Our 2021 Disability Inclusion Summit focused on the importance of an evolving conversation with groups and businesses in order for true progress to be realized. LEADRS, Reed Smith’s disability business inclusion group, believes continuous dialogue will not only increase disability diversity within business, but will facilitate change and alter mind-sets.

Our moderators and panellists came together on December 2, 2021 to do just this, and their ideas and contributions progressed the firm’s vision to support and enhance the professional and personal development of individuals with all types of disabilities.

Speakers: Vaibhav Adlakha Jonathan J. Andrews David J. Boutcher Luke E. Debevec Clifford M. Dunman Kevin M. Hara Gautam Lamba Carolyn E. Pepper May Ling Wong

Event Type: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Webinar

Start Date/Time:
2 December 2021, 4:30 PM GMT
End Date/Time:
2 December 2021, 6:15 PM GMT

To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Reed Smith, in conjunction with LEADRS, announced on December 3 in our press release that it will be undertaking several initiatives designed to support its efforts towards facilitating greater inclusion and disability diversity in the legal profession – including Project Ability and a Disability Etiquette Guide.

We encourage you to watch the recording of our Disability Inclusion Summit panel discussion where we hear from our brilliant clients about how we can continue to move the needle and bring success to business through disability inclusion.

Insights and quotes:

"As somebody living with a disability I've got a responsibility to then share how I feel, educate others and try to raise awareness through giving a perspective that is a first hand and real perspective, rather than allowing people to jump to conclusions based on what they hear or read." – Paul Wilden, Global Head of Capital Markets - Corporate Solutions, Apex Group Ltd.

“How do they [organizations] incorporate in practical ways inclusion of people with disabilities to move the organization forward? So with that lens, I think that it’s important for us to take our lived experience and maybe provide pragmatic suggestions to our organization. For example, I gave a visual description of myself [at the start of my presentation], I think asking our leaders to make that part of the protocol for virtual meetings that exceed a certain number of people would be very helpful. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s pretty easy to implement.” – Prashant Dubey, Vice President, Contracts Solutions & Disability Inclusion, Elevate

"I really hope everyone's going to leave this summit re-energized and ready to make the dent in the world that's needed. I think by us as businesses and employers speaking up about the fact that we want to be inclusive of disability and our workplaces and making that known, we can all make an impact on knocking down some of the barriers that people with disabilities face." – Carolyn Pepper, Co-chair of LEADRS, Reed Smith

"The great Martin Luther King once said, ‘if you cannot fly then run, if you cannot run then walk and if you cannot walk then crawl - but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward’ and that's what we need to do, we need to answer that call." – Kevin Hara, Associate, Reed Smith

"The importance of disability diversity for organizations and businesses and how we can progress is through cultural change. These may be difficult conversations requiring a great deal of introspection, but they are necessary if true progress is to be achieved." – Vaibhav Adlakha, Associate, Reed Smith

“Inclusion is what a company can do to actualize your power, to actualize your personalities, to actualize what you bring to the workplace and how you make them a better company everyday.” – Crosby Cromwell, Chief Partnership Officer, The Valuable 500

The culture of an organization is built on the values of an organization...and then, when everyone is called to that standing in their everyday work, you see a situation where there’s a cultural change and reorientation towards valuing and respecting such colleagues. At the heart of it all is the values of the organization.” – Enobong Ozor, Team Lead, Contracting, Commercial & Non-Environmental Litigation, Global Litigation, Nigeria, Shell

“Two particular SDGs, that is, SDG 4 on education and SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth are the most important towards fulfilling all other SDGs, and that’s the reason why we focused on these two and explore the connectivity between the two. What we have tried to do in our report, “Investing in Inclusion: Building the Business Case for Disability-Inclusive Education, Training, and Employment” is to step ahead and focus on a rights – based approach to ensure that there are practices that can be implemented to not ‘give’ but to ‘create’ equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.” – Vibhu Sharma, Disability & Inclusion Research Consultant, Theirworld

“It is my sincere hope that this gathering will contribute to the effort that we all seek - the promotion and the advancement of people with disabilities in or the legal profession. That is going to require hard work. It is going to require advocacy. It is going to require change, both outside and within. But there's never been a better time for us to do this, the time is right, and we are the solution that we've been looking for.” – Bjarne Tellmann, Senior Vice President, GC, GSK Consumer Healthcare