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Supporting our colleagues with disabilities

Sometimes what makes us different is visible. Sometimes it isn’t immediately obvious. We know that differences can be life-changing and can change over time.

We believe having a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone achieving their potential, and so we are committed to learning and understanding the experiences of our colleagues with disabilities. 

Whether it is physical, neuro or any other kind of difference, we want everyone to feel supported to bring their true self to work, knowing they are valued and always included for who they are.

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Diversity, equity and inclusion at Allen & Overy
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We want all our colleagues to thrive and are committed to providing the support and adjustments needed by our people with additional needs.

The levels and types of help required vary for each person, so we work closely with individuals to understand their needs on a case-by-case basis and ensure they feel confident in pursuing their careers without disability getting in the way.

As with every other area of diversity, it is everyone’s responsibility to be conscious of the extra challenges some colleagues can face, and to provide the support for people to be as open as they choose about their disabilities. Yet another reason why we put so much emphasis on creating an environment where everyone feels that they can bring their authentic selves to work. Where everyone feels that they belong, no matter what.

Employee stories

Christine Farrugia headshot

“The great thing with A&O is I’ve always had flexibility.”

Christine Farrugia describes how she juggles caring for her young twins, one of whom has cerebral palsy, and a busy work life as a Legal PA in our Sydney office.

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Derek Manners headshot

“People with disabilities are often locked out of the diversity and inclusion space.”

Two things in particular attracted Derek Manners to A&O, where he has worked as an Associate in our Washington, DC office for six years, joining the firm straight from law school.

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Rani Smith headshot

“It’s just life ­– not something we really think about.”

For Rani Smith, balancing work at A&O Consulting alongside home life with her son and visually impaired partner means living to a different dynamic.

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Richard Wells headshot

“A few people have told me they were too scared to tell their employers. That’s a dangerous place to end up.”

Richard Wells has, he admits, followed a somewhat convoluted career path, involving one very sharp handbrake turn from frontline hospital doctor to trainee solicitor.

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Phil Whaite headshot

Phil Whaite discusses being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, ‘coming out’ at work, and his hopes for the new network.

It started out three years ago, as a weird, unfamiliar sensation on Phil’s left side. His leg was numb, but at the same time, hot. And not hot to the touch – hot on the inside.

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How A&O supports our colleagues, Sasha Hardman, Global HR Director

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"At A&O we are committed to supporting and understanding the experience of our colleagues with disabilities. We want everyone to feel able to bring their true self to work, knowing they are valued and always included for who they are."