Where focused
minds meet

London

Ellen Kerslake (she/her)

Trainee

I never felt that I was judged on anything other than how good I was at the work. Being honest and open with my requirements from the start meant I was free to focus on doing my best and enjoy the opportunity, without the anxiety of having to hide or downplay my disability.

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When I applied to Clifford Chance, I saw instantly that they had a real commitment to accessibility.

During the application process, the Graduate Recruitment Team was always available and accommodating. It adjusted the process and implemented the necessary steps to ensure that I had as much of a level playing field as possible. I had an in-depth call to discuss my needs and a plan was put in place to ensure that I was supported throughout the process. This included adjustments to the assessment day timings through to arranging appropriate transport options for my trips to the office, as I had recently begun using a wheelchair and was not yet comfortable with public transport.

After I was offered a place on the vacation scheme, the support continued and I felt included and considered throughout. For example, due to my wheelchair, accessible accommodation was arranged close to the office throughout the whole two weeks and I was able to bring a chaperone with me to accompany me on the trip to Amsterdam.

Due to my chronic illness, when I first applied I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to complete the two-week scheme as the days were long and packed with activities. However, the careful planning and support enabled me to thrive and make the most of all the opportunities presented, which ultimately led to me receiving the offer of a Training Contract.

I never felt that I was judged on anything other than how good I was at the work. Being honest and open with my requirements from the start meant I was free to focus on doing my best and enjoy the opportunity, without the anxiety of having to hide or downplay my disability.

Since joining the firm as a trainee, I have taken on the role of Trainee Representative for our Enable disability action group. I have been one of the first to receive a Trainee Adjustment Plan ("TAP"), a new Enable scheme designed to detail all the adjustments a trainee needs from the start of their career and throughout. From having a rest period after a busy transaction and time in my day to do physiotherapy, to the use of dictation software and an ergonomic chair, my TAP sets out what I need.

In my role as Trainee Representative, I support others with creating their TAPs and I also encourage and support conversations between individuals and the wider support network, the Graduate Development Team and their supervisors.

Being involved in this process has been rewarding and enlightening for me. I feel that I have been able to bring my whole self to work, share my experiences and make a difference to the experience of others.