Ballard Spahr has been awarded the Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) for the seventh consecutive year. Ballard Spahr is among an elite group of law firms that has consistently attained this recognition since the program's inception in 2011.

WILEF is the premier organization for women in law dedicated to helping women in the largest law firms and corporate law departments advance their careers by developing a sense of empowerment and becoming leaders.

The Gold Standard Certification is based on objective criteria for female participation in firm and practice management and governance, as well as the promotion and compensation of women attorneys. It emphasizes leadership positions achieved by women equity partners and recognizes firms for their commitment to promoting and fairly compensating women and successfully integrating outstanding female attorneys into the highest echelons of leadership.

"The leadership at Ballard recognizes the value and importance of diversity to our clients, at our firm, and in our profession," said Melanie J. Vartabedian, co-leader of the firm’s Ballard Women affinity group. "Ballard has an active commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion for underrepresented groups, including women."

Ballard Spahr met or exceeded six of the seven criteria for the 2017 WILEF Gold Standard Certification. Women constitute 25.3 percent of the firm’s equity partners, make up 30 percent of the firm’s practice group leaders/department heads, and comprise 50 percent of the firm’s compensation committee, all areas in which the firm exceeded the standards. The firm also exceeded new criteria related to diverse partners. Women of color are 17.5 percent of women equity partners and LGBT women are 7 percent of women equity partners.

The firm sponsors two affinity groups for women. Ballard Women, which includes partners, counsel, and of counsel, hosts events for women clients and prospective clients; develops mentoring programs for their younger counterparts; and sponsors professional development programs. The Ballard Women Associates group provides opportunities for networking, mentoring, and professional development. Together with Ballard Women, it is a resource for law students and young lawyers.

Ballard Spahr has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Last year, the firm was ranked one of the 100 best U.S. law firms for women attorneys by Law360 as part of its Glass Ceiling report. This year, the firm ranked in the top 20 percent of AmLaw 200 firms for minority equity partners.

"We are fortunate to have so many women who are exceptional lawyers and leaders," said firm Chair Mark Stewart. "They have, through their efforts and achievements, helped to create an atmosphere in which they can do their best work, which benefits clients and the firm."

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