Introducing our key project partner – the LDD
A core principle of the DRILL programme that funds our research is co-production. This means that the research was designed and delivered in equal partnership between disabled people and academics/researchers.
Run by and for disabled legal professionals and students wishing to become solicitors, the Lawyers with Disabilities Division of The Law Society was our key project partner, helping us to shape and undertake the research and support us in encouraging participation from disabled legal professionals.
Who are the LDD?
Before the founding of the LDD 29 years ago (then called the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities) there were no formal means by which disabled lawyers could find each other or network.
The LDD has grown in both size and remit, meeting regularly and running events and initiatives designed to support disabled lawyers.
- Lawyers with Disabilities Division members come from a wide range of backgrounds and include law students, LPC graduates, retired solicitors, paralegals, law lecturers, practising solicitors (this does not include Barristers).
- Members also have a wide range of impairments including visual and other sensory impairments, impaired mobility and invisible conditions such as epilepsy, dyslexia and mental health issues.
- Membership is free – click to find out more.
Members benefit from:
- free specialised events and training (2 workshops and a conference)
- networking opportunities
- a shared platform to exchange views and further mutual interests
- regular e-newsletters and updates
- a one-to-one mentoring programme
- voting rights for division seats on the Law Society’s governing council
What does the LDD do?
Mentoring scheme: Members use their experiences and expertise to support aspiring solicitors and colleagues seeking to progress in the legal sector.
The LDD work experience scheme is now in its third year. LDD are working with law firms and organisations, who provide up to two weeks work experience. Channel 4, Stephenson Harewood and the British Council are amongst some of the organisations who have successfully offered work experience places to LDD members. LDD are always looking for more firms to get involved in the scheme.
More info here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/Support-services/Practice-management/Diversity-inclusion/Lawyers-with-Disabilities-Division/lawyers-with-disabilities-division-work-experience-programme/
Providing a voice for disabled legal professionals within and outside the profession:
- Contributing to consultations and lobbying organisations and government bodies on disability issues.
- Meeting with people at all levels of legal services right up to the Minister of Justice to provide input and advice regarding disability issues.
- Involvement with research such as the “Legally Disabled?” project.
Current policy work:
- Campaigning on how flexible working and training could have a positive impact on the number of disabled applicants entering and staying in the profession.
- Involvement with the consultation on the SRA’s new Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQEs) which will affect disabled students, and lobbying on their behalf.
Lawyers with Disabilities Division has a Facebook page which posts updates on LDD events, funding and work opportunities, general legal news and current disability issues.
If you are a disabled student you may be interested in the Diversity Access Scheme http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/law-careers/Becoming-a-solicitor/equality-and-diversity/diversity-access-scheme/
This is a scholarship with a difference. It provides awardees with:
- Funding for up to the full cost of your LPC fees.
- A professional mentor to help answer your questions about starting a career in law.
- Work experience placements, brokered through the Law Society.
Applications to the scheme reopen early in 2019.
To find out about your LDD representatives, take a look here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/practice-management/diversity-inclusion/lawyers-with-disabilities-division/lawyers-with-disabilities-division-committee/