“Significant barriers for disabled legal professionals”

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“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.

Key Findings:

Initial findings from focus groups of disabled legal professionals highlight a mixed bag of experiences:

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Interview participants needed!

'are you a disabled person working in the legal profession? We are exploring the experiences of disabled people working, who have worked or are seeking work in the legal profession. Get in touch to find out more info@legallydisabled.com

Are you a disabled legal professional?

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 info@legallydisabled.com if you would like to put yourself forward for interview or wish to find out more.

2018 Focus Group dates announced

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Focus Groups around England and Wales

Focus Groups help us to understand the key issues impacting on disabled legal professionals and will shape the direction of our research.

Following a successful series of focus groups in 2017, we are delighted to announce further opportunities to take part in the research.

The 2018 Focus Groups for all disabled legal professionals will be:

Birmingham   12th February, 12.30 – 2pm

Cardiff   9th February, 1 – 2.30pm and 16th February, 2 – 3.30pm

Manchester   26th February 5 – 6.30pm

 

London (Barristers and Clerks only)   2nd and 19th February, 4.30pm – 6pm

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Focus Group Dates

These groups are crucial to help us to gain a better insight into the issues that you have faced throughout your career so that we can start to shape our research questions.

We will provide a number of prompts to stimulate discussion to explore the experiences of disabled people and people with health conditions (including mental health) across the legal profession.

  • Focus Groups will be run in co-operation with the LDD
  • Each session 1.5 hours maximum
  • Groups of two to ten people
  • Chatham House Rules – confidentiality respected
  • Held in accessible venues around England and Wales
  • All focus groups facilitated by disabled people

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Who can participate?

Who are we including?

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:

  • Solicitors
  • Barristers
  • Legal executives
  • Clerks
  • 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)

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The next steps

What happens next?

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.

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Legally Disabled is launched!

Legally Disabled?

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.”

 

An executive meeting of the Lawyers with Disabilities Division (c) Natasha Hirst

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.

For further information on disability research undertaken at Cardiff University, take a look at the Disability and Employment blog.