Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

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LawTweet

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Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby LawTweet » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:06 am

I am a white, middle-class woman applying to law school. I grew up with a serious physical/neurological disability that I am now 98% recovered from now (I'd say I was 90% recovered by age 14 and 98% recovered by 19). It did have a profound impact on my life and my interest in practicing law. However, I am afraid that it will look like I'm grasping at straws for a white girl to write about a disability she doesn't even really have anymore. Would I be better off not writing one at all? Or if I do, is there anything in particular I should emphasize so I don't sound tone-deaf?

HonestAdvice

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Re: Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby HonestAdvice » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:29 am

I would absolutely write about it. Adversity tends to play out in extremes: it either destroys people or makes them unshakable. The fact you graduated from college demonstrates that you're probably the latter type, which makes you likelier to succeed than a non-disabled person, because you're probably going to keep getting back up. It's also better that you overcame it, because disabilities, especially of the type you're describing are generally not accepted. This is less true at the academic level, but in this profession, the data shows an inverse correlation - the acceptance of people of other races, religions, sexual orientations and national origins has corresponded with less acceptance of those with disabilities, particularly if it isn't a picture friendly disability like being in a wheelchair. Any neurological disability, particularly if it isn't a mental illness tends to be perceived by the ignorant as being indicative of your merit. I think the reason for this is although attorneys tend to be nice people, the amount of man hours that go into this profession requires of people makes them oblivious of any social changes that aren't shoved down their throats. I'm not trying to discourage you, but am trying to encourage you to keep working on minimizing the impact of your disability and to go into this with your eyes wide open.
Last edited by HonestAdvice on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Good Guy Gaud

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Re: Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby Good Guy Gaud » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:31 am

I think it is a good topic. Of course, the only way to find out is to write it and see what you think.

LawTweet

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Re: Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby LawTweet » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:43 am

Thanks for the feedback! For the record, my disability is now invisible. Nobody would ever know I had a disability unless I disclosed it to them or showed them my medical records (or they knew me before age 12). Given that there obviously is tremendous discrimination against people with disabilities, would it make things worse to disclose this on my app if no one would know otherwise?

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Good Guy Gaud

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Re: Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby Good Guy Gaud » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:54 am

No, it's not going to make anything worse so long as it is true. I think it could be a compelling diversity statement regardless of whether you still suffer from it.

HonestAdvice

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Re: Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby HonestAdvice » Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:14 pm

LawTweet wrote:Thanks for the feedback! For the record, my disability is now invisible. Nobody would ever know I had a disability unless I disclosed it to them or showed them my medical records (or they knew me before age 12). Given that there obviously is tremendous discrimination against people with disabilities, would it make things worse to disclose this on my app if no one would know otherwise?

At the application level, they want to bring in interesting people. At the professional level, they want low risk.

LawTweet

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Re: Diversity Statement on Prior Disability

Postby LawTweet » Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:24 pm

HonestAdvice wrote:
LawTweet wrote:Thanks for the feedback! For the record, my disability is now invisible. Nobody would ever know I had a disability unless I disclosed it to them or showed them my medical records (or they knew me before age 12). Given that there obviously is tremendous discrimination against people with disabilities, would it make things worse to disclose this on my app if no one would know otherwise?

At the application level, they want to bring in interesting people. At the professional level, they want low risk.


So as long as I don't talk about it in job applications, it should be fine?



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