“Legally Disabled?” finds significant barriers for disabled legal professionals
Press release 5th June 2018
Professor Debbie Foster of Cardiff University Business School and independent researcher Dr Natasha Hirst are conducting groundbreaking research into the experiences of disabled people in the legal profession. The independent research is funded by DRILL (Disability Research into Independent Living and Learning), which delivers the world’s first major research programme led by disabled people.
Initial findings from focus groups of disabled legal professionals highlight a mixed bag of experiences:
We are embarking on the interview stage of our research, involving individual, one-to-one interviews. These can be conducted face-to-face, by phone or by Skype and may take between 1 to 2 hours. We can factor in breaks and work to times that suit your requirements.
We are seeking to interview people with impairments or health conditions, from different areas of the legal profession. This includes those who have qualified but can’t secure work or training contracts, those working in the profession and those who have since left.
Please get in touch on email@example.com if you would like to put yourself forward for interview or wish to find out more.
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.
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.