Following changes in behaviour seen during the COVID-19 pandemic the Welsh Government is aiming to “work with organisations to support a long term shift to more people working remotely.” It has defined remote working as “working outside of a traditional office or ‘central’ place of work.” This would include “working at home and close to home in your local community”. The Welsh Government has stated that it would like to have 30% of workers in Wales working remotely on a regular basis over the long term, but highlights that this is “not a target and no requirements will be put upon organisations and employers.”
The Legally Disabled? team is always looking out for opportunities to share our research with a wider audience. Although based on the legal sector, our findings and recommendations can easily apply to disabled people working in other professional occupations.
From experiences of poor access during recruitment to the lessons learned from online working during Covid, there is much that employers can do in many industries to become more disability-inclusive.
Greater flexibility could enhance access to the profession for disabled lawyers
Our new research on how disabled lawyers have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic shows increased remote working and more flexibility with reasonable adjustments could make the legal profession more accessible.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, many law firms, legal businesses and in-house teams began working from home for all staff – a reasonable adjustment which many disabled lawyers had requested before the pandemic.
A survey of over 100 disabled lawyers, launched by the Law Society of England and Wales in partnership with the Legally Disabled Research Team based at Cardiff University, found working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak enabled the majority of respondents to manage their disability more effectively. 70% of those surveyed would prefer to continue working remotely in the long-term.
Newsletters are a great way to reach your members and get disability inclusion on their radar. We welcome contact from disabled people, staff groups, potential disability champions, HR teams, stakeholders or leaders in the legal profession who might benefit from sharing knowledge and gaining further insights from our research.
Please get in touch if you’d like us to provide a guest blog post for your website or publication.
Keep a lookout for our upcoming report on the impact of Covid-19 on disabled lawyers, launching on Monday the 2nd November.
The Law Society in partnership with the Legally Disabled Project, has launched a survey to gather experiences of disabled people in the legal profession both during lockdown and post-lockdown. We’ll be using the insights gathered to inform best practice for the future and to evidence aspects of remote working that could benefit disabled people in the long term.
If you’re a disabled solicitor or trainee take the survey and share your experiences and thoughts on remote working during the pandemic. The closing date for survey returns is Sunday 16 August.
Professor Debbie Foster, who leads the ‘Legally Disabled?’ project took part in a fascinating conversation with Prof Fiona Kumari Campbell from the University of Dundee.
Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell is an interdisciplinary scholar-activist and is Professor of Disability and Ableism Studies in the School of Education & Social Work, University of Dundee. She runs the #Ruminations about Ableism series.
The research ‘The Career Experiences of Disabled People in the Legal Profession: Future Strategies for Inclusion and Change’ made interesting reading to me. Particularly as it resonated very strongly with the results from some research that we have been carrying out simultaneously.
Cake & Counsel have been hosting events for aspiring lawyers since June 2017. Founded by Ruth Reid, criminal barrister and Equality and Diversity Officer at 3 Temple Gardens Chambers, based upon her experiences in establishing a career at the Bar.
You are invited to their inclusion networking event on Monday 24th February. The Legally Disabled team are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the research findings and meet attendees.
This article was published first in The Lawyer on 15 March 2019. It is re- published with permission from Katherine Ramo and CMS. Our thanks go to Katherine for her support for our conference workshops where we discussed career progression for disabled people in the legal profession.
On Thursday 30January 2020, the Birmingham Law Society’s Disability Sub-Committee is hosting their first panel event to explore disability-related issues and what the legal profession can do to improve accessibility.
It is taking place at Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office with registration from 5:30pm. They will explore a wide range of topics, from caring for a disabled partner to living with Sickle Cell Disease.