Accommodation for Success Awards – St. Louis City and County
Congratulations to Bhavik Patel, managing partner at Sandberg Phoenix & vonGontard, P.C.! The Accommodation for Success awards committee awarded Mr. Patel the Exceptional Supporter of Inclusive Practices award. Mr. Patel and Sandberg Phoenix & vonGontard, P.C. were nominated by the St. Louis Arc for their work with the Arc’s Employment Services team to employ people with disabilities.
The Start of a Great Partnership
Sandberg Phoenix’s relationship with the St. Louis Arc began in 2007. Mr. Patel began donating his time and services to conduct Family Workshops on benefit and estate planning, and creating special needs trusts. Over time, Mr. Patel’s interest in the St. Louis Arc grew and Sandberg Phoenix began to seek out new opportunities for hiring people for the firm. Recognizing the value of hiring people with disabilities, they began working on the goal of hiring candidates supported by the Arc.
This year, the Employment Services team met with Mr. Patel and his HR team, to discuss partnering with the Arc on hiring matters. Sandberg Phoenix currently employs over 200 people. They knew a position would open up eventually that would be a good fit for an Arc candidate. When a Library Assistant position opened up in March, the Arc identified two candidates as possible matches for the position.
Training and Education
The Arc staff spent time with the hiring team at Sandberg Phoenix helping to educate them on interviewing people with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities. The HR team wanted to be more informed and educated on how to conduct interviews differently with people who had identified disabilities. They didn’t want to miss out on a qualified candidate that looked good on paper, but who may interview differently from their usual candidates.
In March 2017, Sandberg Phoenix hired one of the Arc candidates as the Library Assistant. Not only have they been pleased with the individual’s performance, but they are also thrilled at the level of service the St. Louis Arc and its staff provide to their firm.
According to Mr. Patel, law firms have so many available positions. If people can get past preconceived notions, they will see there are many individuals with disabilities who could be a good fit for various jobs. Mr. Patel has stated that he is putting out a call to action to other law firms and managing partners to make a difference. Congratulations Bhavik Patel and Sandberg Phoenix for being an Exceptional Supporter of Inclusive Practices!
In addition to Bhavik Patel’s award, Accommodations for Success also honored MOD Pizza for their work with the Arc as Outstanding Inclusive Employer. Read more about the Arc’s partnership with MOD Pizza.
If you know a company who would be interested in learning more about employing people with disabilities, contact Tom Hutson, Assistant Director of Employment Services, at 314-817-2220.