Brisbane firm Carter Newell Lawyers has been recognised for its efforts in promoting diversity and flexibility in the workplace and named the Queensland Law Society's (QLS) Employer of Choice 2008.
In presenting the award, QLS president Megan Mahon described the firm as dynamic, commending it on its "supportive culture that provides for and accommodates the staff lifestyle needs, not only encouraging, but also enabling a balance between work life and responsibilities".
Carter Newell senior partner Paul Hopkins believes that the firm's 10-year involvement in the Job Placement Disability Employment Network was an important factor for the judges.
Through the program, the firm now has seven employees with wide-ranging disabilities working as support staff in the firm, and one of the employees in the program, Michael Peel, is approaching his ten-year anniversary with the firm.
Hopkins believes this has had a positive influence on the firm's culture.
"They've been very instrumental in making our culture become what it is," he said.
"In a law firm you can get a very skewed view of the world - it's all very corporate. This is a real chance to see people who otherwise wouldn't be in such an environment, working in an environment like ours and excelling and becoming a great part of it."
Hopkins also said that a concerted effort had been made, over a number of years, to make the firm "liveable". As an example the firm has been encouraging staff to take up flexible working arrangements, which Hopkins believes helps improve staff satisfaction and retention.
- Zoe Lyon
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