Ballard Spahr Rises Ranks in Annual American Lawyer Pro Bono Survey

Ballard Spahr July 18, 2017

Ballard Spahr ranked in the top 20 percent of Am Law 200 firms in 2016 for U.S. pro bono commitment, according to The American Lawyer‘s latest Pro Bono Survey. 

The survey collects information from the country’s largest law firms to gauge their commitment to pro bono service. It ranks firms based on the average number of pro bono hours worked per lawyer and on the percentage of lawyers at the firm who devoted at least 20 hours to pro bono matters.

With an average of 73 pro bono hours per lawyer and 68 percent of all attorneys performing more than 20 hours of pro bono work in 2016, Ballard Spahr ranked 34th in the survey. The firm’s average hours per lawyer exceeded the average for U.S.-based lawyers at Am Law 200 firms by 16 hours last year.

“I have always been impressed by the deep dedication that our lawyers have to pro bono work, and this ranking reflects that commitment,” said Pro Bono Counsel Mary Gay Scanlon. “Our lawyers continue to outdo themselves and we couldn’t be more proud.”

In 2016, Ballard Spahr dedicated its pro bono time to criminal justice reform, first amendment work, immigration challenges, gender equity, and election protection. Of particular note was its extensive work on Clemency Project 2014. A U.S. Department of Justice initiative, the project enlisted thousands of lawyers to review and file clemency petitions for nonviolent offenders who likely would have received shorter sentences under current sentencing guidelines. More than 100 Ballard Spahr lawyers devoted their time to the cause, all together exceeding 10,000 hours in representing federal prisoners seeking clemency. Twenty-nine Ballard Spahr clients received grants of Presidential clemency.

Another highlight was the firm’s representation of the United States Women’s National Hockey Team in its bid for equitable wages and support for player development. Ballard Spahr attorneys negotiated a successful agreement for the women just days before they won the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation’s Women’s World Championship. 

Ballard Spahr has a longstanding commitment to providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations in need. As a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, established by the American Bar Association and administered by the Pro Bono Institute, the firm has annually met its commitment to donate at least three percent of billable hours to pro bono service: about 40,000 hours each year—including 44,000 hours in 2016—across the spectrum of issues and causes including immigration and asylum, gender employment equity, religious freedom, homelessness, and affordable housing. The firm works with bar associations and pro bono referral agencies and also partners with in-house counsel at client companies to provide pro bono services.

About Ballard Spahr

Ballard Spahr LLP, an Am Law 100 law firm with more than 500 lawyers in 13 offices in the United States, provides a range of services in litigation, business and finance, real estate, intellectual property, and public finance. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, life sciences and technology companies, health systems, investors and developers, government agencies and sponsored enterprises, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The firm combines a national scope of practice with strong regional market knowledge. For more information, please visit

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