New research into the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people in the legal profession

Legally Disabled?: The Career Experiences of Disabled People in the Legal Profession (January 2020) identified that the most requested (and refused) reasonable adjustment for disabled lawyers was remote or home working.

However, COVID-19 has required everyone to work in this way and this is predicted to continue. It has meant new opportunities for disabled people and the profession to shape a more inclusive working environment.

Along with our Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD), we commissioned the same researchers, Professor Debbie Foster and Dr Natasha Hirst, to carry out further research to capture people’s experiences during COVID-19.

The findings of this research, The impact of COVID-19 on the employment and training of disabled lawyers in England and Wales: opportunities for job-redesign and best practice, were launched on 2 November 2020.

Report findings

The findings show that a lot of disabled people have found mass home working to be beneficial.

However, this is not universal and there continues to be issues with accessibility, technology and procedures. Many of these issues do not just affect disabled people and addressing them will improve not only disability inclusion in the profession.

The research and recommendations show how working practices can be improved in future lockdowns and beyond.

We’ll continue working together with the LDD and Legally Disabled? to ensure that these are adopted by firms and organisations of all sizes.

Upcoming roundtables

The launch is being followed by two virtual roundtables to explore in more detail some of the findings. There will also be an opportunity to share experiences in what is an ever-evolving new working environment.

We want to know what has worked and what has not, and how can we integrate what we’ve learnt to create more inclusive organisations, relationships and practices in the long term.

Email lawyerswithdisabilities@lawsociety.org.uk if you would like to attend either of the following roundtables:

  • Tuesday 17 November, 12.30pm to 2pm
  • Thursday 26 November, 12.30pm to 2pm

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