Virginia G. Essandoh, J.D.

Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

Virginia G. Essandoh serves as the firm's Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. She sits on the Management Committee and Expanded Board and is responsible for overseeing, implementing, and providing strategic leadership to Ballard Spahr's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Working closely with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, Virginia advises and collaborates with firm management, including Department Chairs, Office Managing Partners, and administrative professionals to implement the firm's diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic goals and inspire the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion into firm culture. This ranges from high-level development of diversity-related recruitment, development and retention, and advancement for lawyers at all levels to client collaborations that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession as a whole.

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

Law360’s 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Editorial Board

Kimmel Center Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee

Women Owned Law Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Diversity Task Force

Recognition & Accomplishments

Behavioral Coaching Institute, Certified Master Coach

Recipient, National Diversity Council Special Award recognizing women leaders in Pennsylvania, October 2013

Cornell University ILR School Courses (The Law of Equal Employment Opportunity, Cornell University ILR School, 2011; Data Analysis for EEO Professionals, 2011; and Employee Complaints and Investigations, 2013)

Speaking Engagements

"Work in Progress: Achieving Equity in the Modern Firm," Thomson Reuters’ The 21st Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum, New York, October 2022

"Engagement Strategies (Not Surveys) That Work—at Every Level to Make More Inclusive Decisions," Corporate Counsel Women of Color Conference, Chief Diversity Officer Summit, Atlanta, October 2022

"AI Visionaries Fireside Chat with Virginia Essandoh (Ballard Spahr), Mike Gamson (Relativity CEO), Leslie Stahl (60 Minutes)," New York, March 2022

Board Memberships & Community Service

AlphaCare, Board Member

Kimmel Center Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee

Women Owned Law, Advisory Board Member and Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, 2017-2021

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, Board of Directors, 2012-2021

Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, 2008-2014


Co-author, "10 Characteristics of Inclusive Leadership, American Bar Association, Business Law Section," Business Law Today, April 21, 2020

"Sponsorship Programs As A Talent Investment," The Practical Lawyer, February, 2020

Co-author, "Build A Better Boat: Women in Law: 47/44/20," Law Week Colorado, May 9, 2016 



University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (J.D. 1999)

Wilberforce University (B.A., cum laude, 1994)


Supreme Court of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin