Having served the people of the South of England for nearly 60 years, Eric Robinson Solicitors has earned an enviable reputation for innovation, hard work and high standards of service in all areas of law.
Since its inception in 1964 the firm has expanded significantly beyond its Southampton base to open offices in Chandlers Ford, Lymington, Winchester and Richmond (London). The firm’s presence now extends to 6 offices across the South.
The firm’s fundamental objective is to provide friendly and clear expert legal advice to whoever needs it and this mantra has never wavered since the firm’s early days in the Southampton suburbs. The mission statement ‘Making Law Make Sense’ has been the foundation of the firm’s approach to client service and to ensure both accessibility and approachability.
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At Eric Robinson Solicitors we aim to ensure that the legal services we provide are accessible to all. We do this in part by our mission statement of ‘Making Law Make Sense’ and by offering a network of offices across the communities we serve.
We also recognise that specific reasonable adjustments may be required, to ensure that our disabled clients have the same access to our services. Many of the arrangements we put in place for disabled clients can also be made available, and can be beneficial to, those who don’t have disabilities.
Our Accessibility Policy demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our services are accessible to all. This policy does not seek to explain how we will approach every situation, rather it is intended as a general statement of our policy, and highlights the reasonable adjustments we have anticipated and put in place, as well as our approach to considering and making further reasonable adjustments.
In addition to ensuring accessibility to our services for those with disabilities this policy also considers how we can make adjustments for other clients with particular reference to those covered by other protected characteristics.
This policy therefore also demonstrates how we meet the needs of our clients arising from our obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the SRA Code of Conduct.
Identifying Reasonable Adjustments
We have assessed our premises, services and methods of communication and will continue to do so, on an ongoing basis, with a view to anticipating in advance what adjustments a disabled client might need in order to access our services.
We have considered what clients with a broad range of impairments might reasonably need, such as people who have a visual impairment, a hearing impairment or a mental health disability.
We will let our clients know that we can provide reasonable adjustments by:
- asking people directly in the first communication that we have with them if they might require any reasonable adjustments to access our services;
- publishing this policy on our website;
- including a clear note on a relevant record, for example a client’s file, that alerts staff to an agreed reasonable adjustment.
Where a client highlights a potential issue with accessing our services we will discuss the requirements with the person concerned, consider what can be done to overcome the issue, and whether any reasonable adjustments can be made.
Reasonable adjustments will always be agreed with the person concerned to avoid making incorrect assumptions about their needs.
When considering what reasonable adjustments we may make, we will also take into account reasonable variations to our processes, policies and procedures.
Whilst we will consider each request for reasonable adjustments individually there are some common adjustments which we offer as a matter of course.
Examples of the reasonable adjustments that we have and can make include:
- speaking clearly and using plain English which is appropriate to the person we are dealing with, avoiding jargon and explaining legal terms, processes and procedures clearly;
- training all staff and Partners in disability etiquette and using this in practice to ensure that we assist and communicate with all clients in the most appropriate way;
- providing documents or correspondence in a larger font size;
- providing documents with a specific colour contrast, which can often help people with conditions such as dyslexia;
- using email or the telephone in preference to hard copy letters where appropriate, which may assist those with a vision impairment;
- using email or written communication in preference to the telephone where appropriate, which may assist those with a hearing or speech impairment;
- allowing a person who has a learning disability or a mental health problem more time e.g. to listen to the issues they need to discuss, provide more in depth explanations about processes and documentation, or to assist them in completing paperwork;
- providing marketing literature in a digital format which can be viewed in a larger font size;
- providing a website which is built in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) which makes our web content more accessible for people with disabilities and more user friendly for all;
- welcoming assistance dogs at our offices;
- automatic doors at our offices at Southampton (Hedge End), (Southampton (Bitterne), and Chandlers Ford for ease of access;
- providing temporary ramps which can be put in place on request at our Chandlers Ford and Lymington offices to enable wheelchair users to access these premises;
- giving clients the option to attend meetings or return documentation at alternative offices if their local office has restricted access, which may assist wheelchair users;
- conducting home visits at no additional charge for clients who are unable to attend a meeting at our offices due to mobility related disability issues
In the majority of cases we will be able to agree and deliver reasonable adjustments with a minimum of delay.
In some cases, we may need to consider in more detail how best to overcome the issue a disabled person may be experiencing but we will endeavour to do so in a reasonable timescale.
In addition, where necessary, and where it is permitted by the relevant anti-discrimination legislation, the Firm will seek to provide services which meet the specific needs and requests of all clients.
The Firm will in particular consider requests for adjustments arising from clients’ ethnic or cultural background, gender, responsibilities as carers, religion or belief, sexual orientation or other relevant factors.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
At Eric Robinson Solicitors we believe in conducting business in a responsible way. This means making sure that our business activities have a positive impact on our environment, our community and our people.
We work hard to:
- minimise our impact on the environment;
- improve our environmental performance through the implementation of environmentally friendly policies and practices;
- comply with all legal and regulatory requirements;
- encourage dialogue with local communities and groups for mutual benefit;
- support charities and/or other worthwhile causes and encourage our employees to do so;
- provide a safe, fulfilling and rewarding career for all our employees;
- create employment opportunities for those in our community;
- review and evaluate what we do in order to improve our CSR performance.
We recognise the importance of protecting the environment and are fully committed to reducing the effects that our business activities have on our environment.
Here are some of the things we’ve done to minimise our impact on the environment:
- Recycling disposable items including bulbs, batteries, printer cartridges.
- Office practice of switching off lights and electrical equipment when not in use/at close of business.
- Installing and using energy-saving lighting and bulbs.
- Specifying A+ rated appliances when replacing appliances such as fridges.
- Replacing boilers to improve energy efficiency.
- Regularly servicing air conditioning equipment to improve performance and reduce energy consumption.
Community and charity
We’re proud to play a part in the communities in which our offices are based. We’re also proud of our commitment to client care and to delivering the highest standard of service and legal advice.
Wherever possible Eric Robinson Solicitors supports local charities based within the communities that it serves. We also actively look to organise various fundraising initiatives throughout the year and the firm supports and participates in awareness days and events for charities and initiatives such as Jeans for Genes day, Macmillan Coffee Mornings and Children in Need.
Many of our employees support charities to which they have a personal connection. They devote significant amounts of time and through sponsorship have raised much needed funds for these charities. We encourage staff to promote the fundraising work they do within the firm.
At Eric Robinson Solicitors we recognise that our people are our greatest asset. We aim to recruit and retain people who share our values and we promote a workplace in which all members of staff can thrive and fulfil their potential.
Eric Robinson Solicitors is committed to promoting equality and diversity and eliminating unlawful discrimination both in employment, and, in our professional dealings with clients and third parties.
We value the differences that a diverse workforce brings to the firm and are committed to creating a work environment free of harassment and bullying, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Eric Robinson Solicitors is a signatory of the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Charter and we complete an annual review which looks at both the diversity of our workforce and our firm’s performance against the standards set.
We monitor the diversity profile of our workforce and our job applicants to ensure that it is representative of the diversity profile of our local community and if appropriate we take action to encourage applications from any underrepresented groups.