At Silver & Wright’s recent holiday dinner, the entire firm savored delicious food, merriment, and camaraderie. Among the group was Katherine, the firm’s office assistant, who sat, chatted, and enjoyed the evening with her colleagues. Her inclusion at the table was ordinary—just another employee at the office party—but that normalcy was precisely what thrilled her employers and family.
Katherine is an adult with autism who joined the Silver & Wright team via Life College, a nonprofit program that partners with the firm and other similarly minded businesses to help individuals with intellectual disabilities lead more independent lives. Her father, Greg Brashears, founded Life College to help his daughter and other individuals who are autistic find work and inclusion. Silver & Wright offered her a space as a valued member of a team, and her confidence has skyrocketed, according to Greg.
“Katherine actually requested to attend the holiday party on her own, without myself or my wife there, and it made me so happy,” said Greg. “She takes ownership of her job and feels a sense of belonging that she didn’t before. Her confidence has grown tremendously since she began working at Silver & Wright.”
It was the firm’s chief operations officer, Cindy Bennett, who introduced partners Matthew Silver and Curtis Wright to the idea of partnering with Life College. Her son also is a member of the autistic community and a successfully employed alumnus of Life College. When the partners learned about the program and the positive impact it had on Cindy’s family, they were eager to engage.
“It sounded like a wonderful way to connect with a community that is sometimes excluded from normal day to day life,” said Matthew. “And Katherine has proven to be an amazing fit at the firm. She works hard, gets along well with her colleagues, and has a positive attitude—all of which are great qualities in any employee.”
Katherine works at the firm four days per week pulling and organizing case files, taking inventory of office supplies, and completing other tasks as needed. Her coworkers are grateful for the extra help maintaining their busy workloads, but even more, they appreciate what her presence says about their firm’s values.
“It would be easy to look the other way and not put in the effort,” said Cindy. “But Matthew and Curtis truly care—about their employees and about the special needs community. And I think that speaks volumes to the type of firm they’ve built.”
In partnership with the occupational therapy programs at Stanbridge University, Life College’s internship program teaches students transferable job skills for careers while demonstrating the soft skills necessary to maintain gainful employment.
Silver & Wright attorneys deliver municipal legal services, specializing in receiverships, code enforcement, public safety, and lawsuit defense. Leveraging their unique experience, cutting-edge legal concepts, and effective use of existing laws, they empower their clients to secure compliance and recover costs where allowed by law. They help cities and counties throughout California increase public safety, combat blight, and save funds. Silver & Wright’s passion for code enforcement is reflected in their volunteer service and legislative advocacy.