That glass you heard falling at Miller Canfield was another ceiling being shattered.
One of the state’s largest law firms, the nearly 170-year-old firm has appointed Megan Norris its first woman CEO. Norris, who has served the last six years as chair of the firm’s Board of Managing Directors, replaces Michael McGee, the firm’s CEO since 2013.
Norris assumes her new duties Feb. 26.
Norris, firm officials said, is one of the “most highly respected employment and labor attorneys” in Michigan. She is an accomplished litigator who has been elected by her national peers to join the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers.
She is a leader both within the firm and among lawyers nationwide. She is a nationally recognized expert and frequent public speaker on the topics of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Within the firm, she has served as the leader of the Employment and Labor Group, overseeing the firm’s large and active team of dedicated employment and labor attorneys and staff. She served for eight years on the firm’s Board of Managing Directors, the last six years as chair.
Norris will focus on providing client value and efficiency when she takes the helm.
“In many ways, for nearly 170 years, the firm’s focus has never changed: Our primary purpose is always to serve our clients. And we can’t do so without the best attorneys in the business,” Norris said. “What is always changing is what our clients need. Clients face budgetary restrictions, so we must adapt to provide high-quality legal services in more efficient ways while remaining profitable.”
She will also continue to invest in attracting and retaining diverse lawyers, an area in which Miller Canfield has for decades been a leader.
“Clients now demand that their law firms commit to diversity just as they are doing themselves,” Norris said. “This is an area where the firm has been historically strong and is now much more competitive. So, I expect that much of my time will be spent on our human capital—recruiting and retaining top talent, and putting our people to work to figure out how we can always better serve our clients.”
McGee called Norris an “exceptional leader.”
“Megan is an exceptional leader who will bring great vision and values to her work as CEO. The firm has benefitted tremendously from her leadership, and we are extraordinarily fortunate to have her serve in this capacity,” McGee said.
McGee will resume his practice in the firm’s Public Finance Group. Under McGee’s leadership, the firm renewed and strengthened its commitment to law firm diversity, equity and inclusion, becoming the only firm in Michigan, and one of only 24 nationwide to have earned Mansfield Plus Certification for three years in a row. Certification is awarded to law firms that meet high standards for significant representation of women, people of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys in firm leadership roles. Additionally, during McGee’s tenure as CEO, the firm expanded capacity in the rapidly growing autonomous and connected vehicles sector and the aerospace and defense industry, and grew its footprint domestically and internationally, forging alliances through North and South America and adding offices in Washington, D.C., Ohio and Qatar.
“I have had the good fortune to work with Mike McGee and the Managing Directors, both as a Group Leader and as a Managing Director, and I am honored that they have chosen me as the firm’s next CEO. Mike leaves big shoes to fill, so I am grateful that he will remain a valued partner and trusted advisor as we embark on the firm’s next decade,” Norris said. Norris is the recipient of the State Bar of Michigan Labor and Employment Law Council Distinguished Service Award, is ranked in the prestigious “Chambers USA” guide of America’s leading lawyers, and has earned recognition in Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leaders in the Law, Lawdragon 500, Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan, Best Lawyers in America and DBusiness Magazine Top Lawyers. She has served on the United States District Court Local Rules Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors for the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the National Employment Law Institute Advisory Board, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education Labor Advisory Board, and the City of Detroit Police Commission, which she chaired in 2003 and 2004.