The Utah State Bar Commission has awarded the Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award to Jacey Skinner, who is of counsel in Ballard Spahr's Salt Lake City office.
The award, which is named for one of Utah's first female attorneys, is bestowed in recognition of efforts to advance women in the legal profession.
Prior to joining Ballard Spahr, Ms. Skinner advised Utah Governor Gary Herbert in his judicial appointment process for more than eight years. During that time, she counseled him on the appointment of 83 judges, approximately one-third of which were women. As a result of Gov. Herbert's appointments, significantly more female judges serve now than at any time in the history of the state. The appointments include six of the seven court of appeals judges and four of the five members of the Utah Supreme Court.
Ms. Skinner also advised Gov. Herbert as he appointed judicial nominating commissions that reflected the makeup of the Bar, as he appointed the Board of Pardons and Parole—which now has a female majority—and many other boards and commissions.
Additionally, Ms. Skinner has spent her career helping to advance policies to address issues of discrimination and harassment for women, minorities, and juveniles. She has worked closely with the Women Lawyers of Utah and spent time mentoring young lawyers and women interested in applying for judicial positions. She is also a member of the Board of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion.
"I am honored to be included on the list of inspiring women who have received the Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award," Ms. Skinner said. "They are women I have looked up to and admired since law school and throughout my career. This award represents a commitment by the Utah State Bar to elevate our profession and create an opportunity for all to succeed. While I feel I have benefited from the work of others more than I have contributed, I am honored to have been in positions to stand against injustice and to stand up for all of our colleagues, both women and men."
Ms. Skinner's award highlights Ballard Spahr's firmwide commitment to diversity and inclusion. Salt Lake City Litigation Partner Melanie J. Vartabedian was one of three recipients of the Dorathy Merrill Brothers award in 2010.
"We're immensely proud of Jacey, not only for being recognized by the Utah State Bar Association, but for her consistent and energetic support of women in the legal profession," said Salt Lake City Managing Partner Mark Gaylord.