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Diversity and inclusion


Freshfields is committed to being a disability inclusive employer. We also aim to support our colleagues who are affected by disability, such as those with caring responsibilities, and to give all an opportunity to champion disability across the firm.

Launched in the UK in 2019 and in Continental Europe in 2021, the firm set up an employee network, Freshfields Enabled, bringing together disabled colleagues and champions with the aim of working together to become a more inclusive workplace. In 2022, they expanded their efforts and created a targeted working group focusing on neurodiversity.

Reena Parmar, Counsel, says: “Understanding, being compassionate about, and engaging in dialogue about disability and accessibility can vastly change our and our colleagues’ day-to-day working experiences.”

Peter Allen, Partner and Co-Head of International Capital Markets and one of the network’s senior sponsors, says: “We see the Freshfields Enabled Network as both vitally important in its own right and as a key part of the firm’s wider diversity and inclusion priorities, as we do all our employee-led networks. We seek to promote disability inclusion at Freshfields as part of our aim to ensure that everybody feels fully welcomed, that they belong and can achieve their full potential here.”

We partner with Business Disability Forum, a not-for-profit organisation who help to build disability smart organisations. We are members of their Global Taskforce and Global Data Working Group, bringing together members that want to have a positive impact on the lives of disabled candidates, employees, and customers, wherever they are in the world. In 2022, we commissioned BDF to carry out a review of our approach to workplace adjustments for colleagues in the UK with disabilities, neurodivergent conditions, physical or mental health conditions. As of the review, central projects team in collaboration with colleagues in our Freshfields Enabled Network have implemented several initiatives with regards to adjustments, assistive software and new training offerings. We hope to now share these learnings across the firm globally.

Our Early Careers team work with My Plus Consulting, who advise on better attracting, retaining and progressing talented disabled graduates. With their help, we have put together a document focusing on interview best practice, providing a framework and an expression of how we endeavour to treat our people. We have also signed up to the UK Government’s Disability Confident Scheme.

We are proud to have signed up to the Valuable 500, committing at a senior level to disability inclusion globally. We have also joined PurpleSpace, are a founding partner of Neurodiversity in Business (NiB).