Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Equity means making resources and opportunities accessible to everyone. Law firms become more equitable when they identify the barriers some groups face due to historic imbalances, and take concrete steps to remove those barriers so that all lawyers and administrative staff have access to valuable work assignments, professional development, promotion, advancement, and leadership. Improving equity means examining the status quo and applying thoughtful solutions to ensure that internal systems provide everyone with access to opportunity.
Inclusion is the intentional engagement and effective integration of individuals from all backgrounds, which empower lawyers and administrative staff to contribute their perspectives and ideas. Inclusion is indispensable for reaping the benefits of diversity.
Equity + Inclusion = Diversity
Ballard Spahr is committed to increasing equity and inclusion because they create a diverse and well-rounded law firm that delivers superior results for clients.
A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is the right thing to do for our firm, our profession, and our broader communities. And it’s good business. The diverse legal teams we create are better positioned to understand our clients' businesses and help them meet the evolving challenges of a global economy.
What We Are Doing: Commitment in Action
Our diversity, equity, and inclusion commitment is informed by research, self-examination, and the evolving needs of lawyers, administrative staff, and clients. Below is just a sample of what we are doing each day to move closer to our commitment:
- Staffing diverse teams for client matters
- Integrating lateral hires effectively
- Monitoring our work assignment process to ensure access to opportunity
- Building the pipeline for advancement and succession in our leadership
- Engaging both administrative staff and lawyers through networking and mentoring programs
- Empowering administrative leadership to set benchmarks and take action
- Employing an equity mindset and challenging the status quo
- Conducting firm-wide mandatory education sessions on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics
- Building dashboards for our clients to understand their legal team’s demographics
- Providing diversity, equity, and inclusion orientation for all new hires
- Developing and implementing the Plan to Strengthen Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which focuses on improving the recruitment, retention, and promotion of colleagues of color, particular Black colleagues
- Leading working group assessments of systems and processes to identify any bias and address it
- Educating supervising lawyers and professional staff on how to mitigate common biases in processes such as interviewing, hiring, and performance evaluations
Diversity, equity, and inclusion extends outside the firm. We make an impact on communities through civic leadership and pro bono work, including our Racial Justice and Equality Initiative, as well as through fundraising campaigns for social justice organizations and by ensuring supplier diversity in local counsel, legal service providers, and other vendors. We actively seek to do business with firms and businesses owned by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
Awards and Recognition
Results matter. We don’t just talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion—we walk the talk. Ballard Spahr has achieved recognized nationally and regionally for the success of our efforts across the firm, including inclusiveness in our leadership ranks. Ballard Spahr has achieved Diversity Lab 2022-2023 Mansfield Rule Certification in recognition of the firm's commitment to and achievement of its efforts to diversify firm leadership by broadening the talent pool for consideration, including those historically underrepresented in the legal profession, to facilitate transparent pathways to leadership. We have earned a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index since 2016, earning the designation of a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality."
Rankings and Recognition
A Perfect Score on the Corporate Equality Index
Human Rights Campaign, 2022
Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, 2022
Named a 'Ceiling Smasher'
Recognized for closing the gender gap in the top ranks
Law360 Pulse List, 2023
Recognized by Center for Legal Inclusiveness
Law Firm/Legal Department Inclusiveness@Work Award, 2022
Recognized in 'AI Visionaries' List
Recognized for Work-Life Balance Policies
"Agency & Flexibility" Category of Yale Law Women’s Top Firms Report, 2022
Insights, News, and Events
- Press Release
Ballard Spahr Among Top Firms Nationally for Percentage of Female Equity Partners: Law360 Report
- Press Release
Ballard Spahr Named a Finalist for The American Lawyer Corporate Purpose Award
- Awards and Rankings
National Organizations Rank Ballard Spahr Among 2023 Best Places to Work for People With Disabilities
Business Resource Groups and Affinity Groups
Our Business Resource Groups and Affinity Groups comprise lawyers and administrative staff (as relevant) with shared cultural, experiential, or job-related interests, experiences, and/or backgrounds. Business Resource Groups support retention through informal mentoring, internal networking, business development support, and recruiting. They regularly invite internal and external speakers to speak on various topics related to personal and professional development. Their goals and activities are carefully planned and linked to the firm’s business goals. Affinity Groups are primarily internal-facing groups where members can connect and support one another and serve as a resource to the firm.
Our INVEST sponsorship program is one way that Ballard Spahr lives its commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion—at our law firm and in the legal profession. Through INVEST we apply a tactical approach to recruiting, retaining, and advancing talent from diverse backgrounds. This sponsorship program goes beyond mentorship to provide comprehensive career development opportunities to lawyers who have overcome significant obstacles in pursuit of a legal career, come from a disadvantaged background, or who are underrepresented at Am Law 200 law firms.
Associates will participate in a Business Challenge Project by developing a potential solution to a firm management issue, and also will partner with a firm client in a Client Matter Leadership Opportunity.
While sponsors are champions for their protégés, INVEST ultimately encourages and empowers protégés to be the captains of their own careers by recognizing their initiative and desire to develop at the firm.