Ballard Spahr partner Emilie R. Ninan received the inaugural Hinton J. Lucas, Jr., Torchbearer Award at the 2013 DuPont Minority Counsel Network Conference last week in Chicago. Named in honor of DuPont’s vice president and assistant general counsel who is known for his exceptional community service and efforts to advance diversity in the legal profession, the award recognizes a member of the network who has promoted initiatives that create opportunities for diverse attorneys.

Ms. Ninan, President of the North American South Asian Bar Association, was selected for the outstanding leadership she has demonstrated through many years of involvement with the DuPont Minority Counsel Network and for her dedication to advancing diversity within and outside of the network. Through mentorship, speaking engagements, and the creation of networking opportunities, Ms. Ninan has assisted in the professional development of countless current and future attorneys.

Ms. Ninan was the first partner of color at her former firm and is the only South Asian female partner at a major law firm in Delaware. While she may be the first, she is determined not to be the last.

“To be honored as a torchbearer by an organization that I hold in such high esteem is a call to action,” said Ms. Ninan. “I will continue to do whatever I can to light the way for those who are following a similar path.”

The Torchbearer Award, presented after conference-welcoming remarks by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was a surprise to both Ms. Ninan and the award’s namesake. Ms. Ninan also moderated a panel at the conference on how to leverage affinity group leadership, focusing on why some members of the network choose to lead affinity groups and how such leadership can be both challenging and beneficial personally and professionally.

Ms. Ninan, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr’s Wilmington office, is responsible for the public finance practice in Delaware. She works with governmental, quasi-governmental, and private entities, including 501(c)(3) institutions, to obtain lower-cost capital financing through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds.

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Diversity