Press Release

Ballard Spahr Attains Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification, Plus Status for Diversity and Inclusion in Firm Leadership

September 13, 2021

National law firm Ballard Spahr has achieved Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification and Mansfield Certification Plus status in recognition of the firm’s commitment to and achievement of increased diversity and inclusion in firm leadership roles, certifying organization Diversity Lab announced today.

Created and administered by Diversity Lab, an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions to boost diversity and inclusion in the legal industry, Mansfield Rule Certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions. Mansfield Certification Plus status indicates that, in addition to meeting or exceeding the baseline certification requirements, a firm has successfully achieved at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of its current leadership roles.

“What makes me most proud is that we did not have to modify our practices or adopt new policies to achieve this recognition,” Ballard Spahr Chair Mark S. Stewart said. “This certification simply affirms that we have been on the right track all along.”

Registration for Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certification was open to U.S. and Canadian law firms with more than 100 attorneys, covering the period July 15, 2020, through July 14, 2021. Ballard Spahr is among 118 law firms that participated in the process. The firm is among those currently working with Diversity Lab on the Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification process, which officially began July 15, 2021, and includes a heightened focus on transparency of firms’ partner compensation criteria. Diversity Lab has recently launched Mansfield Rule Certification programs for midsize U.S. and Canadian law firms and in-house corporate legal departments, as well as a pilot program for U.K. firms.

“Mansfield Certification is an external recognition of the diversity and inclusion we’ve been focused on for more than a decade. Our focus on diversity and inclusion in our recruiting, retention, advancement and promotion, and client work is part of the fabric of the firm,” said Virginia G. Essandoh, Ballard Spahr’s Chief Diversity Officer. “This work is more important than ever in light of the recent and historical instances of racial injustices faced by Black Americans and other people of color.”

Development of the firm’s technology-enabled Diversity and Inclusion Dashboard by our Client Value and Innovation Team, genuine and collaborative commitment to diversity and inclusion by our legal and administrative leaders, and consistent entry of data by administrative departments firm-wide facilitated efficient tracking of progress toward certification benchmarks, Ms. Essandoh said, and allowed for a seamless application process.

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