Ballard Spahr has named Peter Michaud as the law firm’s first new leader in more than a decade, effective in 2024.
Michaud, chair of the business and transactions department, joined the Philadelphia-founded firm in 2018 through its merger with Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum. He will succeed Mark Stewart, who will step down Dec. 31, 2023.
The firm of more than 600 attorneys in 15 offices provides services in areas including transactions, finance, intellectual property and litigation. Its gross revenue reached $470 million last year, up 10% from 2020.
Ballard Spahr lawyers recently defended The New York Times in a defamation suit by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The firm last year counseled a Sykes Enterprises Inc.'s board committee on the company’s $2.2 billion merger with Sitel Group.
“I believe that Mark has done such a great job of leading our firm and we’re at a such a good place that I hope to continue what we’re doing and build off of what [Stewart’s] done so I don’t intend to go in any other direction” Michaud said in an interview with Bloomberg Law.
Michaud is a private equity and mergers and acquisitions lawyer who became office managing partner of Ballard Spahr’s Minneapolis office follow its merger with Lindquist, where he spent more than two decades. He became Ballard Spahr’s business and finance department chairman in 2019.
As chair, Michaud will be responsible for overall firm strategy, operations and client relations. He will split time between Minneapolis and Philadelphia, the firm’s largest office, once he takes the new role. Michaud and Stewart will work together during an 18-month transition.
Stewart, after leading the firm for 11 years, will return to his full-time practice as a partner upon stepping down.
As firm chair, and as strategic planning partner before that, Stewart oversaw the firm’s expansion into markets including Atlanta, Minneapolis and New York. Michaud said he and the firm remain open to merging, focusing on boutiques specializing in certain practice areas, as well as lateral additions.
“I think we’re focused on growth in practice areas that we believe our clients will want and need,” Michaud said. “We are a very collaborative firm, and we value diversity and inclusion and making sure that everyone has a voice,” said Michaud, who is openly gay.
Being the leader of a major law firm and a member of the community “makes a difference,” he said. Michaud noted that there were very few openly LGBTQ attorneys when he began his career.
“As a young attorney, when you’re starting your career, you want to be able to look up and see someone you can identify with,” he said. “Someone who you can relate to and say, if that person can do it, I can do it. And so that part is very exciting for me—I want to be that person”.