Luis Avila: Frederik Meijer Lecture Series
December 2, 2022
As current Chair of Varnum’s DEI Committee, Luis Avila has seen just how relevant this topic is and how applicable it is to the modern workplace—and a university setting. Luis started a conversation that will help us better define diversity, equity, and inclusion, and understand their value to any organization. The discussion challenged our historical and traditional assumptions and practices regarding DEI in an effort to help us better create a real sense of belonging in our organizations. Luis talked about his personal journey, both academic and professional, and how DEI has played a constant role—both positive and negative—throughout his life.
With professional experience in the legal field spanning the United States, Mexico, and Europe, Luis Avila is a global leader with a local legacy. Luis focuses his practice on labor and employment issues while also being an active advocate in the West Michigan community through board membership. His commitment to lifelong learning maintains a standard of excellence in his work as an attorney and community leader, and he has been recognized as a 5-time 40 Under 40 recipient by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. In partnership with the Frederik Meijer Honors College for their fall Meijer Lecture Series, we were excited to welcome Luis to Grand Valley State University to share his lessons on life and leadership.
Luis Avila - Biography
Labor and Employment Attorney
Luis focuses his practice on labor and employment issues. Luis has a wide range of experience in traditional labor matters, including grievances, arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, union drives, and matters in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). He counsels public and private sector employers on a number of workplace matters, including effective employee handbooks and policies, disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures, discrimination, disability accommodation, wage-hour matters, family medical leave, and harassment and litigation prevention.
Luis has represented public and private employers in both state and federal court under the various state and federal statutes that govern the employment relationship, including the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Honors and Recognitions
Best Lawyers in America®, Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, 2020, 2021, 2022
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Emerging Leader Alum, 2019
Grand Rapids Business Journal©, Forty Under 40, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Labor and Employment Law, since 2019
Lawyers of Color, Hot List, 2014
Michigan Super Lawyers®, Rising Star, 2016 – 2020
Wedgwood Christian Services, Diversity Champion Award, 2014
American Bar Association: Committee on the Development of the Law under the NLRB; Committee on Practice & Procedure under the NLRB
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan
State Bar of Michigan: Labor and Employment Section
Downtown Development Authority, Board
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leaders Series, Class of 2012
Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Grand Rapids, Class of 2018
Grand Rapids Symphony, Board Chair
Mary Free Bed, Board
West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Board