A decade ago, Johnny Wang parlayed $20,000 in seed money from the Regional Business Council in St. Louis to help launch the Asian American Chamber of Commerce St. Louis. The thriving organization now boasts 250 members, uniting St. Louis business leaders while also strengthening ties abroad.
Wang, who specializes in labor and employment law, joined Stinson as a partner in 2014 and is a leader of its national diversity and inclusion efforts. He oversees the St. Louis office’s summer associates program, and his nominators note his “boundless energy,” skills and attention to building relationships.
A father of three self-described “Ninjas,” ages 11, 9 and 8 (“Every night is WrestleMania in our house”), Wang’s hobbies include baking such mouthwatering delights as “a mean apple pie with cheddar crust” — but “unfortunately, my doctor doesn’t allow me to eat the things I bake,” he jokes.
What motivates you most in your work as an attorney and as an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?
The importance of dropping the ladder for those who come after us. I’ve benefited from outstanding mentors and sponsors in my career and want to give back by creating an environment where diverse lawyers can thrive. It’s not just at my firm, but the legal community as a whole. Eventually, we need to get to a place where these conversations around diversity and inclusion and awards are unnecessary because we’ve accomplished our goals.
What makes you most proud of your law firm/legal practice?
Regarding my practice, it’s solving truly complex problems for my clients when they need me the most. I’m also extremely proud of the strong relationships I’ve developed. When I started my practice, I thought that it would be a terrible idea to be close friends with my clients. However, now that I’ve been at it awhile, I think the attorney-client relationship is so different than normal business relationships, that invariably strong friendships develop from the trust that’s created by a great attorney-client relationship.
How do you give back to your community?
Time. As attorneys, it is what we sell and our most valuable commodity that cannot be replaced or created. It’s easy to spread money around, especially if it’s from your firm, to put your name on stuff [or] sponsor events, etc. Asking you to take time away from your family or your practice to invest in the community, grow an organization or implement some initiatives is much harder to do and ask for.