Law firms fail to make most of disabled grads

Disabled graduates are still getting a raw deal from law firms, according to exclusive <em>Lawyer 2B</em> research.

Although diversity continues to rise up the agenda for law firms, of the 50 surveyed only 18 per cent said they had ­initiatives in place to help students with disabilities gain training ­contracts.

According to our research, 62 per cent of firms said they monitored for disability but less than one per cent of their entire ­workforce is disabled.

Robert Byk, graduate recruitment ­partner at Slaughter and May, claimed disability monitoring would continue to “improve”.

“Historically I would imagine that the number [of firms] monitoring diversity has been lower than the current 62 per cent,” he said. “­Clearly, therefore, this is a developing area and it’s likely this will continue to improve over time.”

Disabled trainees, meanwhile, only make up 0.35 per cent of the firms’ intake, with associates and partners accounting for 0.56 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

Andrew Shutter, graduate recruitment partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, said: “Everyone should be on a level playing field and physical disability should not negatively affect applicants. It would be interesting to see what percentage of graduates who meet all of the usual criteria for law firms who have a disability compared with the percentage of those who are offered a training contract who have a disability.”

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