Racial Justice Initiative Earns Ballard Spahr 2022 Bar Foundation Pro Bono Award
The storied Pro Bono program at Ballard Spahr recently notched another major accolade: the 2022 Pro Bono Award from the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.
The annual Pro Bono Award is given to a Philadelphia law firm or corporate legal department that performs outstanding volunteer efforts in providing legal services to those in need, and that makes significant contributions to innovative approaches to legal service delivery.
In announcing the award, the Foundation highlighted Ballard Spahr’s Racial Justice and Equality Initiative. Launched in July 2020, this ongoing pro bono plan of action is dedicated to combating racial injustice and inequity through litigation.
Through the initiative, Ballard Spahr attorneys work closely with public interest organizations to pursue pro bono matters that advance race equity, including by addressing economic, education, and voting rights matters. Current partners include the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Appleseed Network, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, among others.
To date, attorneys from Ballard Spahr’s Litigation Department—including many of the firm’s top litigators—have contributed more than 6,000 pro bono hours for 16 separate representations under the initiative.
In conjunction with the initiative, Ballard Spahr’s Media and Entertainment Law Practice Group launched the Diverse Voice pro bono media law program. Through this effort, the firm represents 16 media outlets that serve communities of color across the country. This includes Resolve Philly, a journalism collective that challenges the industry to be more equitable, collaborative, and community-based. The Diverse Voice effort extends beyond the firm’s media lawyers to involve attorneys across the firm’s practices and offices—who have provided an additional 820 pro bono hours.
“We recognize our responsibility to challenge the inequities in our system,” said Lisa S. Swaminathan, Ballard Spahr’s Pro Bono Counsel. “So we’re proud to be honored by the Bar Foundation for our partnerships with public interest organizations, our commitment to racial justice, and our efforts to effect the change that must happen nationwide—and we are motivated to continue this work.”
Ballard Spahr attorneys contribute more than 50,000 hours annually to pro bono service. The firm partners with agencies throughout the country to provide free legal services to meet the most pressing needs of our communities. The firm consistently ranks among the top 50 law firms in the annual Am Law Pro Bono Report. The numerous awards and honors the firm has received for outstanding commitment to pro bono work include the prestigious ABA Pro Bono Publico Award in 2018.
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