The focus groups consisted of a diverse range of disabled legal professionals with different backgrounds and at varying points in their careers, from newly graduated to retired. Some participants entered the legal profession with an impairment or health condition and some acquired an impairment later in their career.
In a career that spans over 30 years in the City, Robert Hunter has been a partner in both a magic circle law firm, and a boutique fraud specialist firm. He has conducted advocacy in fraud and trust cases at all stages in the proceedings, including carrying out cross examination at trial. Robert is profoundly deaf, having suffered from progressive hearing loss since his early teens.
Together with Kayleigh Farmer and Kate Rees-Doherty, Robert founded City Disabilities, a charity offering mentoring and advice to students and professionals who are disabled or have long-term health conditions. City Disabilities also works with employers and professional bodies to raise awareness and improve best practice, including organising training, speakers and events.
We’ve received an excellent response to our initial call for participants in the research.
The research is independent and led by Professor Debbie Foster of Cardiff University. It is supported by the Law Society, the Bar Council, Bar Standards Board and LawCare, who have expressed an interest in the findings to inform future strategies on Equality and Inclusion. Data collected will contribute, in an anonymised form, to academic publications and reports.
The research group is interested in hearing from all disabled people or anyone with a long term health condition who has sought a career (post education) in any part of the law. We are interested in your experiences, the barriers you have faced, and any positive experiences and successes that might form the basis for future best practice.
You can look around our website for more information. The signup bar can be found in the footer of this website or email us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
We are exploring the experiences of disabled people and people with impairments or health conditions (including mental health) working in the legal profession. We seek to make the research as representative as possible. You may or may not consider yourself to be disabled but take a look at our page explaining different definitions of disability and see whether the research could apply to you.
The lists below are not exhaustive, if in doubt about whether your experiences or career fits our research, please get in touch!
This research includes:
Those who are qualified but unemployed
Lawyers who were once employed in the legal profession but have since left (and during the time employed, were disabled)
There are a number of key stages to the development of the research, all of which will happen in equal partnership (co-production) with disabled legal professionals.
The project has established a Research Reference Group consisting of only disabled legal professionals and the two key researchers. This group supports the researchers with designing and delivering the research. Data has been collected through a number of focus groups and we will shortly begin one to one interviews. When analysis of the interviews is complete we will distribute a large-scale survey.At all stages, the aim is for disabled people to lead the way.
September 2017 marked the launch of an exciting new research project, “Legally Disabled? The career experiences of disabled people in the legal profession in England & Wales: developing future strategies.”
Prof Debbie Foster and Dr Natasha Hirst formally launched the “Legally Disabled” research project at the September executive meeting of the Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD) at the Law Society in London.
The project has been given huge support and the great enthusiasm of project partners at the LDD has helped the project get off to the best possible start.
The research is funded by the DRILL Programme (Disability Research into Independent Living and Learning), a four nations project providing grants across the UK for research designed and delivered in co-production between disabled people and academics or researchers.
With Cardiff University as the lead on this 18-month project, all researchers on the project are disabled people and the key project partner, the LDD, consists of disabled lawyers. The research will be investigating the barriers and solutions for disabled people across the legal profession.
The Lawyers with Disabilities Division (Law Society) have been key partners in the development of the project which aims to co-produce research with disabled legal professionals. We are continuing to seek the involvement of other groups across the legal profession.