Open to you: giving students with a disability an insight into a career in law

A recent study by charity Scope revealed that a staggering fifth of people with a disability felt unable to disclose details of their disability to their employer. Through events such as OPEN – our event for disabled students interested in pursuing a career in Law – run in partnership with My Plus Consulting, we hope to provide a platform for disabled students to gain confidence and feel supported. We want them to feel empowered in speaking to their employer about their disability, as well as to feel confident about starting their career in the legal world.

On November 28th, ahead of the International Day of Disabled Persons, we saw 43 talented students from universities across the country come together for OPEN, which was hosted by law firm Baker McKenzie. We were also joined by participating firms Hogan LovellsLinklatersSlaughter and MayHerbert Smith Freehills and ReedSmith.

We began the day with a talk from Adam Farlow, where he opened the floor to discussions surrounding issues the students may be facing in their careers such as when best to disclose their disability to potential employers, how to prepare for an interview and how to get the best support from your employer regarding their disability.

We then held a panel discussion, where employees from across the firms were able to share their personal experiences of being a disabled person working in Law, and the attendees were able to ask questions and interact with the panellists. The students later took part in a networking session, where they had the opportunity to ask representatives and recruiters from each of the firms for tips and advice on their recruitment processes, in the hope of building each of the students confidence in applying for training contracts at the firms.

89% of attendees revealed they felt more confident about their next steps with regards to employment following OPEN, and we were pleased to receive really positive feedback from attendees regarding their time at the event, with one saying “ [this was] a fantastic event that has done a huge amount to get rid of my fears regarding my disability and law”, and another stating that “for 29 years I have felt on my own. This is the first [recruitment] event I have ever attended and it was life changing.”

At Stafford Long we’re passionate about getting students of all backgrounds into employment, including students with a disability. On 30 November 2017, the UK government revealed how they will work with employers, charities, healthcare providers and local authorities to break down employment barriers for disabled people and people with health conditions over the next 10 years, with the aim of getting one million more disabled people into the workplace. Read more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/strategy-seeks-one-million-more-disabled-people-in-work-by-2027

To find out more about OPEN and to register for 2018, visit: http://www.open-to-you.com/

To learn more about our other recruitment events, please check out our website here: https://staffordlongdiversitysolutions.com