For decades, Miller Canfield has been a leader on diversity issues both within the firm and in the community. Our team of lawyers, paralegals and administrative staff reflects the richly diverse communities in which we live and do business.
Leadership By Example
Our commitment to promoting diversity starts with our management team, which has long had the voices of women and minorities. We were one of the first major law firms in the country to elect an African-American chief executive officer, Leonard Givens, and Beverly Hall Burns has served the firm as Deputy CEO. Our Board of Managing Directors has included Jerome Watson and Amanda Van Dusen and is currently chaired by Megan Norris.
We also have internal committees dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion inside the firm. Our Diversity Committee reviews our recruitment and retention of minority talent. The Women of Miller Canfield attorneys, led by Dawn Schluter, meets several times a year in person and via video conference to discuss career, work and family, practice development and leadership development issues.
Miller Canfield supports dozens of minority organizations in which our lawyers are active leaders, such as the Wolverine Bar Association, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, Arab American Anti-Discrimination Lawyers Committee, Detroit Chinese Business Association, INFORUM, Michigan Women’s Foundation, Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, Affirmations and many others.
We are a signatory firm of the Grand Rapids Bar Association's Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative Agreement, signed in 2011. The agreement is a formal commitment among 12 major Grand Rapids law firms and the GRBA to collaborate towards achieving greater diversity and inclusion in the West Michigan’s legal community through education, hiring, retention and promotion.
Detroit lawyer Beverly Hall Burns is a past president of the foundation. Kalamazoo attorney James Liggins, Jr. founded the Charles A. Pratt Bar Association, representing the region’s African-American attorneys and served as the group’s first president. Givens incorporated the Michigan Minority Business Development Counsel. Finally, Robert Levels is a leader with the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Law Firms, a group of which Miller Canfield is a member.
Miller Canfield is an “Honor Roll” member of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. We have sponsored and presented the Outstanding Diversity Award for the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce.
We also received the 2012 Great American Traditions Award from B'nai B'rith International in recognition of our commitment to diversity, education, community service and philanthropic involvement in the Great Lakes region and beyond.
Forging Tomorrow’s Leaders
Miller Canfield has initiated several programs with our community partnerships to provide educational opportunities and internships for youths in our local communities.
We participate in the City of Detroit's nationally recognized Motor City Pipeline programs, which connect high school, college and law school students with professionals.
- The Just the Beginning Foundation High School Summer Legal Institute, which introduces metro Detroit high schoolers to the legal system and mentors through the federal court.
- The ABA Council of Legal Education Opportunity College Prelaw Summer Institute helps disadvantaged college students improve their LSAT scores and prepares them to succeed in a rigorous law school environment.
- The Wolverine Bar Association Summer Clerkship and Judicial Externship Program places promising law students as summer interns with U.S. District Court judges and Michigan Supreme Court justices.
In another effort, we funded scholarships through the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Barristers Section, which annually provides $1,500 to three graduates of Detroit Public Schools selected through the Barristers School Partnership Program.
Our attorneys also regularly speak to students at universities throughout the Midwest about diversity issues. We also sponsor management seminars on recruitment and retention of women and minority attorneys.
Miller Canfield's Diversity Committee is a passionate and diverse team of attorneys and administrators that reviews the firm's diversity goals and initiatives.
The Committee is constantly working to improve Miller Canfield’s already stellar diversity record through several efforts, including:
- Recruitment at various National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) events
- Actively recruiting at Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) job fairs
- Employing a nationally known expert in diversity analysis to identify, address, and help implement diversity goals within the firm
We focus our recruiting efforts towards major Michigan and national law schools with higher minority student populations than the national average, including Georgetown University Law Center, University of Notre Dame Law School, University of Michigan Law School, and Wayne State University Law School.