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London Law Firm Employs 24 People who have a Disability


Cohen Highley LLP hasn’t looked back since hiring a person who has a disability 18 years ago. In fact, the London-based agency has embraced dozens of additional opportunities to create an inclusive workforce. Cohen Highley, which provides professional legal services on an agency basis for corporate counsel, law firms and sole practitioners, now employs 24 people who have a disability.


“Our firm is very supportive of hiring people with disabilities,” Cohen Highley partner Joe Hoffer says.
“It has been a great experience for us.” Working with Community Living London has been key, Hoffer says. The first employee the firm hired continues to perform administrative duties and greet clients. Community Living London initially helped define her job role and still provides support to the firm as it expands its workforce.

“We as employers don’t have the knowledge or experience to identify these things,” Hoffer says. “They (Community Living London) did an excellent job of identifying tasks a supported individual would be performing.”


While Hoffer may not have been directly involved in the firm’s first hire; he has since become an advocate for inclusive workplaces. 
Hoffer received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his contribution during a gala ceremony at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto in June. The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) also named Hoffer to its Champions League for his role in employing people who have an intellectual disability. “It’s just a firm belief it’s a positive thing to do for other people,” Hoffer says of his motivation. 
“In Ontario, we recognize we have a lot of personal resources. Not everyone has the personal resources we do.” Employing people who have a disability offers them an equal opportunity to grow, Hoffer notes. “This can be duplicated for many people so you do it.

By Natalie Hamilton