Awards and Rankings

Three Ballard Spahr Attorneys Honored Among Philadelphia's Best by the Business Journal

September 24, 2021

Three Ballard Spahr attorneys are being honored by the Philadelphia Business Journal for their distinguished efforts as leaders in law, business, and the community.

The Business Journal recognized Litigation Partner Leslie E. John and Real Estate Partner Alan S. Ritterband as “Best of the Bar.” The recognition is based on the size, significance, and scope of their legal matters, and their contributions to the industry and community over the past 12 months.

Ballard Spahr Litigation Associate Emilia McKee Vassallo is the inaugural winner of the Amber Racine Award, which celebrates the legacy of the late Amber Racine, a gifted trial lawyer and past President of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia.

“Leslie and Alan are among the very best in the industry and Emilia is a rising superstar,” said Marcel Pratt, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr’s Philadelphia office. “We’re proud to have their work recognized by the Business Journal.”

Ms. John—who has served as the Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr's Antitrust and Competition Group for more than a decade—was honored in the Business Litigation category. This year, she led the successful defense of the American Board of Internal Medicine in an antitrust class action lawsuit challenging its board certification requirements.

Ms. John is a founding member and Co-Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Racial Justice and Equality Initiative—a pro bono effort that combats racial injustice and inequity through litigation. In addition, she is Co-President of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group.

Alan S. Ritterband—who has led negotiations in the development of some of Philadelphia’s most iconic structures, including the Comcast Technology Center and Citizens Bank Park—was honored in the Real Estate category.

This year, Mr. Ritterband piloted negotiations in the $2.6 billion redevelopment of a 109-acre Navy Yard parcel on behalf of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. The plan includes a business campus―life sciences labs, light manufacturing, and offices―along with restaurants, retail, residences, and affordable housing along a prime stretch of waterfront. He also represented Wexford Science and Technology in the development of a $200 million project for Drexel University that will house the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Ms. McKee Vassallo—known for her work in commercial litigation and internal investigations—was singled out as the attorney under the age of 40 who best embodies the personal and professional qualities of Ms. Racine.

Ms. McKee Vassallo was a key member of the team engaged by the Philadelphia City Controller last year to investigate the city’s and police department’s response to civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder. She is a volunteer on the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and serves on Ballard Spahr’s Hiring Committee, where she ensures that the firm is working to further its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at all levels.

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