Best, Brightest, and Most Beautiful 2010: Mia D. McNeil

Mia D. McNeil
Attorney and Governmental Consultant
Kelley Cawthorne

Mia D. McNeil is an Attorney and Government Relations Consultant for Kelley Cawthorne in Lansing. She has always been an advocate for voter rights and involved in the political process. This may be why her job is a perfect fit.

A native of Grand Blanc, Mia learned the importance of being well-rounded at an early age. Her parents, Freddie and LaDon McNeil, always instilled in her and her brother the importance of family, the importance of a relationship with God and being active within her childhood church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Flint; the importance of education; and the importance of the right to vote and being politically active.  The importance of voting and becoming politically active was never lost on McNeil as her father often shared the story of her grandfather, a sharecropper, choosing to move his family to a tent city when he was denied the right to vote by the farm’s owner. This inspired her as a teenager to become involved in student politics at Grand Blanc High School, county politics as a member of the Genesee County Young Democrats, and state politics as an intern for Senator Donald Riegle; and  furthermore, as an adult to volunteer with the Michigan Democratic Party’s voter protection program.

It was later that she was bitten by the advocacy bug. As the Michigan Coordinator for Rock the Vote, a non-partisan, grassroots organization that focuses on the political issues of young people ages 18-24, she realized that she enjoyed meeting young people while registering them to vote and talking about issues that affected them, and in turn, lobbying various government officials of their positions on the issues. After this experience for nearly three years, she began to focus her efforts on advocacy for law school students. As a Thomas M. Cooley Law School student, she became an advocate for all Sixth Circuit members of the American Bar Association-Law Student Division (ABA-LSD), which includes Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, in the area of loan repayment assistance; and for female law students as a Student Liaison to the Commission on Women in The Profession. For her efforts, she was appointed as
the 6th Circuit Executive Lt. Governor for the ABA-LSD.

Upon graduation from law school in 2008, she began working as a law clerk for Kelley Cawthorne which allowed her to use her legal skills, along with the training she gained over her nearly five years in Governor Granholm’s Legislative Affairs Division. In 2009, she was promoted to her current position as an Attorney and Government Relations Consultant.

Her favorite quote, gained while in college, has become her philosophy for her career and her life. “Excuses are tools of incompetence that build monuments of nothing. Those who specialize in them will seldom amount to anything else.”

McNeil, a 2009 Fellow of Michigan State University’s Michigan Political Leadership Program, is a graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn. She is a member of the Delta Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity. She is also a member of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Lansing.