American Lawyer Media’s Corporate Counsel magazine has selected McGuireWoods partner Ava Lias-Booker for its Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards recognizing accomplished women attorneys at law firms and in-house legal departments across the country. Lias-Booker is recognized in the innovative leadership category, honoring women who have developed new strategies to effect change in the legal industry.
Lias-Booker, one of the first African-American women partners at a major law firm in Maryland, chairs McGuireWoods’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee and serves on the firm’s Diversity Action Council. In 2019, she launched the firm’s innovative Diverse Associates Leadership Program, a two-day training event that extends efforts to support, develop and retain lawyers of color, women and LGBTQ+ lawyers, and veterans. The program brings together top-performing, third- to fifth-year associates and equips them with tools and leadership skills to advance into the partnership ranks, and includes opportunities to network with law firm leaders.
“I am proud of this important initiative to cultivate the next generation of firm leaders, who include some of our brightest and most diverse young lawyers,” said Lias-Booker. “The program demonstrates the importance of committing to a path that allows them to succeed as leaders positioned to change the profession and the world.”
“Ava is a formidable trial lawyer sought out by our clients and she is a leader in her community and at our firm, but her greatest legacy lies in the lives of all the lawyers she has mentored and supported along the way,” said McGuireWoods managing partner J. Tracy Walker IV. “She has lifted up so many young lawyers and inspired them.”
Lias-Booker leads McGuireWoods’ Baltimore litigation practice with three decades of first-chair trial experience representing businesses in complex commercial and civil litigation. She has won major appellate and trial court victories on behalf of clients in the mortgage, petroleum and financial services industries. She is a member of the firm’s Associates Committee and is a former managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Baltimore office.
She serves on the boards of visitors of Duke University School of Law and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and the board of directors for the Baltimore Open Society Institute. Lias-Booker chairs the Magistrate Judges’ Merit Selection Panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and was a gubernatorial appointee to the Maryland Appellate Judicial Nominating Committee.
Among her many honors, Lias-Booker was inducted into The Daily Record’s “Circle of Excellence,” a recognition reserved for those who appear on the publication’s list of Maryland’s Top 100 Women three times. The Baltimore Business Journal honored her with a 2020 Leader in Diversity Award, recognizing business and nonprofit leaders and other professionals for advancing diversity and inclusion in the Greater Baltimore area. She was named “Managing Partner of the Year” by the African American Managing Partners Network and “Litigator of the Year” by the Maryland State Bar Association’s Litigation Section. In 2019, Savoy magazine lauded her on its prestigious list of the “Most Influential Women in Corporate America.”