Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Natasha Hirst, of Legally Disabled, a research project that will investigate and map out the negative and positive experiences, choices and views of qualified disabled people working or seeking to work in the legal profession.
Natasha writes: "Why are disabled people seemingly unexpected in the legal profession and what can we do to create a culture of inclusion and access?
These are the questions that the Cardiff University based “Legally Disabled?” research team are setting out to answer. The researchers held a series of focus groups around the UK with disabled legal professionals to identify the key issues that they experience in trying to get into the profession and then progressing their careers once there. They are now looking for individuals to participate in one to one interviews that can explore these issues in more depth.
Disabled people working in IP professions may not necessarily have arrived through a career in law. However, as professionals, disabled people who work within the IP sector may well experience similar barriers to career entry and progression as those in the legal profession. We hope that the findings of this research will be transferable to other occupations.
We believe that disabled people seeking employment or working in the legal profession are an untapped resource with strong ambition, tenacity, determination and excellent problem-solving skills - all qualities that bring great benefits to employers.
However, our findings suggest positive experiences of support, good attitudes and appropriate reasonable adjustments are something of a lottery.
Entering the profession
Disclosure and seeking reasonable adjustments
Working culture and expectations
The good practice
How to get involved
If you are (or were) a disabled legal professional and would like to contribute through a one to one interview, you can find out more on our website or contact the researchers by email.
The independent research is funded by the DRILL programme (www.drilluk.org.uk) and works in coproduction with the Lawyers with Disabilities Division of the Law Society. However, the research is independent of any professional association, regulator or employer and your anonymity is assured at all times."