Were you open about your disability during the application process? What support was provided to you?
Yes, I was open throughout the process and the graduate recruitment team was very helpful in providing me with extra time to complete the critical thinking test that the firm uses as part of its assessment process. Other than that there was no real need for any additional adjustments but I’m sure the firm would have been very receptive to any requests I made.
What led you to this role? Why did you choose to join this organisation?
I wanted to be able to do a job where the work varies from day to day and where there was plenty of opportunity for me to develop my professional skills both in a legal and non-legal context. Hogan Lovells was recommended to me as a firm with a great culture, world-class training and interesting work.
Ironically, when I joined the firm I thought I would not be interested in Finance work as it was something I didn’t really understand or have much exposure to with my upbringing, however throughout the course of my training contract I have sat in two Finance seats and ultimately chose to qualify into one of them!
How do you manage your disability at work?
I think the most important thing is to be thorough when checking documents, and when time allows, putting a bit of work aside and coming back to it before sending it onto the client or partner who requested it. Often taking a break and having a second read-through of a piece of work will help me to notice any mistakes that I would not have otherwise. The other point is taking extra time to ensure I fully understand the output that is expected of me for a piece of work so that I don’t waste time working in a direction that is not right.
What is your organisation’s approach to disability; how has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
I have been offered support through both assistive technology and the trainee development team letting my supervisors know of my dyslexia, which allows them to make any adjustments they think necessary. I have been fortunate that my dyslexia has not affected my performance at work and therefore I have not required any adjustments. That being said, it’s always comforting to know the firm has structures in place to assist with issues should they ever arise.
Tell us about a personal strength or a valuable plus which you have developed, as a result of your disability. How has it helped you in your career?
I think that having dyslexia has made me more aware that I can have difficulties with my attention to detail sometimes, which means that I consciously focus in on that more. You find that when you start working as a trainee solicitor you think you have good attention to detail until your first piece of work is read over by your supervisor! So it’s always a good strength to keep working on that aspect.
What advice would you give a student with a similar disability, who wants to pursue a career in the field you work in?
My biggest piece of advice is to be open with the people you work with about the nature of your disability so that any assistance you may need can be put in place up front, rather than if or when things may have got on top of you. Also, it’s important to not allow you to be defined by your disability. You’ll find that the impact it has on you in the workplace is probably less pronounced than when you’re at university, and therefore you shouldn’t be put off a career in law just because you worry how your dyslexia or dyspraxia may affect your work or be perceived. Some of the senior lawyers I’ve worked with are in a similar situation and have carved out incredibly successful careers.
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