Ballard Spahr's Salt Lake City office has been selected by Utah Diversity Connections as its 2018 Business Diversity Award winner in the "small companies" category for the firm's efforts to support and advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Ballard Spahr is a two-time honoree, having previously won the award in 2015.

Utah Diversity Connections is a group of employers working to assist Utah businesses in building diverse workforces and with diverse employees seeking supportive employers. The award is co-sponsored by Utah Diversity Connections and Utah SHRM, the state affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management. The honor will be presented during a luncheon on September 19 at Utah SHRM's 2018 Utah Crossroads Conference.

Ballard Spahr's Salt Lake City Office serves as an important Western hub in the firm's national network of more than 650 lawyers in 15 offices across the United States. Lawyers in the Utah office advise clients on general business matters including real estate and business transactions—especially in the region's rapidly growing financial sector and thriving resort and hospitality space—and represent regional and national companies in the full range of commercial litigation. The Salt Lake office reflects Ballard Spahr's firm-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion to generate innovative solutions that spring from varied viewpoints and perspectives.

"We're honored to be recognized once more by Utah Diversity Connections for our efforts to promote a more diverse and inclusive environment," said Mark Gaylord, Managing Partner of the Salt Lake City office. "Diversity is a fundamental part of the firm's culture, and we're committed to fostering an environment where all employees feel welcome and empowered to succeed."

The Business Diversity Award is the latest in a series of such accolades Ballard Spahr has received this year. The firm was ranked as one of the top 10 law firms of its size for minority lawyers in Law360's Diversity Snapshot. Ballard Spahr also received Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for the eighth consecutive year. The firm earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, which recognizes companies for providing benefits and protections for LGBTQ employees and their families.

"Diversity and inclusion are a top priority at the firm, and we constantly look for ways to expand our programs and initiatives," said Partner Melanie J. Vartabedian, a member of the firm's Diversity Council and a co-Chair of the Ballard Women Affinity Group. "The ability to draw upon a wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives allows us to be more effective in handling our clients' most challenging legal issues."

The Salt Lake City office has sponsored scholarships for diverse law students through the Utah Minority Bar Association, and financially supports Utah's diverse community organizations such as the Women Lawyers of Utah, Equality Utah, and the Utah Minority Bar Foundation. For the past four years, the office has hosted a resume writing and interview skills workshop for diverse first-year law students. The office also has incorporated Diversity Fellowships as part of a strategy to recruit diverse law students for its summer associate program.

The Ballard Women affinity group in Salt Lake City hosts networking events for lawyers and clients, and Ballard Spahr has presented to the Association of Corporate Counsel in Utah on diversity and inclusion best practices in the legal profession.