Disability History Month 2020

For Disability History Month (DHM) 2020, we released a suite of varied content to highlight perspectives, raise awareness and showcase individuals and their achievements.

Smiling woman with hearing aid working from home

We had the honour of collaborating with a number of people from the legal profession and would like to thank all that were involved. We would especially like to thank our Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD) for their dedication and contribution to producing such a variety of items for our members.

The energy and interest in DHM this year shows the impact that the Legally Disabled research has had, and we continue to work closely with Professor Foster and Dr Hirst of Cardiff Business School to ensure this is reflected in real action and change.

In case you missed anything, take a look below.

Easy wins

Together with the Legally Disabled researchers, and incorporating feedback from the various roundtables held this year, we’ve prepared a list of things that organisations could be doing to improve disability inclusion (or at least asking themselves).

This is for larger firms and organisations and we are in the process of finalising the list for smaller entities. If you would like to be involved in that, email us.

Read about the guidance

Download the resource

Law Society Gazette articles

Disability Discrimination Act – 25 years on

Gifty Edila, retired solicitor and corporate director of law, reflects on the Disability Discrimination Act on its 25th anniversary.

Read the article

Disabled but not dis-abled

Rhian Smith, associate solicitor at JCP Solicitors and chair of the Disability Sub-committee of Cardiff Law Society, explores her own legal career and what she would like to see change in the profession to improve disability diversity and inclusion.

Read the article

Rethinking our definition of bullying and harassment

Lucy Hendley, an employment solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP, talks us through the scope and impact of bullying and harassment in a disability context, questioning the traditional definitions of the terms.

Read the article

Law Society website articles and resources

My journey as a disabled senior leader

We interview LDD committee member Mark Blois about his journey to becoming a disabled senior leader.

The need for different minds

In this article, Julie Jaggin of Kingsley Napley speaks on autism in women and the importance of harnessing the strengths of autistic people within the profession.

Disability in the legal profession

A recording of the disability event from September’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) conference, together with tips and learning from the panellists.

Senior leaders must lead the way for disability inclusion

Professor Foster and Dr Hirst of the Legally Disabled research team explain how.

Read the article

Disclosing an invisible disability

Demi Rixon, vice chair of our LDD committee, discusses her experiences of disclosing her disability and shares some helpful techniques.

Events

On 27 November, LDD committee members Demi Rixon and Anna Vroobel hosted the D&I team’s first ever Instagram live event, discussing how disability is portrayed in wider society and how these portrayals impact disabled people working in the legal profession.

The recording is still in the feed on our Instagram account and has been viewed by over 500 people.

On 3 December the LDD committee hosted a virtual quiz and social to mark the International Day of People with Disabilities. On the same date, LDD chair Jane Burton was a panellist in a D&I conference run by Reed Smith.

Throughout the month LDD committee members also participated in other internal panels and events for various firms and organisations.

Other

113 Chancery Lane

Our building in Chancery Lane was lit up in purple for the whole month to raise awareness.

Disabled solicitors need freedom to keep working from home

Law Society president David Greene and Professor Foster wrote about the opportunities from COVID-19 for the The Times.

See our press release: Greater flexibility could enhance access to the profession for disabled lawyers.

The findings of the latest research are harrowing: lawyers with disabilities desperately need change

Lawyers with Disabilities Division Committee member Lizzie Hardy of Eversheds Sutherland talked to The Lawyer about the Legally Disabled findings and what needs to change.

Our monthly D&I newsletter featured a lot of disability content, including a feature in our D&Ictionary corner on the social and medical models of disability; and the answer to a reader’s question about when to disclose a disability.

Take a look at the D&Ictionary entry

Read our response about disclosing a disability

Stay up to date

The best way to be kept informed is to sign up to the LDD on My LS.

Under “Account Settings” within your My LS account, choose “Lawyers with Disabilities” under the “Diversity and inclusion interests” section to receive our monthly newsletter and disability-specific communications from us.

You do not have to be a lawyer or identify as disabled to join the division.

You can also follow our general D&I Twitter account and our disability-specific LinkedIn and Facebook groups:

Our work to improve disability inclusion will not stop and we're keen to ensure that the same applies to other organisations.

The LDD committee has been monitoring social media to see who is publicising DHM and so should be prepared to help with future work. If you saw anything that we should follow up, email us.

For us, the next year will include more articles, social media and guidance – in particular on reasonable adjustments, disability leave policies and passporting schemes.

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