Barbara J. Dawson

Partner, Snell & Wilmer

by Barbara J. Dawson

What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?

At Snell & Wilmer, we do well when we stay true to our guiding values, reflected in our Credo. We believe in service of our clients, our communities and each other. This code aims to align our actions with our intentions and define the focus for our leaders.

This Credo is consistent with the concept of servant leadership. This approach strives to encourage diversity of thought, create a culture of trust, foster an unselfish mindset and develop leadership in others. In other words, it seeks to bring out the best in each of us for the collective good.

What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?

The disruption has been a great teacher. We have learned that we can adapt to change and accomplish our work in ways previously unimaginable.

We also have been reminded about the core value of relationships and community. Clients and community leaders called upon us for help during the pandemic because we had worked side by side with them for years. We are so grateful for their trust. 

Also, we came to value community as never before — both through building it in new ways while apart and now enjoying it so much upon returning to in-person contact.

We hope to fold the best of our learning from the pandemic into our ongoing practices for the future.

What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?

The state is well poised to build upon its expanding role as the destination for key high-tech, high-wage industries such as semiconductors, electric vehicle manufacturing, startups and more. As legal counsel, we hear frequently from clients with headquarters outside Arizona that our state has unique appeal as a cost-effective venue. Having a business-friendly climate in terms of economic incentives for relocation, a talented and diverse workforce, and a reasonable regulatory climate has served us well. 

Much progress has been made in allowing those considering Arizona to see why it has been the home of choice for so many of us. It is critical that we continue to invest in education and the community resources that enrich the lives of our people if we want to draw leaders with options to bring their families and teams to our state.

What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?

On a local basis, we look forward to a physical move in 2022. While the Phoenix office move will decrease our physical footprint in the Valley from 170,000 to 115,000 square feet, we anticipate that our team will continue to expand across both transactional and litigation practices. With this move, we are considering ESG factors. We see opportunities for enhanced efficiencies and new ways of working together as we look forward to our next chapter.

More broadly, our firm is focused on expanding our expertise, from local knowledge to global ties, to support our clients’ success. With offices spanning the Western U.S., plus D.C. and Mexico, we have seen opportunities for growth and talent recruitment that is unprecedented. We find that great lawyers want to live and work where we are located and are embracing our flexible approach to an in-person/remote work balance.

Name of Leader: Barbara J. Dawson
Position of Leader: Partner
Company Name: Snell & Wilmer
No. of Years with Company: 32
Main Local Office Address: One Arizona Center
400 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004-2202
Phone: (602) 382-6235
Website: swlaw.com
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 1
Year Established Locally: 1938
City Nationally Headquartered: Phoenix

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