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A Call to Action for General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officers to Commit to Improve Disability Inclusion in Their Law Department

Please click here to become a signatory by sending us an email from your company domain with your name, title, and LinkedIn profile. An updated list of the letter signatories is noted below.

“One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability.”

“Barriers to full social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities include inaccessible physical environments and transportation…and discriminatory prejudice and stigma in society.”

– WorldBank.Org

 

 

What is the Ask?

The authors and signatories call on all General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officers to make a simple commitment in 2021 – take one concrete action toward improving the inclusion of People with Disabilities in their departments.

The State of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Companies

Companies worldwide have declared Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) a strategic imperative. We are inspired by legal and compliance department responses to the recent focus on race, gender, and social justice. However, despite the resources allocated toward DEI, the inclusion of People with Disabilities remains a footnote. Many organizations state they have limited resources and, while they are aware of the need for a focus on disability inclusion, they do not have the bandwidth or financial resources to do much. The implication is that disability inclusion is somehow a lower priority. It is our hope that the inclusion agenda be executed in parallel rather than serial fashion, with equal focus placed on the inclusion of People with Disabilities.

The State of Disability Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Thirty-one years ago, Congress passed The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) passed Resolution 113, urging all providers of legal services to expand and create opportunities for diverse attorneys at all levels of responsibility. In that same year, Fortune 1000 General Counsel issued a public pledge to increase the inclusion of diverse attorneys. Globally, The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations in 2006 and it currently has 164 country signatories worldwide.

Yet, despite this progress, the overall statistics surrounding disability inclusion in the legal and compliance professions are not encouraging. Disabled professionals remain highly marginalized, both in our profession and within the job market as a whole. Despite being the largest minority in the US, disabled people have by far the largest unemployment rate.1 Only 0.38% of all lawyers in law firms are disabled.2

That is shockingly low, leaving precious few disabled lawyers to act as role models for younger disabled professionals, with the result that pathways for success can seem hard to scale. Many get discouraged. A UK study found that, even though the scope and level of career aspirations of disabled and non-disabled 16-year-olds are similar, the gap between unemployed disabled and non-disabled people widens as they age.3 In the US, 60% of all 1.4 million disabled college graduates are unemployed.4 Those who do find work are 16% more likely than non-disabled graduates to be underemployed and working in service-related jobs that do not require a college degree.5

A culture of low expectations is pervasive when it comes to disabled professionals. As one disabled senior in-house attorney remarked, “[m]any professionals assume I am unemployed or work from home. Astonished to learn that I am an attorney, many proclaim me “an inspiration,” as if the biggest challenge in law school was negotiating hallways in a wheelchair, not mastering the rule against perpetuities.”6

An Ethical Obligation or Good Business?

Lawyers take an oath that obligates them to act ethically and use the law to advance justice. The ABA and other leaders in the profession have encouraged us to recognize that obligation in respect of our own profession by considering how we hire and promote.

Achieving fairness in that regard is not only the right thing to do – it’s also the smart thing to do. A 2015 international McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to have above-average financial returns, while those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to financially outperform.7 Among US companies, there was a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in the racial and ethnic diversity of the senior executive team, companies experienced an increase of 0.8 percent in earnings before interest and taxes.8 Conversely, those in the bottom quartile for ethnic and gender diversity were less likely to achieve above-average returns.9

If promoting diversity and inclusion of persons with disabilities is both the ethical thing to do and the smart thing to do, what is holding us back?

What is the Level of Commitment We Are Calling For?

We believe that even small actions are positive ones. These include, but are not limited to:
• Hiring at least one Person with a Disability
• Promoting at least one Person with a Disability
• Organizing a Disability Awareness Seminar for the Legal & Compliance Departments
• Publishing a statement encouraging Disability Disclosure
• Establishing tangible targets for Disability Inclusion in 2022
• Requiring your Law firms and legal service providers to serve your departments with a higher
percentage of People with Disabilities
• Creating Disability Inclusion Champions within the Legal & Compliance Departments
• Ensuring Department representation in your company’s Disability Inclusion Employee Resource
Group (ERG)
• Participating in a Disability Mentoring Program

Many of these steps require little in the way of cost or effort. Accenture has found for example that 59% of disability accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost $500 per employee.10

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officers have earned their place in the executive suite and at the business strategy table. That privilege comes with a clear moral responsibility. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is very much on the legal and compliance department agendas. We ask that General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officers elevate Disability Inclusion as part of their DEI agenda to exercise this moral responsibility as a leading light for their company.

Sincerely,

Prashant Dubey
VP Contracts Solutions & Disability Inclusion
Elevate

 

Bjarne P. Tellmann
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
GSK Consumer Healthcare

1 Stuart Pixley, “Lawyering with Challenges: Disability and Empowerment”, The Professional Lawyer Volume 23, Number 1, p. 3 (citing Cornell University Disability Statistics, http://disabilitystatistics.org.), 2015 American Bar Association.
2 NALP 2016 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms”, National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP), January 2017.
3 Tania Burchardt, “The education and employment of disabled young people – Frustrated ambition”, The London School of
Economics and Political Science, 2005.
4 “Bridging the Employment Gap for Students with Disabilities”, pp. 3-4, 2014 National Organization on Disability, www.NOD.org.
5 Jason R. Abel and Richard Deitz, “Underemployment in the Early Careers of College Graduates Following the Great
Recession”, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, no. 749 December 2015; revised September 2016 JEL Classification:
I23, J23, J24, J62.
6 Pixley, at footnote 1.
7 “Why Diversity Matters”, by Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton and Sarah Prince, McKinsey & Company, January 2015 (available at
www.mckinsey.com/Insights/Organisation/Why_diversity_matters?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1501/; accessed 8 July 2017).
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.
10 The Disability Inclusion Advantage, Accenture, 2018.

Signatories to Letter

James Ford
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
GSK

Ritva Sotamaa
Chief Legal Officer and Group Secretary
Unilever

Jan Gustavsson
General Counsel, Company Secretary, and Director of Strategic Development
Coca-Cola HBC AG

Nick Hirons
Senior Vice President, Global Ethics and Compliance
GSK

Kim Morgan-Verlaque
Chief Business Integrity Officer
Unilever

Spyros Mello
Chief Compliance Officer & Deputy General Counsel
Coca-Cola HBC AG

Bill Deckelman
Executive Vice President & General Counsel
DXC Technology

Benjamin Bard
Vice President, Global Chief Compliance Officer, and Head of Global Security
ADM

Richard J.B. Price
Group General Counsel & Company Secretary
Anglo American plc

Rupert Bondy
SVP, Group General Counsel & Company Secretary
Reckitt

Sabine Chalmers
Group General Counsel & Director of Regulatory Affairs
Exco Sponsor for Diversity & Inclusion, BT

Jill Twedt
SVP, General Counsel & Secretary
Boise Cascade Company

Michael McQueeney
SVP, General Counsel & Deputy Chief Legal Counsel
Pearson

Russ Elmer
General Counsel
ServiceNow

Ruby Z. Shellaway
Vice-Chancellor, General Counsel & University Secretary
Vanderbilt University

Ilene W. Moore
General Counsel
Envision Health

Robyn Diaz
Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

John Reikes
CEO
High Impact

Brad Lerman
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary
Medtronic

Catie Sheret
General Counsel & Company Secretary
Cambridge University Press

Maaike de Bie
Group General Counsel & Company Secretary
easyJet

MardiLyn Saathoff
Senior Vice President, Regulation
General Counsel of NW Natural Holdings and NW Natural

Alice Cuprill-Comas
Executive Vice President & General Counsel
Oregon Health & Science University

Christine Uri
Chief Sustainability & Legal Officer
engie Impact

Jason Boehmig
CEO
Ironclad

Steve Harmon
General Counsel & VP Global Services
Elevate

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A Call to Action for General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officers to Commit to Improve Disability Inclusion in Their Law Department

Please click here to become a signatory by sending us an email from your company domain with your name, title, and LinkedIn profile. An updated list of the letter signatories is noted below.

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ElevateNext UK Ltd Complaints Procedure

 

Our Complaints Policy

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.

 

Our Complaints Procedure

If you have a complaint about the services that we have provided or about a bill, please contact the supervising solicitor or Registered Foreign Lawyer in our Terms of Business with you. Your client care principal will either be Robert Green, Lead Partner, Patrick Lamb, Director or Nicole Auerbach, Director, and you can email your client care principal respectively at [email protected][email protected] or [email protected] or write to them at ElevateNext UK Ltd, WeWork – The Cursitor, 38 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1EN or call on +44 (0) 207 127 2500.

 

What will happen next – 1st Stage

  1. We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of us receiving your complaint.
  2. Within the same period, we will record your complaint in our central complaints register and open a file for your complaint.
  3. We will then investigate your complaint and seek to arrive at a solution within 10 workings days of your initial complaint. We will write to you with the outcome of the investigation within this time period.
  4. Should the matter be complicated, it may take us more time to fully consider your concerns and that happens, we will let you know approximately when we should be able to provide a response beyond the 10 working day period mentioned above.
  5. We may also call you or ask you to attend our offices to go through your concerns if we believe that may help achieve a resolution to your complaint. If this occurs, we will write to you confirming the outcome within 5 working days of the date of our discussions.

 

Appeal – 2nd Stage

  1. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of our 1st Stage decision, you can appeal by writing to us again within 20 working days asking us to reconsider it. We will then arrange to review our decision and write to you confirming our final decision on your complaint within 7 working days of the date of your appeal letter. This will be the 2nd Stage decision. The appeal will be considered by the other client principal and director, being Robert Green, Partner, Patrick Lamb, Director or Nicole Auerbach, Director.

 

Legal Ombudsman

  1. We do aim to resolve all complaints satisfactorily and will ask you to confirm if you are willing to accept our decisions (1st or 2nd Stage as the case may be) usually within 20 working days. However, if you remain unhappy with our 2nd Stage decision, you can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body established under the Legal Services Act 2007, who can investigate complaints about the legal services you have received from us.
  2. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints up to 6 years from the date of the problem happening or within 3 years of when you found out about the problems. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, this must be done within 6 months of the date of our final decision letter.
  3. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman by visiting www.legalombudsman.org.uk or contacting them on 0300 555 0333 or by email at [email protected].

 

What to do if you are unhappy with our behavior

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behavior. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money, or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability, or other characteristics.

Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

A Call to Action for General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officers to Commit to Improve Disability Inclusion in Their Law Department

Please click here to become a signatory by sending us an email from your company domain with your name, title, and LinkedIn profile. An updated list of the letter signatories is noted below.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Elevate Services and its affiliates do not sell personal information to third parties for monetary consideration but we may transfer information to a third party providing us with services, which may fall under the definition of “other valuable consideration,” which could be considered a ‘sale’ under the CCPA. If you are resident of the State you can contact us via the toll-free number or e-mail in the “Contact” section below.

2. Notice to Nevada Residents
Elevate Services, Inc. and its affiliates do not disclose information for monetary consideration. If you would like to request we never sell your information in the future, please e-mail us at [email protected] In the e-mail please put “Nevada Resident Do Not Sell” in the subject line and provide your name, postal address, telephone number and e-mail address(es) in the body.

III. CHILD POLICY
Because of the nature of our business, Elevate does not market, collect information from or about, or provide services to minors, and therefore we do not knowingly attempt to solicit or receive any information from children under 18If we have reason to believe information is being provided by a person under the age of 18, we will not collect the information.

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Elevate Services, Inc. and its affiliates, do not share or sell personally identifiable information collected from our website. Information about our use of cookies:

Strictly necessary cookies. These cookies are essential for the website’s functionality and for your ability to use its features.
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By providing your email address you agree to receive communications related to Elevate, and its services and products. To unsubscribe from promotional emails, follow the instructions in the email.

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Your privacy is a top priority for us at Elevate and we shall take all reasonable effort to protect the information we have about you. Elevate follows the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 security management framework for protecting Elevate and customer information and PII. This includes physical and logical security controls and governance designed to secure confidential and sensitive information.

VII. IN-APPLICABILITY OF PRIVACY POLICIES OF ANY LINKED SITES OR OTHER PARTIES
This Privacy Notice only addresses Elevate’s use and disclosure of information collected on this site. Elevate is not responsible for the content or privacy practices of any third parties or linked sites. Visitors are encouraged to read any third parties or linked site’s applicable privacy policies and terms and conditions.

VIII. CONTACT
You may contact us via this number +1 310 853 8448 or email us at [email protected] to exercise any of your rights under the CCPA, or for any inquires or concerns relating to such rights.

You may make a request for disclosure of our information collection processes, the information collected about you, or our sharing practices up to twice within a 12-month period. You may make a deletion request at any time. We may require you to submit proof of your identity in order to verify that the collected Personal Information pertains to you. We cannot respond to your request or provide you with your Personal Information if we cannot verify your identity and confirm that the Personal Information relates to you. Your request will be completed within 45 days upon successful identity verification. If additional time is needed, we will notify you of our need for additional time.

Using an Authorized Agent. You may designate an authorized agent to make a request on your behalf subject to proof of identity and authorization. To do so, the agent must hold a formal Power of Attorney or you must (i) provide the agent with written permission to make a request and (ii) verify your own identity directly with us. We will require all authorized agents to submit proof to us that they have been authorized to make requests on your behalf.

IX. CHANGES TO PRIVACY NOTICE
Elevate may amend this Privacy Notice to reflect feedback or changes in legislation and reserves the right to make changes to this Privacy Notice at any time. The use of your information is subject to the Privacy Notice in effect at the time of use. The provisions contained in this Privacy Notice supersede all previous notices or policies regarding Elevate’s privacy practices with respect to this site. If we make material changes to the Privacy Notice, we will post the revised policy and the revised effective date on the site.

ElevateNext UK Ltd Complaints Procedure

 

Our Complaints Policy

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.

 

Our Complaints Procedure

If you have a complaint about the services that we have provided or about a bill, please contact the supervising solicitor or Registered Foreign Lawyer in our Terms of Business with you. Your client care principal will either be Robert Green, Lead Partner, Patrick Lamb, Director or Nicole Auerbach, Director, and you can email your client care principal respectively at [email protected][email protected] or [email protected] or write to them at ElevateNext UK Ltd, WeWork – The Cursitor, 38 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1EN or call on +44 (0) 207 127 2500.

 

What will happen next – 1st Stage

  1. We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of us receiving your complaint.
  2. Within the same period, we will record your complaint in our central complaints register and open a file for your complaint.
  3. We will then investigate your complaint and seek to arrive at a solution within 10 workings days of your initial complaint. We will write to you with the outcome of the investigation within this time period.
  4. Should the matter be complicated, it may take us more time to fully consider your concerns and that happens, we will let you know approximately when we should be able to provide a response beyond the 10 working day period mentioned above.
  5. We may also call you or ask you to attend our offices to go through your concerns if we believe that may help achieve a resolution to your complaint. If this occurs, we will write to you confirming the outcome within 5 working days of the date of our discussions.

 

Appeal – 2nd Stage

  1. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of our 1st Stage decision, you can appeal by writing to us again within 20 working days asking us to reconsider it. We will then arrange to review our decision and write to you confirming our final decision on your complaint within 7 working days of the date of your appeal letter. This will be the 2nd Stage decision. The appeal will be considered by the other client principal and director, being Robert Green, Partner, Patrick Lamb, Director or Nicole Auerbach, Director.

 

Legal Ombudsman

  1. We do aim to resolve all complaints satisfactorily and will ask you to confirm if you are willing to accept our decisions (1st or 2nd Stage as the case may be) usually within 20 working days. However, if you remain unhappy with our 2nd Stage decision, you can refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body established under the Legal Services Act 2007, who can investigate complaints about the legal services you have received from us.
  2. The Legal Ombudsman can investigate complaints up to 6 years from the date of the problem happening or within 3 years of when you found out about the problems. If you wish to refer your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, this must be done within 6 months of the date of our final decision letter.
  3. You can contact the Legal Ombudsman by visiting www.legalombudsman.org.uk or contacting them on 0300 555 0333 or by email at [email protected].

 

What to do if you are unhappy with our behavior

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behavior. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money, or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability, or other characteristics.

Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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Partner with Elevate to implement process-driven, solutions that reduce overall law firm operating costs and management overhead.

We build and lead global delivery teams to perform or augment your in-house capacity and capabilities, tailored to meet your organisation’s security and confidentiality requirements.

Managed business solutions include:

IT Support and Software Development:

    • ITIL and process-oriented approach to design, planning, development, networking, and deployment
    • IT support includes information security, networks, installation and implementation of operating systems and software
    • Maintenance for complete IT infrastructure

Finance and Accounting Support including bookkeeping, bill preparation services, data mining and reporting services, trust accounting, financial reporting, and business plan preparation.

Human Resources Support for the full employee lifecycle; recruiting, background checks, payroll processing, benefits management and help desk.

Word Processing with standardised processes for editing, formatting, and proofreading, multiple resources for fast turnaround and quality control.

Marketing, Virtual Assistance, and Administrative Support to support sales and marketing, assist with competitive intelligence initiatives, generate leads, manage calendars, and keep customer relationship management (CRM) databases up-to-date.

Why choose Elevate for managed business solutions?

Custom-designed, cost-effective managed business solutions developed for the legal sector with data-driven processes, and global coverage
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