BALLARD SPAHR: Ballard Spahr Wins American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award

By Press release submission | Jun 23, 2018

Ballard Spahr issued the following announcement on June 1.

Ballard Spahr has been awarded the American Bar Association's (ABA) 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award for its outstanding commitment to providing volunteer legal services to underserved and disadvantaged populations.

Ballard Spahr is one of five recipients of the award, which the ABA's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents annually to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession. Recipients have included small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, and other organizations involving the legal profession.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the firm's formal pro bono program. Ballard Spahr was one of the first law firms in the country to create a full-time pro bono counsel position and apply the practice group model to pro bono services. Since the inception of its program, Ballard Spahr lawyers have contributed more than half a million hours of pro bono work to individuals, organizations, and causes.

Among the highlights of the firm's pro bono work is its representation of women athletes. Ballard Spahr lawyers have represented the players of the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team and the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team in their pursuit of equitable pay. In 2017, the firm negotiated a labor contract with USA Hockey, which provided fair pay and equitable support for women's and girls' programs nationwide.

Ballard Spahr is also dedicated to criminal justice reform pro bono work, including death penalty, prisoner civil rights, and expungement cases. More than 100 Ballard Spahr attorneys represented clients pro bono through Clemency Project 2014, addressing inmates serving disproportionately harsh prison terms under then-mandatory sentencing laws. President Barack Obama granted 29 petitions filed by Ballard Spahr, more than any other Am Law 100 firm.

The firm's pro bono efforts also include longstanding community outreach programs, such as small business, estate planning, and family law clinics. For the past 22 years, Ballard Spahr has partnered with the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) to host legal clinics at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. More than 200 Ballard Spahr attorneys, law students, and paralegals have spent more than 3,800 hours counseling homeless clients at bimonthly legal clinics at the shelter and have volunteered an additional 10,500 hours representing clients referred by HAP, including matters involving identity documents, public benefits, and housing issues.

As a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, originally established by the ABA and now administered by the Pro Bono Institute, Ballard Spahr has annually made and met a commitment to donate at least 3 percent of its billable hours to pro bono service—more than 43,000 hours this past year. Ballard Spahr consistently ranks among the top 100 law firms in the Am Law Pro Bono Report and has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of its outstanding commitment to pro bono work.

Original source can be found here.

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