As a member of the executive board at Husch Blackwell, J.Y. Miller makes diversity, equality and inclusion a priority in all of his business dealings.
During his early years in the U.S. Army JAG Corp, where he spent five years stationed in Texas, Saudi Arabia, Georgia and Bosnia, Miller learned that when you bring diverse minds together in an atmosphere of trust, good things happen. Now, as a partner, he feels a responsibility to help others succeed.
Some of his colleagues set serious career goals, such as becoming a firm leader or partner, “and I’m committed to those people in the partners that I work with on our team,” he said. “We are invested in these people. And until we do everything possible to get each one of those people to where they want to be and accomplish those goals, my mission will be incomplete.”
What motivates you most in your work as an attorney and as an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?
I’m motivated to build and lead teams that make a difference in people’s lives. The large litigation teams I help to lead bring diverse minds together to collaborate in a highly dynamic environment. Our team members push and pull with, and against, one another daily in a combined effort to challenge every assumption, think creatively and listen empathetically as we work together to get to the best solution for our clients. As a result, our team has helped our clients achieve unparalleled success while building a service model that is disrupting our industry. This could not happen without developing a diverse and inclusive team that operates freely and confidently in a setting based on trust, loyalty, commitment and respect.
Who has most inspired you in your work for Diversity & Inclusion, and why?
I continue to be inspired by the group of people I worked with at my first job in the Army JAG Corps more than 20 years ago. Our prosecuting attorney team included a very diverse group in terms of race, gender, geography, religion, education and life experiences. Long days working on challenging cases were filled with honest conversation and genuine effort to listen to and understand different points of view. As much as I learned about trying cases to verdict in that first job, the most valuable lessons I learned were centered around being part of a highly effective, exceptionally diverse team that challenged and supported one another to grow professionally and personally.
What makes you most proud of your law firm?
I am most proud of the deep commitment our firm has to our culture. Dedication to our core values — teamwork, collaboration, diversity, service, citizenship and innovation — drives everything we do. This commitment is demonstrated by our shift a few years ago to change our attorney performance evaluation system to more directly link compensation to the positive behaviors supporting these core values. The commitment to our core values is the foundation of our strategic plan and serves as a constant touchstone for every team, office, committee and initiative in our firm.