'Diffability' (plural: diffabilities)
A blend of different + ability, as a substitute for 'disability' intended to remove the term's negative connotations.
At Kingsley Napley we are committed to creating a diverse workforce that provides everyone with equal opportunities.
We strive to be a workplace which offers support and encouragement to enable all of our employees to bring their whole selves to work. The Diffability Network’s goal is to raise awareness of different types of disabilities (both visible and invisible) and to create a safe space for people to speak out about their disabilities. Whilst the overall objective is to strengthen the talent pipeline of people with disabilities at all levels, there are some key actions we have developed to help us get there.
We have signed up to the Valuable 500 which requires us to make a commitment to one action - putting disability on the agenda. You can read our Valuable 500 Commitment here.
- Raise awareness of what disability is (visible, invisible, physical, psychological).
- Answer the question: Is this a disability?
- Educating people in relation to disabilities and how you relate to people with disabilities.
- Dispel some of the myths around disability.
- Ensure that people check their language in relation to disability issues.
- Ask the question: how can the employer help?
- Build closer relationships with clients with disabilities.
- Encourage people with disabilities not to self-select away from applying for jobs at Kingsley Napley.
- Identify areas where Kingsley Napley fall short of our commitment to create a workspace that is inclusive of people with disability (particularly as we prepare to move).
- Consider and discuss the impact of disability of a loved one for members of KN.
- Work closely with wellbeing and charities to ensure the needs of the KN workforce are being met.
We have set up an internal portal page which has a subpage entitled “What is a Disability?” which discusses the definition of the Disability Act and also reminds people that a lot of disabilities are invisible.
To bring the issue ‘home’ we have a page entitled “What does disability mean for you and people you know?” on which we have published stories of people within the firm who have felt comfortable talking about disability and how it has affected them either directly or indirectly.
We recognise that not everybody feels ready to share their stories in a public forum but that there will be a significant number within our employee population who have ‘lived experience’ of certain conditions. To encourage confidential sharing of information we have created a ‘conditions list’ on our portal.
Human Resources hold a confidential list with a name against each condition of somebody who has ‘lived experience’ of that condition and, on a confidential basis, would be prepared to share their experiences with someone who is coming to terms with a diagnosis on that list. The purpose is simply to provide pastoral support, somebody to have a cup of tea and a chat with.
We are careful to ensure, through a series of simple steps, that both people are comfortable with their confidential information being shared before the names are exchanged.
Having addressed issues internally, we are starting to face outwards, for example we publish blogs and we are looking to pool our legal expertise to create a Disabled Clients’ Forum.
The final commitment that we have been asked to make is that we will share the identified actions with our organisation. We hope the actions list above shows that they are already being shared. The commitment that we make is to continue engaging with the topic and constantly striving to ensure that we are living by the values of the Valuable 500.
Accessibility in our new office
In addition to our commitment to the Valuable 500, Kingsley Napley have also collaborated with the Centre of Accessible Environments (CAE) during the construction of our new offices at 20 Bonhill. We implemented several changes to the original designs for the office interior and furniture based on the CAE's recommendations for improving accessibility.
These changes include greater visual contrast on the units at the tea/refreshment points to aid those with sight impairments, new accessible height desks at the main reception and concierge areas for colleagues and clients who use a wheelchair or who are short in stature. One other change is the increase in the number of adjustable height desks so that all staff can tailor their workspace to their specific needs, whether that be lowering the desk to a specific comfortable height, or raising it so that they can work standing up.
When I became Senior Partner of Kingsley Napley in 2018, I made a very clear pledge to the firm – that I would make it one of my key objectives to increase diverse talent and foster a culture of inclusivity.
Marcia Longdon was recently asked about her journey into law and whether she had a story to share. Marcia initially thought that she didn't have a story. However, as the interview unfolded, the interviewer looked over the camera and said, er, are you sure? So here it is.
A question that emerges for Black people all over Britain every October is “How can I celebrate the stories of those that have come before me?” In contrast the question that naturally comes to mind for those who are not of Black origin is “If I’m not Black how do I participate in Black History?” Whilst the questions appear to be different there is a common theme – both query how people can do Black History month justice, both have a desire to adequately celebrate a rich history that means so much to so many. But rest assured you should feel comfortable and welcome to celebrate the history of another culture.
Celebrating this year’s Black History Month (BHM) with is powerful campaign, “Proud to Be”, is an apt time for us all to consider why we (should) care about Black history and culture.
When Black History Month was established in the United States, over a century ago, it was intended as a way to celebrate and give national recognition to black stories and perspectives.
At Kingsley Napley, we believe in the power of diverse and representative stories and we have found some wonderful and effective ways to share them that you might like to try too.
The visibility of the “B” in our LGBTQ+ umbrella is marked every year on 23 September. At Kingsley Napley, we are proud to have bisexual members of our LGBTQ+ and Allies Network and strive for everyone to feel like they can be themselves and bring their whole selves to work. Outside KN, and in this year alone, Robin has come out as bisexual in the new Batman comic, more awareness has been raised about bisexuality with celebrities, such as Megan Fox, Lily Cole, speaking out and there is more representation of bisexual people in mainstream shows, such as Sex Education, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
To mark Suicide Prevention Day and raise awareness of the prevalence of deaths by suicide in the UK, Kingsley Napley is set to host a mental health panel discussion on 10 September 2021.
The National Disability Strategy: the most comprehensive, concerted, cross-government plan ever. Is it really?
On the 28 July 2021, the Government unveiled the highly anticipated National Disability Strategy (‘the strategy’). Pledged in the Government’s 2019 manifesto, the aim is to “improve the everyday lives of disabled people”. The Prime Minister described the strategy as the most comprehensive, concerted, cross-government plan relating to disability ever. A bold claim, but is it justified?
Kingsley Napley wishes our Muslim Community Eid Mubarak as Eid al-Adha is celebrated around the world.
Whilst our Muslim colleagues and friends celebrate over communal meals and prayer, it is also a time for us at Kingsley Napley to reflect on the importance of observing and respecting the cultural and religious differences of others. We are motivated to make Kingsley Napley a place which is not only diverse, but also inclusive, where all our people feel able to bring their true selves to work.
When I told some of my friends I was writing a piece about drag activism, their reaction was almost unanimous…
"Oh, but, is there much to say?"
That's when I realised that drag queens, for many, are more synonymous with big hair and lip-syncing pop hits rather than political consciousness and activism. You can certainly understand the reason for this - we have been totally spoiled in recent years with the explosion of Ru Paul’s Drag Race around the world - the make-up, talents and confidence being a feast for the eyes (and the soul). But we cannot minimise the political importance of Mama Ru’s creation. Who could forget numbers such as “Shady Politics”; the discussions of gay conversion therapy while applying make-up; and Bob the Drag Queen describing his arrest during a 2011 marriage equality protest? Not to mention Nancy Pelosi sashaying into the All Stars season…
Coming out is an extremely personal journey and will be unique to each person. It takes a lot of courage to come out and a person may have to repeatedly do this in their personal and professional lives. Statistics show that 46% of people who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual and 47% of people who identify as trans feel comfortable to discuss their orientation or gender identity.
How can you put the spotlight on intersectionality to remind others that, even within the LGBTQ+ community, not everyone is treated equal?
Are you proud of who you are, your journey and the person that you’ve become? Do you truly wear your heart on your sleeve? For some, being open and honest about who we are (which includes our gender identity or sexuality) does not come easily and can be extremely hard. It can be even tougher at work, and for those that hide their true self, the energy expenditure is endless. That survival cost of energy makes you less productive, or even worse still, it has a detrimental impact on your mental and physical health.
I am a trans woman who has recently embarked on her transition. Having only taken my first steps on this journey, I am acutely aware when writing this that I have much to learn about myself, about being trans, and about the diverse LGBTQ+ family that I now find myself part of. However, there is one theme that I feel is important to discuss as we celebrate Pride in 2021.
Three years on, the UK Government is still ‘’dragging its feet’’ about banning gay conversion therapy.
Following on from my colleague Sameena Munir’s blog ‘’pray the gay away: cull conversion therapy worldwide’’, the issue of gay conversion therapy dominates contemporary conversations surrounding LGBT politics and legislation in the UK, but the Government has failed to deliver on its promise to ban it.
"They will say I’m pushing an agenda. But the truth is, I am.” - The rise of queer artists and the importance of visibility
For two weeks during Pride month, Kingsley Napley are publishing a series of blogs to celebrate Pride and highlight LGBTQ+ issues from home and abroad.
It’s been 9 years since R&B artist Frank Ocean headed off rumours about his particular pronoun usage in the album Channel Orange by posting on Tumblr that his first love had been a man. Since then, the momentum for the openness and success of queer artists has continued to gather pace, and LGBTQ+ representation in the arts and mainstream media is as wide as it has ever been. This rise has however raised important questions about pigeonholing queer artists, and perhaps most interestingly whether they must always shoulder the responsibility of ‘pushing the agenda’.
In February this year, I attended a virtual talk held by the InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT+ History Month. The speakers featured individuals working in the legal sector and each discussed their experience of coming out as trans or non-binary at work. It feels an apt lesson given this year’s Pride theme: Visibility, Unity and Equality.
In January 2020, I was fortunate enough to give birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. As far as I know, I am the first partner at Kingsley Napley (although certainly not the first employee) who has a baby who is lucky enough to have two mums. News of my pregnancy was met with overwhelming support from my colleagues. That support continues to this very day, and my wife and I remain truly grateful for the kindness that has been shown to us. However, since falling pregnant I have learnt that not all workplaces are as supportive to same-sex parents as mine. The concept of two mums or two dads starting a family is something that some people still struggle to get their heads around. So this year, for our KN Pride blog series, I have decided to explain the questions, that speaking from my own experience, it is not helpful to say to same-sex parents.
We have newly renamed our network to the Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) group. Our REACH network is a space where we come together to work towards fostering and maintaining an inclusive workplace, where we can all reach our full potential without fear of discrimination.
Satvir Sokhi was recently invited to speak and take part in Leeds Beckett University’s Law Enrichment session which allowed a panel of ethnically diverse professionals to speak to students about our experiences with diversity and inclusion within the legal sector.
On this day each year, over 130 countries around the world seek to celebrate sexual and gender diversities and draw attention to the various forms of discrimination and violence that the LGBTQ+ community continue to experience.