Lewis Horowitz, Lane Powell PC
Former Member, WLG Board of Directors
How did you first get involved with WLG, and what led you to take on a leadership position?
I was younger then and very green. Through WLG I met so many firm leaders that had clearly accomplished so much. They welcomed me as a peer. I would have done anything they asked to promote the organization and was delighted to serve on the board under two administrations.
What has been the most meaningful accomplishment during your time as a member of the board, Tax Group Chair, and/or Cannabis Group Co-Chair?
The Tax Group was successful. We educated each other about the tax laws of our respective jurisdictions. The laws are so complex that I always walked away with the same impression: Never try to deal with tax laws outside your jurisdiction without involving the local WLG firm!
The Cannabis Group, which is now an Interest Area, started with a bang. The world was changing and I saw incredible cross-border opportunities. Unfortunately, we were ahead of our time because legalization was not the same thing as allowing cross-border imports and exports of goods or even most services. Many jurisdictions/countries have opened up their domestic markets but the global market for cross-border investment is relatively small because of the regulatory hurdles. With Germany’s recent move to allow personal consumption and growing and social club sales, maybe the European cannabis community will begin to thrive. Still, the group has been a useful forum to allow us to learn about the trials and challenges in other markets.
While serving in various leadership capacities and as a Key Contact Partner for your firm, what more did you learn about WLG and its value to members?
I learned the importance of relationships and how productive they can be to ensure that your clients get the right advice from the right players. I also learned that it was fine to acknowledge my own limitations (in knowledge, bench, experience) and redirect a referral to whatever firm could serve the client better; the referring attorney/firm always appreciated the integrity of not trying to do work outside the scope of one’s skill set.
What is your advice to lawyers who want to get more involved or take on a leadership position in the WLG network?
Get involved with the committees that interest you and participate in webinars that excite you. Focusing on the benefits of the organization and the rest will follow.
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.
The best changes in WLG during my decades of participation are: (i) the addition of professional staff to make things happen; (ii) starting meetings at 8:30 or 9 am instead of 6:30 am (which was brutal for those of us dealing with jet lag or the bar in the hotel the previous evening); and (iii) recognizing that the benefits came from interactions. The best evidence of success is the number of people/firms that stay with the program. Also, evidence of success is the number of summit delegates who acknowledge that conferences are enormous fun because of the ability to rekindle and feed friendships, but who are still willing to step aside and allow the next generation of their firm’s leadership to participate.
Covid, the breakdown of US/China relations, Brexit, and the situation in Ukraine have all turned back the clock on commercial efforts to shrink the planet and integrate the global economy. That has probably slowed the growth of cross-border legal work for many (it has in my practice). But even politicians can’t hold back commerce now that the business community has tasted the benefits of capitalizing on each jurisdiction’s comparative benefits. Global supply chains are very much in the process of restructuring, not on-shoring. Technology has probably spread faster to more people in the last decade than in the last millennium. Helping capital (human and financial) move around the globe will continue to be critical to the success of any law firm serving the business community. Those forces will ensure the continued success of WLG.