Ballard Spahr Chair Mark Stewart has been named the recipient of the Albert S. Dandridge, III Business Law Section Diversity Award. The award will be presented by the Business Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association on January 19.

The award is given annually to an individual or organization that has made a substantial contribution to diversity in the Philadelphia area and promotes inclusion within the legal profession. The 2013 award went to Ballard Spahr partner Leslie E. John.

It is named for Albert S. Dandridge, III, a former Business Law Section Chair and a driving force behind the Business Law Section’s Diversity Plan. The award is accompanied by a donation made on the recipient’s behalf to an organization that supports diversity and inclusion.

"Under the guidance of our Chief Diversity Officer, Virginia Essandoh, Ballard has made meaningful strides in creating a workplace in which every lawyer has opportunities for professional achievement and advancement," Mr. Stewart said. "We are fortunate to work in an environment in which our partners and other lawyers recognize the value and importance of diversity to our clients, at our firm, and in our profession. I'm proud to accept this award on behalf of the firm."

As Chair, Mr. Stewart appoints diverse lawyers to firm leadership positions, ensures diverse client teams, recruits diverse partners, and regularly speaks to high school students as the firm develops a pipeline of diverse students interested in legal careers. Mr. Stewart is the past chair and a current member of the firm’s Diversity Council.  Last year, he was recognized by Profiles in Diversity Journal with the magazine's 2015 Diversity Leader Award.

Ballard Spahr is a leader in the area of diversity and inclusion. According to the most recent statistics from the National Association for Law Placement, minority partners make up about four percent of partners in Philadelphia law firms, but are nearly 10 percent of partners in Ballard Spahr's Philadelphia office. Minority women partners make up about one percent of lawyers in Philadelphia firms and more than seven percent in Ballard Spahr's Philadelphia office.