Disability History Month looks to wellbeing and health
We encourage the profession to use our diversity and inclusion (D&I) framework and other materials to ensure disabled colleagues feel supported in the workplace, as Disability History Month begins.
Our president Lubna Shuja said: “Throughout November and December, we will be sharing stories from disabled legal professionals to help illuminate the steps the profession can take for better inclusivity on disability, health and wellbeing.
“Our Legally Disabled? report with Cardiff Business School found that solicitors working in medium or large sector organisations were more likely to have experiences that were detrimental to their wellbeing than those working in small private sector organisations. These experiences affected their ability to fulfil their role.
“Disabled legal professionals also found their career paths could be more precarious and unpredictable because of health-related career interruptions, rigid working practices, accessibility issues and employers who were unwilling to facilitate adjustments.
“Based on this research, we developed some easy wins and action points for disability inclusion in small and larger firms and organisations. These included questions to get discussions going and starting points for further work. We also released guidance on reasonable adjustments that shares best practice from across the profession.
“I also encourage our members to use our D&I framework, as it focuses workplaces to set goals based on evidence from their organisation and ensure the change they’re seeking lasts. It also helps to establish purpose, develop a plan and ensure sustained performance.
“If research has found one thing, it is that disability has been largely overlooked when it comes to workplaces improving their D&I. I am pleased that this is now changing, but there remains much more to be done.
“It is important for employers to approach discussions with their disabled employees positively and constructively.”
Disabled Solicitors Network
Not only does Disability History Month focus on the history of disabled people’s struggle for equality and human rights, it is also a platform for how we can make changes that are more inclusive.
Lubna Shuja said: “Our Lawyers with Disabilities Division is now the Disabled Solicitors Network*, as this better reflects the Social Model of Disability, which was developed by disabled people and which we support.
“The Social Model of Disability says that people are disabled by barriers in society and people’s attitudes, not by their impairment or difference.
“These changes have been made following consultation with the Networks committees, made up of people from the relevant communities.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in our Networks as they work to improve experiences in the profession for women, disabled, Black, Asian and minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ solicitors.”**
Notes to editors
* On 1 November, the Law Society changed the names of all its Division Committees, after our Board agreed the recommendations of an independent review on our communities.
** Our Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division, LGBT+ Lawyers Division and Women Lawyers Division are now known as our Ethnic Solicitors Network, LGBTQ+ Solicitors Network and our Women Solicitors Network.
About the Law Society
The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.
Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928