a KCP and assuming positions at the organization, and I will certainly do my best to honor this new leadership position.

What has been the most meaningful accomplishment during your time as a member of the Board of Directors and/or Membership Committee?

During my time as a member of the Board of Directors and Membership Committee, I've had the opportunity to participate in numerous important and fruitful discussions with the other members.

From a personal standpoint, organizing the first in-person Americas Regional meeting after the pandemic, while still facing some restrictions, was a challenging accomplishment. The meeting went well, thanks to the host firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth, the staff, and all the delegates who made it a success.

While serving in leadership roles, what more did you learn about WLG and its value to members?

Through my involvement with WLG, I have learned that the network fosters the development of strong bonds among the KCPs, leading to trust and accountability. These relationships are essential for referrals, which are a key benefit of our network.

What is your advice to lawyers who want to get more involved or take on a leadership position in the WLG network?

To lawyers, especially female lawyers who want to get more involved or take on a leadership position in the WLG network, my advice would be to actively participate in in-person conferences and meetups, practice and industry groups, and various virtual events. These opportunities allow for visibility among the KCPs, making it easier to assume leadership positions. Showing interest and actively engaging with other members can also make a difference.

As we reflect upon our growth during our 35th anniversary, tell us about the changes you've seen in the network during the years you have been involved and what leads you to believe our best days are ahead of us.

I have seen new member firms join the network, an increase in diversity and new faces among the KCPs, and a continued spirit of camaraderie within the network. Thanks to the contributions of my predecessors and the excellent staff, I am confident that our best days are ahead of us. We will maintain and increase sustainable growth.