The recruitment, retention and development of individuals with disabilities is an important component of the firm's diversity program. In July 2004, we began an initiative to hire employees with special needs—individuals who, with training, could contribute to the productivity of the firm in spite of their varying physical and cognitive challenges. Our efforts in this regard provide us with a unique way to add to the diversity of our work force and, at the same time, give something back to the communities in which we work and live. These employees are hired to work in a variety of our support service departments. We currently employ individuals with varying levels of cognitive and physical disabilities in each of our U.S. offices.
This initiative has not gone unnoticed. Baker Botts has been recognized by Fairfax County, Virginia, and the State Education Department of New York for our outstanding contributions toward enhancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Our leadership in this area was featured in an article in The Washington Post. Walt Smith, former Managing Partner, is the recipient of the Dream Maker Award from Riverview School of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in recognition of the firm’s outstanding contributions towards enhancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
We are also focused on providing employment opportunities for lawyers with disabilities. Baker Botts regularly recruits at the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities Conference and Job Fair, and sponsors The National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSWD) Scholarship Program. Additionally, the firm participates in initiatives sponsored by the American Bar Association Commission on Physical and Mental Disability Law, and is a signatory of the “Disability Diversity In the Legal Profession: A Pledge for Change.”