Ballard Spahr is being recognized by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession for its role in advancing women lawyers both within the firm and in the legal field. The firm will be named to the Commission’s 2013 Honor Roll of Legal Organizations Welcoming Women Professionals during the organization’s 20th annual conference in Pittsburgh on May 9.

The Honor Roll salutes law firms that provide innovative solutions designed to support women in their professional development and advancement, such as flexible work schedules, back-up child care, and networking events. Ballard Spahr is being honored for its “Pass the Gavel” and “Plus One” programs, which encourage its female attorneys to mentor each other and network.

“Pass the Gavel” grew out of a collaboration between two Ballard Spahr affinity groups for women: Ballard Women, a group for female partners, counsel, and of counsel, and the Female Non-Partner Lawyers Group. In this program, an attorney who has the gavel must invite a female colleague to lunch, where she then passes the gavel to her colleague. Women lawyers at all levels are encouraged to participate.

“It is vitally important to provide opportunities for female associates to connect with more senior attorneys in the firm, and ‘Pass the Gavel’ makes those relationships happen through a creative and fun ritual,” said Lynn E. Rzonca, a Ballard Spahr intellectual property attorney and co-leader of Ballard Women. “This program enables female attorneys to get to know each other, learn from one another, and grow in their professional development.”

The “Plus One” program, an annual networking event in Philadelphia, is sponsored by the Female Non-Partner Lawyers Group and was conceived by labor and employment associate Alexandra Bak-Boychuk, a co-leader of the group. The event is designed to foster networking and friendship more widely among the city’s young female professionals. Each Ballard Spahr female associate is encouraged to invite a female professional friend outside the firm to attend the event.

“For me, it’s not only important to network with my peers and more senior colleagues within the firm, it’s also key to make connections with young professional women from across a range of industries,” Ms. Bak-Boychuk said. “While ‘Plus One’ gives female associates an avenue for business development, it’s much more than just a business event. It’s a unique and fun social gathering that’s always well attended.”

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