The Texas General Counsel Forum hosted its 20th annual conference entitled, “Leadership: The Law Department & Beyond,” on November 15–16, at the Fairmont Hotel in Austin, Texas. General Counsel and senior managing counsel from Texas-based companies and organizations gathered at the interactive conference to explore the evolving role of corporate counsel.

“One of the key takeaways from the event is that the role of corporate counsel is increasingly expanding and cannot be focused solely on legal issues,” says Morae Global Director Jon Gross. “They are ambassadors for their respective companies, stewards of business and protectors of their organizations.”

The two-day program featured short, dynamic discussions from industry leaders and speakers including: Austin Mayor Steve Adler; Supreme Court of Texas Justice Eva Guzman; Senior Vice President, Corporate, Securities & Assistant Secretary at Dell Technologies, Janet M. Bawcom; and many others.

“The Ted Talk-styled format was fast-paced with insightful content ranging from political discussion to career development strategies,” says Gross.

The Magna Stella Awards Dinner was another highlight with an opportunity for attendees to interact with conference participants in an intimate setting. The Magna Stella Award recognizes excellence and success among GC and in-house lawyers in Texas.

This year’s 10 Magna Stella Award recipients include:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Janet Langford Carrig at Conoco-Phillips
  • General Counsel for a Large Legal Dept.: James Baldwin at Keurig, Dr. Pepper
  • General Counsel for a Small Legal Dept.: Burton Brillhart at Varsity Brands
  • General Counsel – Solo: Thomas Hartman at Hanger
  • General Counsel for a Non-Profit/Government Agency: Kerstin Arnold at the Texas State Board of Pharmacy
  • Senior Managing Counsel for a Large Legal Dept.: Andrew Gratz at LyondellBasell
  • Senior Managing Counsel for a Small Legal Dept.: Eric Hildenbrand at McLane Company
  • Corporate Legal Dept. Counsel for Major Litigation: Tonja De Sloover at Energy Transfer Partners
  • Corporate Legal Dept. Counsel for Major Transaction: Victoria Lazar at General Electric
  • Corporate Legal Department Diversity Award: Toyota

The Texas General Counsel Forum is a community and network of more than 650 general counsel and senior managing counsel representing more than half of the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Texas. Since 1998, the Forum has been serving and improving the lives of in-house leadership through the discovery and sharing of best legal practices.

For more information on the Texas General Counsel Forum, please visit https://www.

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