International law firm to fund neurodiversity assessments and support for employees

The firm will also reimburse the expense of follow-up appointments for those referred to specialists

International law firm to fund neurodiversity assessments and support for employees

International law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has announced a new initiative to support its employees in the UK by providing up to £ 3,000 for specialist neurodiversity assessments and assistance.

The firm, which has approximately 60 staff members in its London office, is among a select few in the UK to offer such a program, The Law Society Gazette reported.

Under this initiative, eligible employees can schedule private appointments with a designated general practitioner clinic, with the firm covering the costs. Additionally, Pillsbury will reimburse the expense of follow-up appointments for those referred to specialists and offer time off for in-person visits. The firm has also committed to providing comprehensive workplace support for employees managing neurodivergent conditions.

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Nadia Barazi, partner and head of diversity and inclusion at Pillsbury, stated, "It is estimated that one in seven people are neurodivergent, and it is essential that neurodiversity doesn’t act as a barrier to success. That is why we are so pleased to be able to offer this important support package, keeping pace with recent developments in understanding how neurodiversity can impact individuals at work."

Narazi added, "As importantly, the package will serve as the bedrock that upholds a culture of greater awareness and understanding of the various practices and policies needed to ensure everyone is able to reach their full potential."

Pillsbury's London office, which specializes in the technology, energy, and financial sectors, aims to create a supportive and inclusive workplace environment through this initiative.

While law firms have increasingly committed to adapting workplace conditions for neurodivergent staff, gaps in support and disclosure remain. A recent survey by Neurodiversity, a not-for-profit group, revealed that more than three-quarters of neurodivergent lawyers had not disclosed their conditions to employers to avoid discrimination. Nearly half of the respondents reported experiencing discrimination related to their neurotype in legal education and training, with this figure rising to 64 percent for dyslexic legal professionals.

Additionally, around 40 percent of respondents indicated they had been refused or not provided reasonable adjustments during their legal education and training. A similar proportion reported being denied reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

Pillsbury's initiative reflected a broader trend among law firms to better support neurodivergent employees. By offering financial support for assessments and specialist appointments, along with workplace accommodations, Pillsbury aims to foster an inclusive environment where all employees can thrive.

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