Hearing-impaired, apply to diversity programs at firms?

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Hearing-impaired, apply to diversity programs at firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:22 pm

I'm a 0L here heading to law school this August, but I'm wondering if people with experiences in this area could help me out with my situation. Before I take crap for posting anonymously, I've posted a lot elsewhere about which school I'm heading to this fall, and I'm pretty sure the following information would out me almost immediately. Anyways, here goes:

I was born with severe hearing loss in both ears, and I have worn an outside-the-ear hearing aid since age 3. After reading through this: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/deafness.html I'm pretty sure I qualify as disabled under the ADA.

IRL, I get by fine (I've never really needed accommodations in school, I just position myself in the front of the class and I'm fine), but I'm wondering if I can take advantage of applying to diversity programs at firms. How can/should I go about this?

I know there are diversity fairs and whatnot, but should I be concerned with how this would appear? (I'm a white male, but my hearing aid is somewhat visible if I turn my head). FWIW, I'm also facially asymmetrical and have had about 40 surgeries or so to correct this, but not sure if that's really a disability or just special snowflake unique.

Any thoughts and relevant experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thank you fellow TLS-ers.

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Re: Hearing-impaired, apply to diversity programs at firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:26 pm

There are disability fairs. Definitely look into those! The facial surgeries are not a disability or diversity factor, but it does make for good story that will help you stand out. I think it would depend on the specific program/fair for whether or not it would count as diversity. There's a NALP box for checking number of attorneys/summers with disabilities, so it should help some.

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Re: Hearing-impaired, apply to diversity programs at firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:08 pm

So do you think that being in a wheelchair could be a similar positive factor? I haven't been able to fully figure out if there would be any hiring bump for disability as part of a diversity metric.

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Re: Hearing-impaired, apply to diversity programs at firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:54 pm


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Re: Hearing-impaired, apply to diversity programs at firms?

Postby NALSWD » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:38 pm


My name is Amelia Wallrich- also known as NALSWD - I'm a 2L at Northwestern and the current Membership Director for the National Association of Law Students With Disabilities. I've found NALSWD to be a fantastic resource for career contacts, accommodations advice, and connecting with other law students facing similar challenges. I'm reaching out to you because by searching the TLS forum, your screen name came up as someone mentioning or identifying as having a disability*.

The National Association of Law Students With Disabilities (NALSWD) is a coalition of law students dedicated to disability advocacy and the achievement of equal access, inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination in legal education and in the legal profession. NALSWD aims to support the growing number of law students with disabilities by providing mentors, studying and survival tips for law school, and career advice for the legal profession. The future success of NALSWD depends on the active participation of law students with disabilities.

We at NALSWD are currently working hard to expand our membership and welcome new members at all levels of involvement, from merely joining our monthly e-newsletter to working on advocacy initiatives to running for one of NALSWD's executive board positions. Students with all types of disabilities, both obvious and invisible, and from the full range of functional limitations are invited to join! From diabetes to carpal tunnel to spinal injuries to learning disabilities, sensory impairments, chronic illnesses, mental or emotional impairments; really any biologically based challenge that forces you to work harder to do things other people get to take for granted.

Law school is already hard enough, NALSWD exists to help those of us who have to work even harder to find the resources, opportunities, and support to help level the playing field.

If you are interested in joining or would just like to learn more about our organization, what we offer, and the many ways of becoming involved in NALSWD,

You can find further information at our website: http://www.nalswd.org/

Where you can also sign up for our mailing list and/or to become a NALSWD member (free to join): http://www.nalswd.org/membership.html

Or you can also connect with us through our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/4173468419/

In addition, NALSWD has launched a FAQ guide for law school applicants with disabilities! http://www.nalswd.org/resources.html The guide covers how to decide if you should disclose your disability, how best to do so, things to look for in law schools, etc. It's our first official effort tackling the topic, so we welcome comments and suggestions for other topics the guide should cover. If you would like to help us revise and expand this or our other publications, we welcome volunteers.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Amelia Wallrich, Membership Director, at nalswd.membership@gmail.com, or Patrick Dennis, President of NALSWD, at nalswd.president@gmail.com!

"When people with disabilities come to the conclusion that they have the right to be in the community, to have a say in how that community treats them, they are beginning to develop a consciousness about taking control of their lives and resisting all attempts to give others that control." - Ed Roberts

We hope you will consider joining NALSWD and aiding us in making the legal profession more accessible and inclusive!


Amelia Wallrich, Membership Director of the National Association of Law Students With Disabilities

*I of course can't tell who you are in real life, so apologies if I am misinformed, you are no longer pursuing law school, or if you happen to already be a member. We're just trying hard to reach out to people who might benefit from our organization and given confidentiality concerns, semi-anonymous contacts through listhosts like TLS are often the only way we can contact students directly.

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