News & Events

{ Banner Image } Print PDF


Miller Canfield Recognized in Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Inaugural Empowering Women

November 7, 2023

Michigan Lawyers Weekly has named Miller Canfield among its Empowering Women firms. Empowering Women is a new program designed to recognize law firms and organizations that have shown a commitment to supporting and elevating women attorneys.

“For decades, Miller Canfield has been a leader on diversity issues, both within the firm and in the community,” said Miller Canfield CEO Megan Norris. “We believe that inclusiveness and diversity are essential to our firm culture and to our success. We are proud that our team of lawyers, paralegals and administrative staff reflects the richly diverse communities in which we live and do business, and we recognize that there is more work to do moving forward.”

Miller Canfield has had women in leadership roles, such as group leaders and now the firm’s CEO, for several decades and was among the first Detroit firms to hire women attorneys, starting with Maxine Virtue in the 1950s, and later, Gillian Steinhauer, who started as an associate at the firm in 1976 and was the firm’s first woman to become a partner.

In 2016 the firm was one of just 54 leading AmLaw 200 law firms nationwide to be invited to participate in the Women in Law Hackathon, an innovative project stemming from a collaboration between Stanford Law School, Bloomberg Law and The Diversity Lab, an incubator to promote diversity, gender parity and the advancement of women in law firms. The initiative brought together high-level partners from participating firms, who met over a period of six months and worked extensively with industry experts and Stanford Law students to develop programs and initiatives that could be adopted not only at their own firms but could also be scaled to fit the needs of practically any firm.

Miller Canfield was among the first firms in the country, and the only firm in Michigan, to pilot the Mansfield Rule, which was created in the wake of the Hackathon. The Mansfield Rule requires firms to consider candidate pools that include at least 30 percent representation by women and historically underrepresented groups when making decisions about lateral hiring and advancement to leadership positions. Miller Canfield has earned Mansfield certification every year since adopting the rule and is one of only 39 firms to have held Mansfield certification for five years in a row. In addition, Miller Canfield was the only Michigan-based firm, and one of only 27 firms in the country, to obtain Mansfield Plus certification in its first year, a certification Miller Canfield continues to hold.

“When we were invited to be one of the small group of leading law firms to work with Diversity Lab in 2016, we didn't know if or how it would impact the legal profession and law firms nationwide,” Norris said. “We’re thrilled to see the movement as it gains momentum to create opportunities for equity in law firms.”

Miller Canfield’s initiatives have paid off. During the most recent Mansfield certification period, 57% of the firm’s staff and attorneys were women and/or people of racially underrepresented groups (specifically, Black, Indigenous and People of Color, or BIPOC), and women and members of underrepresented groups at Miller Canfield accounted for: