McGuireWoods Partner Ava Lias-Booker Earns American Bar Foundation Fellows Leadership Honor

February 9, 2015

Ava E. Lias-Booker, managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Baltimore office, is a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding State Chair Award from The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. The honor was presented to Lias-Booker during the organization’s 59th annual awards banquet Feb. 7 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Lias-Booker is the Maryland state chair of The Fellows, an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars who support the work of the American Bar Foundation, the nation’s leading research institute for the empirical study of law. Membership in The Fellows is limited to less than one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each state. Members are nominated by Fellows in their respective states and elected by the American Bar Foundation’s board.

Ava Lias-Booker, center, managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Baltimore office and recipient of the 2015 Outstanding State Chair Award from The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation in Houston on Saturday, receives congratulations from Maryland State Bar Association President Debra Gae Schubert, left, and the Hon. Pamila J. Brown, right, MSBA president-elect and a District Court Judge in Howard County.

The Outstanding State Chair Award is presented to state leaders who have demonstrated dedication to the work of the American Bar Foundation and the mission of The Fellows through exceptional efforts at the state level. The award recipients are selected by the Fellows Officers, who oversee the national organization.

The Maryland chapter was recognized for its long-standing record of achievement in identifying and nominating qualified candidates for membership in The Fellows and for the success of its annual spring reception. Lias-Booker and Venable senior partner Kevin L. Shepherd, the immediate past Maryland state chair, were selected to receive the 2015 award.

“The Maryland Fellows have done so much to support the vital work of the American Bar Foundation, and I am tremendously proud that our national officers have recognized those efforts with this award,” said Lias-Booker, who became chair of the Maryland chapter in August. “It is an honor to chair such a distinguished group.”

Cara Lee Neville, the national chair-elect of The Fellows, said Lias-Booker and Shepherd “have upheld the proud tradition of the Maryland Fellows chapter” as a leading force in the national organization.

“Through their hosting of outstanding annual events and continuing engagement with their constituents, Ava and Kevin have made an invaluable contribution to the life of The Fellows and the important work of the American Bar Foundation,” Neville said. “We are grateful for their service and their leadership.”

Lias-Booker heads McGuireWoods’ Baltimore litigation practice group. She represents businesses in complex commercial and civil litigation in state and federal courts and frequently speaks on litigation, leadership and diversity issues. In 2010, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association named Lias-Booker a “Leading Law Firm Rainmaker.”

Lias-Booker was appointed a member of the Magistrate Judges’ Merit Selection Panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Maryland Appellate Judicial Nominating Committee. She serves on the boards of several civic and professional organizations, including the board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the board of visitors of her alma mater, the University of Maryland School of Law.

In recognition of her professional achievements and community involvement, Lias-Booker was named an “Influential Marylander” in 2014 by the Maryland Daily Record and named to the publication’s Leadership in Law list in 2011. She was also named to the Baltimore Business Journal’s 2011 “Power 20: The Next Generation” list and she is the recipient of the 2009 Thurgood Marshall College Fund Award for Excellence for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Law.