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Salt Lake City—Ballard Spahr has the fourth highest percentage of women equity partners of any U.S. law firm – nearly 10 percent higher than the national average – according to a recent study by The American Lawyer.
Twenty-six percent of Ballard Spahr partners are women, compared with just 16.8 percent nationally. The statistics were part of a major study of the nation’s top 200 firms conducted by the publication, which concluded that law firms lag behind nearly every other industry in their percentage of women leaders.
“It’s alarming that, at a time when more than 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies counted women as general counsel and more than half of all law school graduates are women, the number of female partners has remained so flat at major firms,” said Ballard Spahr Chair Mark Stewart. “And while we soar above the national average, we’re committed to increasing that number by creating a culture of inclusion that provides leadership roles for our outstanding women partners and creates a pathway to partnership for our women associates.”
The study is not the first to recognize Ballard Spahr as a leader in this area. This year, the firm was named one of the top 100 law firms in the nation for female attorneys by Law360. For the past four years, it has earned Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for its success in providing opportunities and leadership roles for women attorneys. And Ballard Spahr exceeds the National Association of Law Placement average for its percentage of women partners and associates and for minority partners.
Ballard Spahr’s local office follows suit—its number of female equity partners in Salt Lake City is above the national average, as well. Across the firm nationwide, nearly twice the national average of women of color work with Ballard Spahr.
“Accolades are great, but inclusion is also good business,” said Lynn E. Rzonca, who leads the firm’s Ballard Women affinity group, which provides networking opportunities for women lawyers and clients, supports the mentoring of women associates, and presents programs on professional development. “Clients have told us they want varied perspectives on their legal teams. Getting there means being mindful in your recruiting efforts, creating an environment that encourages and supports women lawyers, and staffing matters with an eye toward inclusion.”