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Ballard Spahr celebrates 10 years in Phoenix with Diversity Scholarship at ASU law college


John Kerkorian

John G. Kerkorian is the managing partner at Ballard Spahr's Phoenix Office. the firm has founded the Ballard Spahr Diversity Scholarship at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

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April 05, 2016

Ballard Spahr’s Phoenix office is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a $125,000 gift to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. The first scholarship from the Ballard Spahr Diversity Scholarship — $25,000 for one year of tuition — will be awarded for the 2016-2017 academic year, and the recipient will be known as the Ballard Spahr Diversity Scholar.

“We are making this donation as a way to give back to the community that has supported us for 10 years and to welcome the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law to its new space in downtown Phoenix,” said John G. Kerkorian, managing partner of the Phoenix office. “This is our home and we are delighted to provide this opportunity to future law students.”

Downtown Phoenix is a far different place than in 2010 when Ballard Spahr was one of the first major law firms to move to CityScape. ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus has been a major contributor to the vibrancy of the area, and the six-story Arizona Center for Law and Society — the new home of ASU Law — will be a significant addition to its downtown campus when it opens this August. One of the interview rooms in this state-of-the-art facility will be named after Ballard Spahr in recognition of the gift.

“It is very important for us to attract and graduate law students with diverse backgrounds,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “The Ballard Spahr Diversity Scholarship gives us another resource to further that goal, and we are grateful to the firm for its support.”

Ballard Spahr is nationally recognized for its commitment to diversity in the legal profession, and is committed to ensuring full access to opportunities for all people.

“Our goal is to help ASU with the recruitment and retention of exceptional students who will contribute to the diversity and inclusion of the legal field as they advance in their careers,” said Virginia Essandoh, chief diversity officer for the firm. “The scholarship will be given in perpetuity to deserving diverse law school students.”

Ballard Spahr’s Phoenix office opened in September 2006 and it was a strategic move in the firm’s expansion in the West, where the firm has offices in six cities.

“We established our Phoenix office with two of the area's most prominent business and finance attorneys — Steve Savage and Karen McConnell — who gave the firm instant credibility in the market,” said firm chair Mark Stewart. “Steve and Karen grew the office by attracting talented lawyers who were unwavering in their commitment to our clients, passionate about growing their practices, and dedicated to the communities where they live and work.”

The Phoenix office now has more than 35 attorneys representing all departments of the firm: litigation, real estate, business and finance, public finance, and intellectual property. Savage was the Managing Partner until Kerkorian assumed leadership of the office last summer.

ASU Law is ranked No. 25 among all American Bar Association-accredited law schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Based on data collected by the ABA, ASU Law also ranks No. 11 in the nation for job placement.

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