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Baltimore-based firm named second-best in country for black lawyers

Michael Brown, principal at Miles and Stockbridge. (Submitted photo)

Michael Brown, principal at Miles & Stockbridge. (Submitted photo)

Concerted efforts to hire and retain minority attorneys earned Baltimore-based Miles & Stockbridge PC the No. 2 on Law360’s list of the best firms for black attorneys in the nation.

“It affirms we’re on the right track,” John B. Frisch, chairman and CEO, said of the recognition. “We have a lot of work to do. We are nowhere near as diverse as we want to be.”

Law360’s rankings, released this week, involved surveying more than 300 U.S. law firms about their overall and minority headcount numbers as of the end of 2015. More than 10 percent of Miles & Stockbridge’s non-principals are black, along with 4.6 percent of the principals.

The firm’s recruiting tactics and professional development aimed at creating a diverse workforce contributed to the ranking.

“We hope that it draws attention to what we’re doing to help us be more successful at it,” Frisch said.

The firm has a diversity committee, chaired by principal Michael A. Brown, which recruits women and minority attorneys and assists in their professional development.

“We’re one of the fastest-growing law firms in terms of diversity in the country,” Brown said in a statement. “It’s not just a box we’re checking.”

 John B. Frisch, chairman and CEO of Miles & Stockbridge. (File)

John B. Frisch, chairman and CEO of Miles & Stockbridge. (File)

A diverse corps of attorneys benefits the firm, according to Frisch, because it raises the quality of decision-making as people with different backgrounds join the conversation.

“Having a variety of perspectives around a table is going to give you better business results for clients,” Frisch said.

Miles & Stockbridge last year began requiring at least one woman, minority or LGBT attorney be interviewed for each open position. The firm added 15 female lawyers and 10 lawyers of color last year.

Once hired, minority attorneys can join the Miles Minority Network, a community intended to be a resource for professionals of all backgrounds in the area. Frisch said the firm encourages attorneys to form communities organically, such as Jewish attorneys who approached him recently about forming a professional group.

“We want people to come together and have rich and rewarding experiences,” he said.

Becoming known for their diversity efforts makes Miles & Stockbridge attractive to both clients and potential employees, according to Frisch.

“[Millenials] embrace diversity and tolerance more than any other generation in history and, it’s really becoming a requirement if you want to become a best place to work,” he said.

Non-minority attorneys at the firm also recognize the importance of diversity efforts, he added.

“This is a key pillar of a strategic plan that our majority lawyers are fully behind,” Frisch said.