Associate Polly Green was featured in Bright Network's spotlight feature, discussing Mishcon de Reya's Disability Equity Committee.
Read the spotlight below:
Which EDI network(s) are you a part of at Mishcon de Reya?
I am a part of the Disability Equity Committee which I joined in April 2021 as a trainee and my focus is on education initiatives for the group. I am also part of the Gender Working Group.
What work does your network do to encourage Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
The Disability Equity Committee is responsible for delivering initiatives and improving the workplace for existing staff as well as new joiners whose professional experiences are impacted by a disability. The Committee is evaluating the firm’s current practices and how they can be improved. In particular, the firm’s internal processes and how they cater to disability; the firm’s approach to its internal and external messaging; the firm’s external profile with respect to disability; and the firm’s approach to educating and raising awareness. Our aim is to create an inclusive and open environment, in which those within the firm with a disability are able easily to obtain the support they need in order to perform their roles to the best of their ability; and those seeking to join the firm are able to perform during any interview/assessment process without impediment.
Why do you think it is important to have networks like these in the workplace?
EDI networks are a crucial component of businesses that are genuinely serious about retaining talent and investing in their people, as well as operating a sustainable business. They create spaces to educate people and encourage conversation on the challenges facing individuals with different identities, abilities and backgrounds as well as highlighting the unique and valuable contributions that everyone has to offer. In turn, this should hopefully make people feel more comfortable being themselves at work, offering insights and ideas from their own perspectives and contributing to a more innovative and inclusive firm where people are happier and more satisfied at work.
EDI networks give groups a platform to tell their stories, celebrate their communities and draw similarities and connections with others. They allow businesses to take steps to create more inclusive spaces, physically and socially, so that everyone is able to thrive in the workplace. Mishcon de Reya is acutely aware of the crucial benefits that EDI networks bring, that’s why one of our long-held core values is 'to foster a culture which thrives on diversity, respect for the individual and the expression of talent.'
How can these networks be useful to graduates joining Mishcon de Reya?
Joining a new firm can be daunting at the start, especially if you aren’t familiar with the processes, people or culture. On the flip side, you might be joining with lots of good ideas, initiatives and stories but you don’t know where to share them. You spend so much time at work that you want it to be able to accommodate you and your peers as much as possible, today and in the future. Joining an EDI network allows you to meet people, share ideas, highlight concerns and implement solutions to ensure you are celebrated at work and that you are supported in the workplace.
Do you have any advice to graduates joining from the group your network represents?
We encourage you to be as open and honest with us as you feel comfortable from the start of your journey at Mishcon de Reya so that we can do our best to accommodate your individual needs. Whether that means making arrangements in your interviews or changing the equipment you use in the office, we will endeavour to help you as much as we can to ensure your recruitment process and day-to-day workplace experiences are as equitable as possible.
What progress would you like to see made by your network in the future?/What are the long-term goals of your network?
A lot of disabilities and conditions such as dyslexia and colour-blindness are non-visible and can be hidden, which makes asking for support harder both in everyday life and the workplace. Therefore, when someone is struggling as a result of a non-visible disability, colleagues may not be immediately aware, which creates unique challenges for the individual and they may need further support to access adjustments.
I am currently working on firm-wide awareness initiatives which highlight the existence and impact of these non-visible disabilities so that everyone in the firm feels comfortable to have open conversations about them. My colleague Zac O'Brien has made a great start, by writing his #MyDyslexiaStory for the British Dyslexia Association, which highlights strategies that help him at work and advice for those with dyslexia.
Read the piece in full and find out more about the firm's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy and its networks here.