With deep roots in Philly, Ballard Spahr has made its mark across the U.S. with 15 offices. The firm has a particularly robust litigation practice and has been lauded for its focus on innovation. The firm attracts friendly, outgoing types who are supportive of their colleagues and enjoy socializing.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2022)

500 - 750


No. of Partners Named (2022)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)



No. of Summer Associates (2022)

39 total (28 2Ls; 111Ls)


Base Salary

1st year: $200,000 in Baltimore, Delaware, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC

Vault Verdict

Live and direct from Philly town, meet Ballard Spahr. A true Philly native, Ballard Spahr keeps it real with respect to its culture, and it wants to hire people who genuinely want to be part of the firm—no stepping stones here. The firm’s main office in Philadelphia hires heavily from local law schools, but don’t think the hiring process is any less competitive. Associates love the fact that the firm is BigLaw without being “cutthroat,” with a deep respect for personal lives and boundaries. Associates feel that the partners are deeply invested in their careers and success, although they wish that management were more transparent with respect to promotions, compensation, and other high-level decision making. The firm’s compensation is below the NYC market, but associates largely fe...

About the Firm

One of the largest and most prominent firms in Philadelphia, Ballard Spahr has a strong and growing national footprint, with more than 600 lawyers in 15 offices across the country. The firm has thriving practices in litigation, business and transactions, intellectual property, finance, and real estate.

Philadelphia Breeds a Nationwide Network

Ballard Spahr traces its roots to 1885, when Philadelphia lawyer Ellis Ballard joined a law firm helmed by Rufus Shapley. They were joined by fellow University of Pennsylvania alumnus Boyd Lee Spahr and R. Sturgis Ingersoll. In the early 1930s, the firm became known as Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll—later changed to Ballard Spahr LLP in 2009. The opening of a Washington, DC office in 1978 marked the beginning of decades of expansion bey...

Associate Reviews


  • “Ballard prides itself on its culture, and most attorneys and staff take it to heart. People generally are pleasant, collegial, and conversational.”
  • “The culture is one that promotes respect for the individual and their boundaries within and outside the workplace. I do not get emails on weekends from partners who assume I am online. If I do get an email on a weekend, it is because I am staffed on something time sensitive and it's all hands on deck. There is a spirit of community effort and no one is too good or too novice to take something on. Lawyers are encouraged to rely on their peers for review and for feedback.”
  • “Even pre-pandemic there wasn't much of a social atmosphere, which isn't to say people aren't extremely nice and good to spend a workday with. There just isn't much of an after-work social culture. The office has a number of very separate practice groups, so there are definitely attorneys I'll go months without seeing, even though it's not a terribly large office.” 
  • “The day-to-day atmosphere at this firm is extremely pleasant. The people are kind and I haven't dealt with any unreasonable partners or associates. Politically, the firm is very liberal. Also, the firm takes racial equity very seriously.”

Diversity at Ballard Spahr

"We believe that varied perspectives drive insightful counsel. Ballard Spahr is committed to creating a vibrant community where the needs, viewpoints, and contributions of people from all backgrounds are valued and integrated into every aspect of the firm. Diversity is the natural result of an inclusive environment. Our goal is to improve recruitment and retention among underrepresented groups and to ensure that all people have full access to opportunity-to the benefit of our clients, the legal profession, and our communities...."

Getting Hired Here

  • “Ballard conducts interviewer training for members of its hiring committee on an annual basis and provides training around unconscious bias to preserve the integrity of the hiring process.”
  • “I think my firm focuses more on experience and personality than grades or journal experience. That being said, coming from a local law school helps. Being in a desirable city, we don't want people to use Ballard to just get into the state and then jump ship.”
  • “The firm prioritizes diversity, prior work experience, and commitment to the practice area. There are trainings for interviewers, particularly concerning DEI, but no formal guidelines.”
  • “I think the firm is not as competitive for students who graduated from top 10 law schools. Otherwise, I think it is competitive. The firm values grades, journal experience, clerkships, prior work experience, personality, and diversity. The hiring process is very holistic, and I think diversity is one of the most important factors right now. The firm's Philadelphia office frequently hires from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.”