(July 11, 2018, Washington, DC) — Steptoe has been named one of the 2018 Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion by the Disability Equality Index® (DEI). Achieving a high score of 90%, Steptoe was the only law firm rated on this year's list, sharing the recognition with 125 companies from the Fortune 1000.
The DEI is a joint initiative between American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), designed by disability advocates and business leaders as the nation’s most trusted comprehensive benchmarking tool for disability inclusion. The index measures key performance indicators across organizational culture, leadership, accessibility, employment, community engagement, support services and supplier diversity.
"Steptoe is honored to be recognized on this year's Disability Equality Index, and particularly proud to be the only law firm on the list," said Steptoe Chair Phil West. "We are committed to fostering a fully diverse and inclusive workplace community and have taken significant steps in recent years to create an environment in which all of our lawyers and professional staff can thrive and succeed."
In January, Steptoe's flagship Washington office unveiled the results of a two-year renovation project in which the interior of the 230,000 square foot building was gutted and rebuilt, integrating accessibility best practices throughout its design. Every floor of the new LEED Silver compliant space is single-planed with elevators, permanent ramps and multiple mobility and egress measures in place. They include height-adjustable desks, wide passageways, accessible facilities and restrooms, some that are private and gender-neutral, and an advanced building emergency management system with detailed plans and crisis team members on each floor who can alert first responders of individuals who may require additional assistance during a fire evacuation or other emergency.
All of the firm's workspaces are in professionally managed buildings that are ADA compliant. Steptoe exceeds that baseline by having an ergonomics program in place, and providing additional assistive technologies, software and hardware as needed. The firm's Human Resources and Facilities Departments work in tandem to provide a comfortable, accessible and operational workplace for all employees with diverse needs and abilities.
Steptoe's pro bono program also provides legal services that specifically focus on disability. The firm's lawyers regularly work with clients suffering from disabling mental and physical health conditions to obtain public benefits crucial to securing and maintaining housing, an adequate food supply, and other life necessities.
Now in its fourth year, the DEI has experienced nearly a 32% increase in year-over-year participation, signaling disability inclusion is on the rise across industries.
"AAPD is thrilled to see increased participation in this year's DEI. The commitment to disability inclusion is becoming a priority for more and more corporations," said Helena Berger, president and CEO of AAPD. "While we have made great strides since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the number of disabled individuals getting hired has not significantly increased. The DEI was created to help advance employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities."
Steptoe and the corporations recognized on this year's DEI will be honored by AAPD Board Chair Ted Kennedy, Jr. on July 11 at the USBLN Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
For more information, please visit the Disability Equality Index website.
In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.