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Disability Task Force at Reed Smith

Our Disability Task Force was inspired by the 2012 Paralympics. We wanted to ensure our recruitment efforts reached out to more people with disabilities, so we changed our recruitment processes to make it more inclusive.

The task force comprises senior managers from HR and learning and development, alongside partners from diverse practice areas. It aims to:

  • Widen our recruitment to a more diverse population.
  • Partner with charities that help disabled people gain skills and employment.
  • Educate and increase collaboration across the firm.
  • Adapt our practices and policies to be more disability friendly.

Our aim is to become the law firm of choice for disabled candidates.

The success of our commitment to disability inclusion, and of the various disability-focused initiatives and programmes in which we have invested, is measured by the results achieved. We are proud, therefore, that over the past three years the disability inclusiveness of our firm has improved substantially.

  • Since 2013 we have offered nine summer vacation scheme places.
  • Since 2014 we have received 85 applications for summer vacation scheme places and 95 applications for training contracts.
  • Since 2014 we have made six training contracts offers (all of which have been accepted).
  • In 2015, 139 candidates reported that they applied as a result of our partnership with Aspiring Solicitors.
  • In 2015, six candidates reported that they applied to us as a result of our involvement in OPEN, an event run by MyPlusConsulting.
  • In 2015, 21 candidates reported they applied as a result of our relationship with EmployAbility.
  • In 2016, we jointly hosted a ‘Disability Café’ event for clients and staff, to promote greater understanding of disability and share experiences around recruitment.

Last year we won seven awards and were shortlisted for numerous others for our work in recruiting candidates with a disability. The continual recognition by our peers as leaders in recruiting in this area is very gratifying.

But don’t just take our word for it . . .

“Reed Smith created a unique recruitment programme solely for applicants with disabilities, both for work experience and training contracts. This work has been ground-breaking and we have spoken about it at conferences and networking events. Our members struggle to break through the many hurdles that exist in legal recruitment. Obtaining work experience on the Reed Smith scheme has made a tremendous difference to them. No request has been too much and we are so very grateful for the firm’s valuable support.”

Jane Burton, vice-chair, Lawyers with Disabilities Division of the Law Society of England and Wales

“I applied to Reed Smith because of the firm’s close work with leading disability organisations. The firm’s commitment to making the legal profession more accessible to disabled candidates is what struck me most and motivated me to apply.”

Disabled trainee solicitor, joining us in 2016/2017

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