Ballard Spahr’s Salt Lake City office has been selected as the Utah Diversity Connections Small Business Winner for 2015 in recognition of its commitment to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace, its numerous programs, and its accomplishments.

The sixth annual Utah Business Diversity Awards, co-sponsored by Utah Diversity Connections and the State Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Boards, will be presented at a luncheon on September 23, 2015, during the Utah SHRM Crossroads Conference at the Davis Conference Center.

“Ballard Spahr has a longstanding commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion,” said Blake Wade, Managing Partner of the Salt Lake City office. “It’s more than just a good business strategy. It’s the right thing to do for our employees, clients, the legal profession, and our communities.”

Diversity efforts undertaken in the Salt Lake City office have yielded impressive results. According to the 2014-2015 National Association for Law Placement Survey, the percentage of diverse associates, diverse partners, and women partners in Salt Lake City was 10 percent—twice that of the average percentage of comparable Salt Lake City law offices.

“We are extremely proud of our diversity and inclusion efforts throughout our 14 offices nationwide, and are honored to receive this award for our Salt Lake City office,” said Virginia G. Essandoh, Chief Diversity Officer for Ballard Spahr.

The Utah Diversity Connections Small Business Award is the latest in a number of accolades bestowed upon Ballard Spahr. Earlier this year the firm was honored by Profiles in Diversity Journal with its Diversity Leader Award for its work firmwide in improving diversity and inclusion.

“We have implemented a number of programs locally that are making a difference in the legal profession,” said Partner Melanie J. Vartabedian, a member of the firm’s Diversity Council and a co-leader of the Ballard Women Affinity Group who leads the diversity and inclusion efforts in the Salt Lake City Office.

To attract diverse law students, Ballard Spahr incorporated a Diversity Fellowship program for first-year law students with preference for Utah law schools. Under this program, there was an increase in applications from diverse law students which resulted in a diverse summer program for the Salt Lake City office. For the past two years, the Salt Lake office has also hosted a resume writing and interview skills workshop for diverse first- year law students. Other programs include working with affinity-based law student organizations across the country to increase awareness of the firm and support the pipeline of law students entering the profession.

The Salt Lake City office has sponsored scholarships for law students through the Utah Minority Bar Association for more than five years, and financially supports Utah’s diverse community organizations such as the Women Lawyers of Utah, Equality Utah, and the Utah Minority Bar Foundation.

The Ballard Women affinity group in Salt Lake City hosts networking events for lawyers and clients, and Ballard Spahr has presented to the Association of Corporate Counsel in Utah on diversity and inclusion best practices in the legal profession.