How did you get started in your career and what drew you to Baker McKenzie?
I started in my post, as a Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, with Baker McKenzie in June 2019. I became interested in a career in social justice from my experience running a project with a small charity working to improve Deaf Sign Language users’ access to the justice system. As a Deaf Sign Language user, I’m able to quickly recognise the barriers people face and what needs to be done to overcome them. Working on that project made me realise the role the legal and justice sectors play, which led to me applying for my role with Baker McKenzie.
It wasn’t a difficult choice to make. Baker McKenzie is renowned for its work and achievements and when I spoke to their employees I found that everyone spoke highly about the care and attention they pay their employees, and the emphasis they place on ensuring everyone is able to thrive at the Firm.
Being part of a global organisation also attracted me to the Firm. I knew there was a lot I could learn, and also that there was a lot I could contribute to the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion work.
How has Baker McKenzie supported you since you started with the firm?
When I first started with the firm they asked me straight away how I wanted them to work with me to make sure I felt comfortable in my role. They organised a meeting with Access to Work to make sure I received appropriate support to carry out my role, and they have been flexible in the months that have followed to ensure that the adjustments we have in place continue to meets my needs. I am fortunate to also receive a lot of support from within the Diversity & Inclusion team and the wider Belfast office.
How do you manage your disability at work?
After many years of working in small organisations with Deaf colleagues, it has been eye opening for me to work in a different environment and culture, with colleagues from many different backgrounds. I mostly rely on lip-reading to communicate and will also work with sign language interpreters to support with some parts of my role. Everyone I am working with has been positive in their approach and are making sure I am able to thrive at the Firm, I am now in working with the local HR team in Belfast to organise Deaf Awareness training for my colleagues to ensure that everyone has the confidence and the insight to communicate even more effectively. My colleagues have encouraged me to develop this content and to share all of my knowledge, we’ve also discussed the possibility of developing the training I produce into a resource that we can make it available to my colleagues in other locations across the world.
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who would be interested in a career at Baker McKenzie?
I am in the early stages of my career at Baker McKenzie, but based on my experience so far, I’d encourage individuals with similar conditions to me to apply to Baker McKenzie. One of the best things about Baker McKenzie is the attitude towards Diversity & Inclusion, people are really passionate about increasing the diversity within the Firm and ensuring that the environment is inclusive of difference. It is a large company with a wide range of opportunities and it is easy to find an area that best suits the needs and interest of an individual, which makes it a great place to be.