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Legally Disabled? research project enters the next stage

28 January 2019

The Lawyers with Disabilities Division has been working in partnership with researchers from Cardiff University on a study to investigate the experiences of disabled people in the legal profession as part of the 'Legally Disabled?' project.

The research has received an unprecedented level of interest and so much data has been produced that the project has been extended to allow enough time for analysis.

Following a successful series of focus groups and 55 one-to-one interviews, we are delighted to update you on the progress of the research.

The interview stage of the project concluded in December. This consisted of one-to-one interviews with a wide range of disabled legal professionals to explore individual experiences in more depth.

An initial analysis of the emerging themes points to a number of factors that influence positive and negative experiences.

These factors include opportunities to gain work experience and training contracts to take that first step into a legal career, as well as various conditions that create working environments that help or hinder career progression.

What next?

The report on the initial findings of the research is currently being drafted.

Based on the emerging findings, a questionnaire will be sent out in February to identify how common certain experiences are for disabled legal professionals, and what outcomes these experiences lead to.

A final report is expected by June 2019. This will pull together the issues identified by the interviews and the questionnaire.

The report will discuss the experiences of disabled legal professionals and will put forward constructive ideas for action that employers and professional bodies can take to create a more inclusive and accessible environment for disabled people in the legal profession.

Later in the year, a conference will be held in London and there will be a workshop day in Cardiff to share and discuss the findings of the research and support the legal profession with understanding how it can improve policy and practice on disability.

We'd love to talk to you!

If your group, network or firm would like us to come along and discuss our findings over the spring and summer please do get in touch.

We also value all support that you can give with sharing the questionnaire and research findings as we progress the project.

Thank you to all who have taken part in the interviews and focus groups.

Your openness about your experiences has been incredibly valuable and will enable the researchers to produce a report and recommendations that we hope will have an impact on improving how the legal professional includes disabled people.

Find out more

The researchers can be contacted at info@legallydisabled.com.

More information on the project and the funding can be found on the Legally Disabled? and Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning websites.

A Research Reference Group consisting of disabled legal professionals from a diversity of backgrounds have supported the ongoing development and implementation of the project.

The project works to the Social Model of Disability which states that a person with an impairment or health condition is disabled by barriers in wider society.