Disabled Solicitors Network advisory committee

The Disabled Solicitors Network promotes equal opportunities for disabled people within the legal profession. Meet the Disabled Solicitors Network advisory committee.

Reena Parmar (chair)

Reena is an Indian woman, wearing a sari. She is sitting on pink cushion on a white bench, in a room with bright pink and orange draping. She is wearing glasses and smiling with a closed mouth. Reena is chair of the network and joined the committee in October 2021.

She is Counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, specialising in debt capital markets.

Reena was a founding member and former co-chair of the Freshfields UK employee disability network.

Reena has her own less visible disabilities, which developed during her working career. She is also a carer for family members with disabilities.

As a result, Reena is passionate about disability inclusion and accessibility and is committed to developing a disability inclusive culture in the legal sector.

In 2023, Reena’s advocacy on disability and neurodiversity led to Reena being featured as a role model on the first Enable Role Model List by INvolve, which champions role models across global organizations who are using their personal experiences of disability, neurodiversity or mental health to drive action for inclusion in the workplace.

She was also shortlisted for the inaugural Legal Heroes Awards by The Law Society, and won an award for Champion of the Year at the Inspirational Women in Law Awards 2023.

Demi Rixon (vice chair)

Demi Rixon is a white woman with shoulder-length blonde wavy hair. She is smiling and wears a black dress and gold necklace.Demi graduated with a first-class honours from De Montfort University in 2018. Since then, she has worked as a real estate paralegal at both global and regional firms and a legal IT training consultant.

Demi is studying her LPC and LLM part-time at BPP University Birmingham. Demi also works as a diversity assistant at Freeths LLP.

As well as other barriers facing disabled lawyers, Demi is keen to raise awareness of invisible disabilities and the importance of accessibility of technologies.

Mark Blois

Mark was appointed to the committee in 2019. He is a partner and head of education at Browne Jacobson LLP.

His work includes advising education institutions on a range of including special educational needs and disability

Jasdeep BrarJas is smiling into the camera. He has dark hair and is wearing a dark jumper.

Jas qualified as a solicitor in 2023 at Linklaters after working six years in various roles in both the business teams and practice.

He is also the firm’s disability ambassador and co-chair of the internal VisAbility network.

Jas has a high-level spinal injury, is a wheelchair user and has an acquired neurodisability.

He has a particular interest in physical disabilities and ensuring access for students and trainees to successful legal careers – both as practising and non-practising lawyers.

Jane Burton

Jane is a white woman with dark hair. She is wearing glasses and a green, flowery dress. She is smiling with a closed mouth. Jane is the immediate past chair of the network.

A recipient of the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme bursary to study as a mature student for the GDL and LPC at the College of Law in York.

She was instrumental in the co-production process of the Legally Disabled? research between Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University and the network.

She is a public speaker around disability inclusion and regularly chairs panel sessions around disability issues and intersectionality.

She has also taken part in transatlantic podcasts and global D&I initiatives (working with Reed Smith LLP).

Jane is also a member of the Law Society’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Hannah Clifford

Hannah Clifford has blonde hair and is wearing a graduation robe, with a stained glass window in the background.Hannah is a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell's Birmingham office.

She specialises in serious injury and represents claimants who have suffered catastrophic injuries.

Hannah is the co-chair of Irwin Mitchell’s internal network for disabled colleagues.

Hannah is passionate about disability inclusion and speaks openly about her own experience of living with a disability.

Chris Fawcett

Chris Fawcett is a man with grey hair and glasses.Chris is an inclusion manager at Clifford Chance and was appointed to the committee in November 2023.

He is passionate about progressing disability inclusion in the legal sector.

Since registering as severely sight impaired/blind in 2015, Chris has used his lived experience to advocate for disability equity and accessibility in all areas of society.

He has presented at national and international conferences on disability etiquette, barriers in education, workplace disability strategy, inclusive design, and disability legislation across EMEA.

Dr Elisabeth Griffiths

Elisabeth Russell has short brown hair and is wearing a suit jacket.Dr Elisabeth Griffiths is an associate professor at Northumbria Law School, Northumbria University.

She is an employment lawyer with specific interest in equality law and disability legal studies.

Elisabeth is a qualified solicitor (non-practising). Her research interests focus on equality, disability and legal education.

She has a professional doctorate in law on the lived experience of disability in law school and has a particular interest in building inclusive professional cultures for disabled law students as they transition from education into the legal profession.

Shama Gupta

Shama Gupta is a woman of South Asian heritage with short, straight dark brown hair. She is smiling and wears a beige suit with glasses.Shama has been a member of the network since 2017.

Her interest is in raising awareness of mental wellbeing and intersectionality, about which she speaks at various organisations.

She is a Law Society social mobility ambassador and is the diversity and inclusion ambassador for Freeths LLP.

Lizzie Hardy

Lizzie Hardy is a white woman with long fair hair. She is wearing a black and white dress and glasses. She is smiling with a closed mouth. Lizzie is an associate at Eversheds Sutherland, specialising in employment law and diversity and inclusion issues.

She has been involved in the committee since 2019.

She is particularly passionate about recruiting and training disabled talent in the law, and draws upon her experience as a junior lawyer when speaking at panel events.

Lizzie founded and leads Project Rise; an initiative that seeks to introduce part-time training as standard practice across the legal profession.

Rhian Hooton

Rhian Hooton is a white woman with long blonde hair. She is wearing a blue dress and jacket. She is standing outside and smiling. Rhian is a medical negligence solicitor at Irwin Mitchell and disability subcommittee chair at Cardiff Law Society.

She is very passionate about improving disability inclusion within legal services and speaks openly about her own experience as a lawyer with a non-visible disability.

Rhian established the first D&I subcommittee within a local law society dedicated to improving disability inclusion.

She is committed to raising awareness of the ways in which businesses can make their workplaces more inclusive.

Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly has auburn hair and is wearing a light blue suit jacket, blue tie and white shirt. There are trees in the background.Ryan is an in-house lawyer who qualified in 2014.

Ryan joined the Disabled Solicitors Network in 2023 and is registered blind so has first-hand experience of living, studying and working with a disability.

Ryan is passionate about equality and diversity and hopes that his experiences will help to guide and inspire businesses and individuals to embrace their differences.

Simon Maynard

Simon Maynard has dark brown hair. He's wearing a suit jacket, with a white shirt and light purple tie.Simon is counsel at King & Spalding, where his practice focuses on the resolution of international commercial disputes.

He is recognised as a Rising Star for international arbitration by Legal 500 and WhoWho’s Legal and, in 2022, was recognised as Lawyer of the Year at the Legal Business Awards.

In addition to his role on the committee, Simon is co-chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Task Force on Disability Inclusion.

He writes regularly on the topic of disability inclusion, including in the Times, Financial Times, Global Legal Post and DisabilityQ.

Coralie McKeivor

Coralie McKeivor is an Asian woman with medium-length curly dark brown hair. She is smiling and wears glasses and a purple floral blouse.Coralie is a managing associate at Freeths LLP in Bristol and specialises in real estate.

She has a particular interest in support for legal professionals with non-visible disabilities, as well as intersectionality, and joined the committee in 2021.

Coralie is also the co-chair of the ED&I committee of Bristol Law Society.

Placida Uzoamaka Ojinnaka

Placida Uzoamaka OjinnakaPlacida is a non-practising solicitor, who has been a member of the network since 2004.

She is involved with various disability-related organisations, raising issues concerning disabled people via social media.

Placida represents the Disabled Solicitors Network on the Law Society’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Victoria Towers

Tori Towers has blue and purple hair and is wearing glasses.Tori qualified as a solicitor in 2015 and has worked in a mixture of boutique and global law firms before moving in-house to the charity sector.

They have been foundational in developing and supporting equality, diversity and inclusion networks at their workplaces.

They are particularly interested in increasing support for and access to the legal sector for those who are neurodivergent or have chronic illnesses.

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