by Veneta Rizvic, St. Louis Business Journal

Sam Baker joined World Wide Technology in 2019 as counsel to support the rapid growth of the company's state and local government, and educational institution business (SLED). Since joining the technology provider, SLED has grown to be an over $500 million piece of WWT's business and Baker was promoted to associate general counsel in 2021.

In his role, Baker trains and leads SLED's legal team of three lawyers and supports the legal needs of more than 40 field teams across 20 states. He has helped execute over 100 public sector contracts, the company said.

Baker has an academic background in Chinese politics and law and is able to help the company maintain awareness of developments in Sino-American relations, especially those that may impact WWT's business units.

Prior to his time with WWT, Baker was an associate with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner for four years.

What does your job entail? I helped build and now lead WWT's state and local government and educational institutions (SLED) legal team, including three attorneys in WWT's legal department's public sector group. As SLED has grown to be an over $500 million piece of WWT's business, the SLED legal team supports the daily legal needs of over 40 field teams across 20 states. Our team's legal work varies widely from simple to complex contract review and negotiation with customers and partners, advising on policy questions, and navigating the nuances of many differing public procurement regimes. I also assist with multiple public sector compliance efforts relating to trade restrictions, embargoes, and other related executive orders.

Which professional accomplishments from the past two years are you most proud of? I am incredibly proud of leading the development of WWT's SLED legal team from its origins as a single individual into the high-performance, three-attorney legal team it is today. Our growth and development occurred alongside SLED's significant growth into an over $500 million business segment at WWT, and the complexity of SLED's business and corresponding legal support needs continue to increase with this growth. The strides we have made as a legal team to increase the sophistication and efficiency of our practice to meet this challenge have been rewarding and beneficial to the business. This could only have been possible at a company like WWT, which goes to such great lengths to promote the professional development of its employees. Looking ahead, I am very excited about the future of SLED at WWT.

What is one misconception people might have about the work you do? I think there is a belief outside of the legal community that attorneys can be aloof to business realities and don't always tailor their advice to business needs. At WWT, we tirelessly work to focus our practice on responding to the needs of the business, and a big part of that is the strong cooperation between WWT's lawyers, sales teams, and other support groups. Because of that open, collaborative relationship, we efficiently and effectively work with our teams to drive solutions forward, rather than being viewed as a stumbling block to getting business done.

How does your current role differ from private practice? One of the most significant differences in my current role compared with private practice is the opportunities I have had to develop numerous great relationships across many of the different groups at WWT. When advising multiple clients, it is harder to develop those broad relationships because you tend to interface with a smaller group of people. Developing these relationships has been incredibly important in understanding how the actions of our legal team impact the different components of WWT's business. Trying to come up with legal solutions that work for everyone across the company is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of my practice.


More about Sam Baker

  • Title and company: Associate general counsel, World Wide Technology
  • Age: 35
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in political science and Bachelor of Science in biological studies, University of Missouri-Columbia; Master of Arts in East Asian studies, Duke University; Juris Doctor, Duke University
  • Family: Spouse – Yiming Zhang Baker; Children – August Taishan Baker (6), Victor Lushan Baker (4)



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