Ability network

The Ability Network raises awareness of disabilities, neurodiversity and health conditions and provides opportunities for disabled staff and allies, to share work related issues of common interest and concern in a safe environment. It also helps disseminate best practice in relation to disability across the organisation.

The Ability network meets monthly and is open to anyone at the firm that wants to support the aims and objectives of the group and is committed to helping everyone to work in the way that is best for them. We encourage employees, clients and everyone we work with to let us know about any needs, adjustments or accessibility requests, so we can address these effectively.

Our Ability network is a member of the Business Disability Forum (BDF) to ensure we meet and exceed best practice in this area.

In collaboration with BDF we are offering one Ability Development Award aimed at first- or second-year student attending university with a keen interest in law. Our award provides a student with a disability or long-term condition with some financial support, along with skills and experience which will be useful for a career in the law. This will include:

  • A bursary of £1,000 to support with your studying needs
  • Work experience – one week in one of our UK offices (Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester, Norwich, or Oxford)
  • Sessions with a mentor to support you on your journey

If you would be interested in applying please click here for more information. 

The Ability network’s aims

  • To promote the interests of disabled employees and clients at Mills & Reeve by:
    • participating in and supporting the implementation and delivery of the Mills & Reeve diversity and inclusion strategy
    • acting as a consultative forum with regard to ensuring Mills & Reeve’s policies and practices are disability inclusive
    • working closely with our support teams, including facilities, IT, recruitment, client care and the website.
  • To liaise with appropriate disability communities/organisations to identify possible inequalities and to support initiatives to help reduce inequalities
  • To develop a safe and comfortable forum for disabled staff to access support in relation to issues and problems they may face at work as a result of their disability
  • To contribute to the organisation’s inclusion and diversity agenda by sharing good practice, challenging stereotyping and to assist people’s understanding of disability issues
  • To encourage the recruitment and retention of talented disabled employees

What we have achieved so far

Mills & Reeve won the ‘Excellence in Equality & Inclusion’ award at the 2022 People in Law awards, particularly for our disability inclusion work with colleagues, clients and in our recruitment process.

We have adjustments in place for a wide range of visible and non-visible disabilities. It encourages and aims to increase the number of touch points at which we ask staff members, new starters and clients to share with us any adjustments they need, including if things change in the time they work for or with us.

Over 10 of our network members have produced spotlights to share with the firm about their own experiences, including hearing loss, fibromyalgia, dyslexia, dysautonomia, sight loss and a parent’s perspective of supporting her neurodiverse child.

We have a neurodiversity sub-group and a carer’s sub-group. We have recently increased the number of first aiders across our offices for seizure support, have British Sign Language remote capability at our receptions from Sign Solutions, Read & Write software that is assisting colleagues including those with dyspraxia and dyslexia, and one of our network members is currently reverse mentoring a board member. The network also works closely with our Wellbeing Supporters (mental health first aiders).

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