Maryland Super Lawyers magazine prominently featured Baltimore partner Ava Lias-Booker in an oral history of trailblazing African-American lawyers who helped shape the city’s legal community in the post-civil rights era.
An accomplished trial and appellate lawyer and chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Lias-Booker described the challenges she encountered as a young litigator and expressed optimism about the progress the legal profession is making on diversity issues.
“What I really love is that the demand for diversity and inclusion is across the board. It’s not just coming from underrepresented groups,” she said. “It’s coming from all of the different stakeholders and constituencies — white lawyers, female lawyers, lawyers of color, they all want to be in diverse and inclusive environments on a professional and personal basis.”
Lias-Booker said the progress was especially apparent a few years ago when she arranged to meet a client at a Corporate Counsel Women of Color conference.
“I told the client I’d meet her in the ballroom,” she said. “Normally I never have trouble finding another African-American woman in a legal environment, and I walked into this ballroom, and as I’m looking around the ballroom, it hit me that I was having trouble finding her because there were so many women of color in the room. It was one of the first times ever in my career I had had that experience. It had an emotional impact on me.”