PRISM profiles

Find out more about members of our PRISM network

Michael Maquieira

Trainee (he/him)

Michael studied Law at the University of Cambridge and joined the firm in 2020 as a trainee solicitor, aged 24. He is currently on secondment in Madrid at our Best Friend firm, Uría Menéndez.

What does being a member of PRISM mean to you?

Growing up, I often thought that coming out at work would be a bad career move. I had convinced myself that it would prevent me from progressing. PRISM has shown me that could not be further from the truth; it is important to me because, together with the other networks, it says to people (both inside and out) that Slaughter and May is a place where diversity is not a hindrance (whether that be diversity of socio-economic background, sexuality, race, gender, etc.), but rather is welcomed and celebrated. I think that a workplace where people are able to be their authentic selves is not only a better workplace, but one that is more productive and effective. Equally, those considering applying to work here will be able to do so with confidence, in the knowledge that they will be able to be themselves at every stage, whether that be when applying, at interview or throughout their career here.

How have you found being out at Slaughter and May?

Being out as a gay man at Slaughter and May has been so easy that I often haven’t stopped to think about it. I feel that I bring my authentic self to work every day without any fear or hesitation.

Mark Spiller

Associate (he/him)

Mark studied Law and joined the firm in 2016 as a trainee and is now an associate in one of our Corporate and Commercial groups.

What have you been involved with as a member of PRISM?

PRISM hosts regular social and informative events, both as a group and alongside other diversity networks: from inspirational talks to networking drinks, there is always something exciting in the pipeline. We also have a close relationship with each of the Best Friend LGBT networks and regularly hold events in conjunction with them. Indeed, while on secondment in Madrid to Uría Menéndez, I worked with Uría’s LGBT network to share best practice and initiatives between the two networks. Another highlight includes attending Amsterdam Pride following an invite from our Best Friend firm in the Netherlands, De Brauw.

As a gay lawyer myself, I have also appreciated the opportunity to assist the future generations in their professional development. It has been very rewarding getting involved with guidance and mentoring schemes for LGBT+ students considering careers in the City.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I love to travel when I can, giving me the opportunity to meet new people, explore new cultures, and most importantly, try new foods! Indeed, even when at home in London, you’ll most likely catch me trying to find new foodie spots.

Jonathan McNaul

Trainee (he/him)

Jonathan studied English at St Andrews University and joined the firm as a trainee in March 2019.

Why is PRISM important to you?

As someone who grew up in a socially conservative community in Northern Ireland (and who waited until university to come out as gay), I understand the vital importance of being your authentic self around friends, family and colleagues. PRISM exists to cultivate a tolerant and inclusive culture, where no one is afraid to express their sexuality and gender identity. The network provides a space to elevate LGBT+ voices, to educate ourselves about the lived experiences of those around us, and to create a comfortable working environment for everyone. PRISM is also a superb way of meeting LGBT+ colleagues in a social context; it hosts some of the most enjoyable events at the firm!

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work? 

Music is a great passion of mine. When outside work, I can often be found performing with my choir or attending concerts and gigs!

Sally Wokes

Partner (she/her)

Sally read Law at University College London before joining the firm in 2005 as a trainee. She has been a partner since 2015 in one of our Corporate and Commercial groups.

Why did you become an ally member of PRISM?

Being an ally member of the PRISM network means supporting LGBT inclusion at Slaughter and May and being a part of that conversation. Figures published by Stonewall suggest that more than a third of LGBT staff still hide their identity at work for fear of discrimination, which really brought the importance of PRISM home to me.

It’s critical that everyone is able to be themselves at work, in order for them to be happy and to fulfil their potential, and we need to work together on reaching that goal.

PRISM, like our other networks, helps our partners and employees to do this, and so I am proud to be a supporter.

Are you involved in any of the other firm networks?

I’m one of the supporting partners of Thrive, our mental health and wellbeing network, and also involved in our Gender Equality Network. There’s a lot of cross-over between the different networks, and that’s why we collaborate together for many of our events during the course of the year. The increase in the number and strength of our networks in recent times is really inspiring – it’s great to see so many people in the firm committing themselves to these initiatives to improve everyone’s working life.

Ella Widdop-Gray

Trainee (she/her)

Ella studied Law at the University of Manchester and joined the firm in September 2019. She is currently in the second seat of her training contract and sitting in the Disputes and Investigations group.

Why is PRISM important to you?

PRISM reflects the firm’s commitment to LGBTQ+ issues and people. As a gay woman, the network helps me to feel comfortable in the office and, as such, work to my full potential. It also presents an exciting opportunity to get involved in various events and to meet interesting people, both within the firm and within the wider legal profession.

What have you been involved with as a member of PRISM?

DiversCity is an initiative aimed at LGBTQ+ students hoping to pursue a legal career in the City. I attended DiversCity’s annual events as an undergraduate student and was inspired to hear about LGBTQ+ lawyers’ experiences. I also benefitted from the scheme’s mentoring programme.

Slaughter and May is one of the City law firms that participates in the initiative. As a trainee, I was given the opportunity to attend the DiversCity event and to sit on a panel. It was great to be able to give back to a scheme that had helped me and to share my experience of being an LGBTQ+ person working at a City law firm. Through the initiative, I am also acting as a mentor to an undergraduate student.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

Having participated in sports competitively at school and university, I now enjoy more relaxed gym sessions and leisurely jogs.

Vera Vollmann

Associate

Vera studied European Studies at Maastricht University and Sciences Po Paris and has an LL.M. in International and European Business Law from Trinity College, Dublin. She joined the firm in September 2016 as a trainee and is now an associate in our Competition group.

What does being a member of PRISM mean to you?

I joined PRISM on my first day at the firm to meet other LGBT people and get involved more broadly in the City’s LGBT community. I believe that it is an important cause to be a part of, providing a framework of support, especially in light of the firm’s various programmes with young people.

What are your hobbies and interests?

In terms of interests, I love painting and literature, mainly philosophy. On the weekends, I enjoy going to the theatre and (pop-up) exhibitions or strolling around Victoria Park. I am an outdoorsy person and a passionate traveller – South America is one of my favourite places to travel.

Dominic Brown

Associate (he/him)

Dominic joined the firm in September 2014 and is an associate in one of our Corporate and Commercial groups.

What does being a member of PRISM mean to you?

PRISM is important to me as it demonstrates the firm’s commitment to LGBT issues and affirms that LGBT people have a place at Slaughter and May. Along with the firm’s other networks, PRISM demonstrates the diversity of the people who work here and helps to foster an inclusive and respectful working environment. PRISM also hosts excellent social events which are open to everyone in the firm, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.

How have you found being out at Slaughter and May?

I have not had any issues with being “out” as a gay man in the workplace. There are great LGBT role models holding senior positions in the firm, which makes me comfortable sharing this part of my identity with my colleagues.

Nick Pacheco

Partner (he/him)

Nick joined the firm in 2010 and is now a partner in one of our Corporate and Commercial groups.

What does being a member of PRISM mean to you?

Diversity and inclusion are important to me as a gay man, and PRISM and the firm’s other internal networks play a key role in allowing our staff to bring their whole, genuine and unique selves to work.

PRISM builds awareness of LGBTQ+ issues throughout the firm and the wider world. I’m especially proud of the bridges that we’ve built with the LGBTQ+ networks of our clients and other organisations.

Liam Reynolds

Associate (he/him)

Liam studied Law at the University of Manchester and joined the firm as a trainee solicitor in September 2018. He is an associate in one of our Financing groups.

What does being a member of PRISM mean to you?

While I have been out as a gay man in my personal life for a number of years, it was still very nerve-wracking to come into a completely new, unknown environment and to be open about my sexuality.

I joined PRISM because I believe that being able to talk freely and openly about our personal lives is key to preserving good mental health, and that nobody should feel as though they have to sacrifice their authentic self at work. Being a member of the PRISM network has helped me to become more confident in both my professional and personal life. A particular highlight has been being a member of the sub-group that drafted the firm’s Stonewall index submission for 2020, where we rose a huge 55 places to be ranked 15th for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the country (the most improved of any employer in the index). It was extremely satisfying to see the efforts of the firm rewarded in this way. 

Outside of work, I am an enthusiastic (if untalented) gym-goer, amateur cook and self-professed theatre nerd.