WHAT IS A DIVERSITY PIPELINE PROGRAM?
“A PIPELINE PROGRAM SEEKS TO INCREASE THE FLOW OF RACIALLY AND ETHNICALLY DIVERSE LAWYERS BY RAISING AWARENESS AND STIMULATING INTEREST IN LAW AS A CAREER AMONG DIVERSE STUDENTS. AN EFFECTIVE PIPELINE PROGRAM BUILDS INTEREST IN LAW AS A CAREER BY INVESTING IN THE ACADEMIC PREPARATION OF STUDENTS AT THE ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE SCHOOL, HIGH SCHOOL, AND COLLEGE LEVELs.”
– VIRGINIA G. ESSANDOH, CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER
Ballard Spahr has a strong commitment to fostering a dynamic pipeline of future legal minds. We sponsor a variety of programs and initiatives to spark an interest in students to help them successfully navigate a pathway to the legal profession.
Constitution High School Pipeline Program
This is the 10th year of Ballard Spahr’s groundbreaking pipeline partnership with the Philadelphia School District, the National Constitution Center, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to sponsor Constitution High School. This magnet school—with a 90 percent minority student body—is the only Philadelphia high school with a targeted curriculum focused on civics, democracy, and history. Our involvement with Constitution High is multifaceted.
Principal Dr. Thomas R. Davidson addresses students and guests
at ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 18, 2006.
Ninth-Grade Job Shadowing
Since the school’s inception, every ninth-grader has had the opportunity to experience a day of job shadowing at Ballard Spahr. Students learn about different careers within the law firm and larger legal profession. They learn practical skills such as negotiation and contract drafting and engage in job-exploration activities that encourage them to pursue higher education and consider careers in law.
Students participating in job shadowing at Ballard Spahr
celebrating 10 years of Ballard Spahr's mentoring and job shadowing programs.
A select number of students are accepted into the firm’s mentoring program and are matched with lawyers, paralegals, or staff. Students are advised on academic and career choices. Ballard Spahr uses state-of-the-art interactive software designed to facilitate e-mentoring of students by business professionals. By offering various interactive tools, and by tracking students’ learning progress, the software allows mentors to advise students electronically in addition to in-person mentoring. Ballard Spahr clients also participate in this mentoring program.
Erika Griffin, Diversity Coordinator, with the 2016 Constitution High Mentees during orientation.
Every summer, we offer paid summer internships to one or two students. Students work in various departments at the firm with the objective of exposing them to substantive work experience within a range of disciplines.
Each June, Ballard Spahr celebrates the graduation of the senior class of Constitution High and presents the Diversity = Excellence Scholarship to a student interested in pursuing a career in law.
Ballard Spahr lawyers serve on the school’s advisory board and work with students and faculty to provide curricular support. The firm uses its connections in the Philadelphia legal and business community to enhance the school program.
Ballard Spahr staff and lawyers partner with students on several community service projects each year, including a toy collection during the holidays, an annual coat drive for the homeless, and a benefit for a community garden.
Our attorneys coach the school’s two mock trial teams. We are proud to have sponsored construction of the school’s mock trial room, which was dedicated in November 2008 by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, for whom it is named.
Students with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (left)
and federal Judge Marjorie O. Rendell
West High School Pipeline Program
We partner with West High School located minutes from our Salt Lake City Offices. West High is a public high school in Salt Lake City with 2,531 students and is consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in Utah. Ballard attorneys participate in panel discussions with students who have an interest in law or history.
Ballard Spahr attorneys presenting to students at West High School
Canyon Springs High School Pipeline Program
Our Las Vegas office is partnering with Canyon Springs High School and the Leadership and Law Preparatory Academy in their active attorney mentor program.
Atlanta Public Schools Pipeline Program
The Atlanta office is sponsoring a summer internship program to expose students to the legal profession as well as a business environment. The program is open to rising 10th- through 12th- graders. Through the course of the internship, students will complete a long-term project related to their department, for which they will make a final presentation.
The Atlanta office is working with the Atlanta Public Schools Gifted Internship and Mentorship Program, which works with eight high schools in Atlanta.
Virginia G. Essandoh
Mary Gay Scanlon