Ballard Spahr’s Wilmington, Delaware, office will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November. While the office has developed a reputation for excellence in the areas of bankruptcy and reorganization, public finance, commercial litigation, government and corporate investigations, and white-collar defense, it is also well-known for the pioneering spirit of its attorneys.
The Wilmington office is the most diverse at Ballard Spahr, a firm known for its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Forty-five percent of the lawyers in the Wilmington office are people of color, and 55 percent are women. Tobey M. Daluz, who is African-American, founded and opened the office in 2002. When Ms. Daluz was named to the firmwide Management Committee in July 2011, she was succeeded as Wilmington Office Managing Partner by Emilie R. Ninan. Ms. Ninan is of South Asian descent and is president of the North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA) and founding president of the South Asian Bar Association of Delaware.
Of the Wilmington firms surveyed in the 2011-2012 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, only 1.9 percent of partners are women of color compared to 50 percent of the partners in Ballard Spahr’s Wilmington office.
Said firm Chair Mark S. Stewart: “As our Wilmington office demonstrates, diversity at the top leads to diversity throughout. Diversity happens when leaders make it a priority. We believe that our clients are best served when the solutions we offer spring from varied viewpoints and perspectives. We do not simply pay lip service to inclusion; we live that commitment every day.”
The firm has 13 offices nationwide, and three of them are managed by lawyers of color. In addition, the firm was ranked in the top 10 nationally by The National Law Journal’s “Women in the Equity Partnership” survey as having one of the highest percentages of women equity partners. The firm also exceeds the National Association of Law Placement average for the percentage of female partners, female associates, and female minority partners.
“Creating an atmosphere where everyone is given the opportunity to thrive is an important aspect of attracting the best people to the firm,” said Ms. Daluz, who as Partner in Charge of Attorney Career Advancement spearheads the recruiting and professional development of non-partner lawyers at the firm nationwide. “We continuously look for ways to improve programs and policies that pave the way to success for all of our attorneys.”
“Clients tell us that they value diversity as well as excellence in their outside legal teams,” said Ms. Ninan. “We deliver both.”