Ballard Spahr has been recognized as Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by Maryland Legal Aid, a new award from the nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and underserved Maryland residents.

The 2018 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year recognizes Ballard Spahr's pro bono efforts over the past year provided through Maryland Legal Aid's Community Lawyering Initiative, as well as the firm's support of the organization's Equal Justice Council, a group of legal and business leaders who lend their time, expertise, and counsel to Maryland Legal Aid. The inaugural Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award was presented to Ballard Spahr yesterday as part of Maryland Legal Aid's 21st Annual Equal Justice Awards Breakfast at Camden Yards.

"Because of your firm's pro bono efforts, clients at Living Classrooms Foundation and Our Daily Bread Employment Center were able to receive a second chance to turn their lives around," stated Maryland Legal Aid Executive Director Wilhelm H. Joseph, Jr., referring to Ballard Spahr's participation in and support of expungement clinics to help ex-offenders clear their records of old or minor crimes and arrests. The clinics implement legislative changes that stemmed from the realization that stale criminal charges seriously undermine the ability of ex-offenders to obtain gainful employment, housing, and child custody.

"Ballard Spahr's commitment to participating in pro bono clinics with Maryland Legal Aid underscores your firm's unwavering support for equal access to justice for all," Mr. Joseph stated. "Your law firm is an outstanding example of how private firms can make a direct positive impact on the lives of Maryland's most vulnerable neighbors."

"We're proud to support Maryland Legal Aid in its mission of advancing human rights and justice for all," said Jon Laria, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr's Baltimore office. "And we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute our skills to important pro bono efforts that literally make a life-changing impact on the people the organization serves—including the poor, children in need, victims of abuse and domestic violence, migrant workers, veterans, and the elderly."

Ballard Spahr's Baltimore office has a long history of distinguished service to Maryland Legal Aid. The firm has received the organization's Pacesetter Award for outstanding contributions, and Baltimore-based Partner Raymond G. Truitt is a past recipient of the Champions for Justice Award in recognition of his leadership and support of the Equal Justice Council.

For more than 25 years, the lawyers in Ballard Spahr's Baltimore office have provided legal counsel and representation to corporate, nonprofit, government, and individual clients across numerous areas of law—from business and real estate transactions to regulatory compliance, high-stakes litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. The Baltimore office is home base to some of the region's most highly respected attorneys and serves as an important Mid-Atlantic hub in Ballard Spahr's nationwide network of more than 650 attorneys in 15 offices. In keeping with Ballard Spahr's firm-wide commitment to pro bono representation and service to the community, Baltimore office attorneys contribute thousands of hours of pro bono time each year, and also serve in leadership positions in dozens of community organizations that are working to make Maryland the best it can be.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Ballard Spahr's formal pro bono program, which recently garnered the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services to underserved and disadvantaged populations. The firm consistently ranks among the top 100 law firms in the Am Law Pro Bono Report and has received numerous awards in recognition of its outstanding commitment to pro bono work.

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