McGuireWoods is a finalist in five categories in Chambers and Partners’ Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2022 and is the only law firm to be recognized in each of the three Outstanding Firm categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Pro Bono and Veterans Advancement.
Partner Ava Lias-Booker was selected as a finalist for Diversity & Inclusion Lawyer of the Year and counsel Stefan Dann was named a finalist for Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. The annual awards honor the achievements of firms, companies and individuals for advancing diversity and inclusion in the United States and Canada. Winners will be announced at a June 9 ceremony.
“Diversity and inclusion are ingrained in McGuireWoods’ culture,” said Lias-Booker, a Baltimore partner and chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. “We are proud of our efforts to increase diversity in our firm and in the legal profession and cultivate an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.”
Lias-Booker is recognized for leading efforts to support, develop and retain a new generation of diverse attorneys. She launched the firm’s Diverse Associates Leadership Program, a customized leadership development program that equips young lawyers with the tools to advance into the partnership ranks and become firm and legal industry leaders. She also led the way in establishing partnerships with McGuireWoods clients to collaborate on diversity and inclusion initiatives that address issues important to their businesses and the legal profession.
Dann is recognized for assisting the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Name Change Project, which collaborates with law firms and corporate legal departments to provide pro bono legal name change services to low-income transgender, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people. Dann, based in Pittsburgh, helped create a special name change procedure in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, that standardized rules and provides a degree of anonymity and safety for the transgender community.
McGuireWoods was shortlisted for Outstanding Firm for Diversity and Inclusion for increasing diversity within its ranks and fostering an inclusive work environment. Diversity and inclusion are pillars of the firm’s strategic plan. McGuireWoods’ Diversity Action Council holds firm leadership accountable for promotion and development of diverse attorneys by ensuring all firm resources are effectively deployed to further their careers.
McGuireWoods is a finalist for Outstanding Firm for Pro Bono for providing legal assistance to low-income and underserved communities to address challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, helping indigent litigants though its Appellate Justice Initiative, and partnering with corporate legal departments to serve communities. McGuireWoods lawyers also volunteered time supporting dozens of causes, including advocating for prisoner rights, fighting deportation for immigrants who faced peril in their home countries, defending low income tenants at risk of eviction and representing victims of domestic violence.
The firm also earned a place on the shortlist for Outstanding Firm for Veterans Advancement for its innovative initiatives to support military veterans. The firm’s Veteran Lawyers Network collaborates with the National Veterans Legal Services Program and other organizations to assist veterans with needs such as obtaining disability benefits and preparing wills and powers of attorney. McGuireWoods received Chambers’ Veteran Program of Year award in 2021.
“Our firm is committed to diversity and inclusion and service to the communities where we live and work. We are acting on that commitment through the wonderful efforts and leadership of Ava, Stefan and many others throughout the firm,” said J. Tracy Walker IV, McGuireWoods’ managing partner. “We are grateful for the opportunity to earn this recognition.”