35 Years of Leadership: Stuart Young

Stuart Young, Gowling WLG
WLG Membership Committee Member, Former Member of the Board of Directors

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

    Our firm has always had an international outlook. When the opportunity to join World Law Group came along it was, for all logical business reasons, an easy decision for us to seek membership. The quality of the member firms and the focus on referrals made it a no-brainer. What we didn't expect, but have been delighted with, was the high calibre of individuals involved in World Law Group from every member firm and the Executive Team. Personally, I was involved in presenting the World Law Group opportunity to the firm and was keen to be active from day one. It has been, and continues to be, one of the most stimulating and rewarding aspects of my professional life.

    What has been the most meaningful accomplishment during your time as a member of the board?

      Supporting 4 different Presidents and their Boards has had its challenges. No single accomplishment stands out but there's a quiet sense of pride in having supported the group over an extended period, expanding membership and maintaining a harmonious and effective community.

      While serving as a Key Contact Partner for your firm and a member of WLG's Membership Committee, what more did you learn about WLG and its value to members?

        We have a diverse range of members and, consequently, WLG means different things to different firms. Being a member of the Membership Committee gives you great insight into the differing levels and styles of participation of our members. It has taught me that, if we're going to continue to value that diversity which is a function of a truly global network, then we have to be sympathetic to the different approaches that we all take.

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

          There are plenty of opportunities for wider involvement in WLG. If you want to take your involvement to the next level then broaden and deepen your involvement. Broaden by getting involved in more practice and industry groups, attending more conferences (in person or virtually) and take up every opportunity to collaborate with other WLG members. Deepen by looking for leadership positions in groups or on projects so that your leadership capabilities are clearly visible.

          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.

            Plus ca change! Since becoming involved in WLG it has been interesting to see the "first generation" leaders of WLG (who made significant contributions to the group) retiring from their law firms and now only occasionally being involved in WLG. As I started in WLG they were the core of WLG and it would have been difficult to imagine conferences without them. However, WLG has continued to go from strength to strength and the next generation of leaders have continued with the best of the past and added their own new aspects. WLG has great DNA and with the quality of its member firms and participants, its future looks very bright indeed.