Ballard Spahr has signed on to the ElevateHer Challenge, a Women's Leadership Institute initiative that calls for signatory businesses and organizations to elevate the stature of women's leadership in their workplaces.

Launched in 2015, the ElevateHer Challenge focuses on improving six key areas for businesses. It encourages organizations to increase the percentage of women in senior leadership roles, raise the retention rate of women at all levels, and add women to boards—both internal to the organization and in the community. It also recommends monitoring the gender pay gap, creating mentorship and leadership development programs for women, and encouraging women to run for political office.

Ballard Spahr is one of 40 new organizations to sign on to the challenge, bringing the total number of participants up to 200.

The firm has a longstanding commitment to advancing women in the workplace. Last year, it was named among the top 50 law firms for women lawyers by the National Law Journal's Female Scorecard, which ranks the nation's largest law firms according to their percentages of women attorneys. Ballard Spahr has been awarded the Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for seven consecutive years and is among an elite group of law firms that has consistently attained this recognition since the program's inception in 2011.

With women comprising 25.9 percent of its equity partners, Ballard Spahr is above the national average for firms reporting data to The National Association for Law Placement (NALP). One third of the firm's Salt Lake City office's partners are women, which is significantly higher than the NALP-measured 12.9 percent average of women partners in Salt Lake City firms. Ballard Spahr supports its female lawyers through the Ballard Women affinity group, which is co-chaired by Salt Lake City Partner Melanie J. Vartabedian. The group hosts events for women clients and prospective clients; supports a mentoring program for younger women lawyers; and sponsors professional development programming.

The Women's Leadership Institute is a Utah-based organization that works to elevate women leaders by demonstrating the value of diversity in leadership roles, training women in leadership skills, and conveying the positive impact female leaders have on economic development, vitality, and the overall health of the state.