Ben Miller Jr., one of the founders of the Kean Miller law firm, died early Tuesday. He was 77.
He helped found Kean Miller in 1983 and served as managing partner for 16 years. During that time, Kean Miller grew from 11 attorneys to 84. The firm is now one of Louisiana’s largest, and the largest in the capital region, with more than 150 attorneys.
Managing Partner Blane Clark described Miller as a gentleman lawyer, civic-minded and very passionate about Baton Rouge and the law firm he helped found.
Clark said he visited with his former boss a few weeks ago, and Miller was still giving him suggestions on what should be done at the firm.
“He didn’t just serve on the boards. He would dig in and just get very involved in the boards and very involved with the executive directors,” Clark said. “He took that role very seriously, unlike some folks.”
Miller was probably one of the first full-time corporate attorneys in Baton Rouge, Clark said.
Miller served as primary outside counsel to Lamar Advertising Co., Wilbur Marvin and Commercial Properties Development Corp., which is now the real estate arm of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
When Clark began practicing law 30 years ago, Miller was his boss. Miller was at his best during a crisis, sharply focused and ready to find the solution to a problem.
“I think it’s safe to say that Ben Miller’s commitment to the community where he worked and lived is a foundation upon which our ‘People First’ philosophy is built,” said Steven R. Boutwell, director of client services for Kean Miller. “He was a powerful advocate for his clients, a devoted counselor to civic and charitable organizations, and a great personal and professional friend to those he touched.”
Miller served on a number of business and community organizations’ boards, including the Louisiana Association for Nonprofit Organizations, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Future Pac, the City Club of Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and the Louisiana Partnership for Technology and Innovation. He also served as the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, now the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, chairman and on the LSU Law Center board of trustees. He served as senior warden, treasurer, vestryman, associate vestryman, School Board member and president for St. James Episcopal Church. He is a member of the LSU Law School Hall of Fame.
Miller earned his bachelor of science degree from LSU and his juris doctorate from LSU Law Center the same year.