The Baltimore Business Journal has honored McGuireWoods partner Ava Lias-Booker with a 2020 Leader in Diversity Award, which recognizes business and nonprofit leaders and other professionals for advancing diversity and inclusion in the Greater Baltimore region. The winners were featured in a special edition of the newspaper published June 5.
Lias-Booker chairs McGuireWoods’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee, serves on the Associates Committee and is a former managing partner of the Baltimore office. She oversees the firm’s diversity initiatives and guides efforts to recruit, retain and promote women and lawyers of color. She also has taken the lead in establishing partnerships with McGuireWoods clients to collaborate on diversity and inclusion initiatives affecting their businesses and the legal profession.
Under her direction, the firm in 2019 launched its novel Diverse Associates Leadership Program, a two-day training event designed to equip lawyers from diverse backgrounds with tools and leadership skills essential to advance into the partnership ranks. Half of the lawyers promoted to McGuireWoods’ partnership ranks in 2020 were women and lawyers of color.
“I am honored to be included with respected leaders doing important work to make diversity and inclusion a priority in our businesses and our communities,” Lias-Booker said. “I know our firm will continue to play a vital role in that effort.”
An accomplished trial and appellate lawyer, Lias-Booker leads McGuireWoods’ Baltimore litigation practice with three decades of first-chair trial experience representing businesses in complex commercial litigation. She holds leadership roles in legal and civic organizations in Baltimore and nationwide. She is a member of 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 of the Baltimore Open Society Institute.
“Ava inspires us all with her leadership and vision and her commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the legal profession” said McGuireWoods managing partner J. Tracy Walker IV. “We are proud that Baltimore’s business community recognizes her important contributions.”
Among her many honors, Lias-Booker 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. She was inducted in The Daily Record’s “Circle of Excellence,” an honor reserved for those who appear on the publication’s list of Maryland’s Top 100 Women three times. In 2019, Savoy magazine named her to its prestigious list of “Most Influential Women in Corporate America.”