A survey to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the working practices of disabled lawyers in England and Wales has been launched by the Law Society, in a bid to learn more about how to improve their work experiences.
“We are aiming to build on the knowledge gained from this unprecedented period of time when both disabled and non-disabled people have had to work from home,” explained Law Society president Simon Davis. “This is an opportunity to identify lessons that can be learnt for future practice in the profession.
“We are keen to find out about their current experiences and what has and has not worked for them, as well as finding evidence of aspects of remote working that could benefit disabled people in the profession in the long term.”
For the online survey, the Law Society will be widely circulating a questionnaire which will include nearly 1,000 members of its Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD).
The survey, in partnership with the Law Society, has been designed by Professor Debbie Foster of Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, in partnership with Dr Natasha Hirst of the Legally Disabled research team. It follows some initial research carried out in a two-year project which ended in January 2020, involving the same research team and LDD. The Law Society continues to work with Professor Foster and Dr Hirst to address the findings of that research.
“We know that during the pandemic some disabled people may have had limited or restricted access to support services and personal assistants. Others may have needed new specialist equipment to work from home, but may have been limited in supply. Some disabled people will also have been furloughed. Overall this survey will help us find out more about challenges in work faced by this important group in our legal community and how to sort them out," Simon Davis added.
The list of detailed questions in the survey includes asking about changes to working arrangements by employers since lockdown, selection practices for furlough and the effects of working from home on mental and physical health.
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