Do law firms care about disability?

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Do law firms care about disability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:18 pm

I truly apologize if this is a dumb question. Will being disabled ever be an "edge" in firm hiring? Is it something I should be disclosing on applications?

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:34 pm

Honestly, they would probably ding you for it. I'm sure their official position is that they welcome disabled employees, but I imagine that anything impeding you from operating at 100% will be viewed very negatively. It seems like firms stack their clerical / office positions with diverse candidates so they can check the box showing they care, but when it comes to their billers they want the most able candidates they can get, even if that means hiring nothing but white ivy leaguers.

All the best in your search, just giving you a blunt answer from my anecdotal experience at a firm.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:44 pm

No, you will not be advantaged. Though I do believe whether it would hurt you depends on the type. For example, if you have one leg, well, that won't impact your ability to be an attorney and your outcomes will probably be about the same. If you have bipolar disorder, well, a law firm will likely be reticent about hiring you. That is disability discrimination (assuming you are capable of performing the essential functions of the position), and all employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate, but this is the real world and I would think twice about hiring you.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:40 pm

It depends on the disability. The truth is that diversity initiatives are often responsive to client demands. You will often see a firm have 1 black or 2 black attorneys in a 100 attorney office, and then prop the one black lawyer all over their marketing materials. If you're in a wheelchair or something that will make them look good from afar then great. If you have multiple sclerosis, are hearing impaired or any other disability then you're likely to be dinged so should hide it until people get to know you. It's important to keep in mind that almost everyone you'd be disclosing your disability to will have little knowledge of anything outside their limited area of expertise, including your disability and will (likely unintentionally) interpret it as something that will preclude you from fitting in.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby bearsfan23 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, they would probably ding you for it. I'm sure their official position is that they welcome disabled employees, but I imagine that anything impeding you from operating at 100% will be viewed very negatively. It seems like firms stack their clerical / office positions with diverse candidates so they can check the box showing they care, but when it comes to their billers they want the most able candidates they can get, even if that means hiring nothing but white ivy not leaguers.

All the best in your search, just giving you a blunt answer from my anecdotal experience at a firm.


This is complete bullshit and you're a terrible person for giving this advice.

Not only is discriminating against disabled persons a violation of the law, being "disabled" doesn't mean you can't bill/do the work. There are plenty of disabled lawyers who get along fine with simple accommodations.

Instead of being an anon coward, out yourself and your firm so people know where to avoid

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:20 am

It depends on the disability. I've had friends who have struck out because they had a mild disability that made them somewhat weird in interviews, perhaps causing speech impediments, or weird spasms, or even having an eye issues. These problems can hinder you because the interviewer doesn't perceive a disability, they see "some weirdo".

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby TheoO » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:It depends on the disability. I've had friends who have struck out because they had a mild disability that made them somewhat weird in interviews, perhaps causing speech impediments, or weird spasms, or even having an eye issues. These problems can hinder you because the interviewer doesn't perceive a disability, they see "some weirdo".


Accidental anon.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:32 am

The only disabilities that employers/law schools care about are the ones that put you in the "diversity" category. Otherwise, your disability is likely to work against you if you pre-disclose it.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby cjw564 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:37 am

bearsfan23 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, they would probably ding you for it. I'm sure their official position is that they welcome disabled employees, but I imagine that anything impeding you from operating at 100% will be viewed very negatively. It seems like firms stack their clerical / office positions with diverse candidates so they can check the box showing they care, but when it comes to their billers they want the most able candidates they can get, even if that means hiring nothing but white ivy not leaguers.

All the best in your search, just giving you a blunt answer from my anecdotal experience at a firm.


This is complete bullshit and you're a terrible person for giving this advice.

Not only is discriminating against disabled persons a violation of the law, being "disabled" doesn't mean you can't bill/do the work. There are plenty of disabled lawyers who get along fine with simple accommodations.

Instead of being an anon coward, out yourself and your firm so people know where to avoid


You can pretend discrimination doesn't exist, but it does - as far as it being illegal, why do you think the hiring process is so obscure? Also, many disabilities do impede your bodily functions and make you less likely (although not impossible) to bill as many hours as people without. As an example, if you are in a wheelchair, people need to budget more time to wait for you to get from point A to point B and that comes out of billable hours. Firms could definitely accommodate many disabilities, but it is an added cost to them and to say that disability is not an impediment under most circumstances is one of those social justice fairy tales that will not go far in the private sector.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:22 am

OP here. My disability is actually missing both legs- but using prosthetics so I function as close to normal as possible. You can't tell unless you see me in shorts, and I'm a guy so I don't have to worry about dresses/skirts. Thanks for the opinions, all.

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. My disability is actually missing both legs- but using prosthetics so I function as close to normal as possible. You can't tell unless you see me in shorts, and I'm a guy so I don't have to worry about dresses/skirts. Thanks for the opinions, all.

Can't tell if serious.

Afaik if you can sit behind a computer monitor for 10 hours a day and type, you should be good to go unless you're in PI (i.e., in court all day).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:36 am

bearsfan23 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, they would probably ding you for it. I'm sure their official position is that they welcome disabled employees, but I imagine that anything impeding you from operating at 100% will be viewed very negatively. It seems like firms stack their clerical / office positions with diverse candidates so they can check the box showing they care, but when it comes to their billers they want the most able candidates they can get, even if that means hiring nothing but white ivy not leaguers.

All the best in your search, just giving you a blunt answer from my anecdotal experience at a firm.


This is complete bullshit and you're a terrible person for giving this advice.

Not only is discriminating against disabled persons a violation of the law, being "disabled" doesn't mean you can't bill/do the work. There are plenty of disabled lawyers who get along fine with simple accommodations.

Instead of being an anon coward, out yourself and your firm so people know where to avoid

You're absolutely right that there are plenty of disabled lawyers who can absolutely do the work. That doesn't mean law firms won't discriminate against them, though, depending on what the disability is.

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elendinel

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Re: Do law firms care about disability?

Postby elendinel » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:37 am

bearsfan23 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, they would probably ding you for it. I'm sure their official position is that they welcome disabled employees, but I imagine that anything impeding you from operating at 100% will be viewed very negatively. It seems like firms stack their clerical / office positions with diverse candidates so they can check the box showing they care, but when it comes to their billers they want the most able candidates they can get, even if that means hiring nothing but white ivy not leaguers.

All the best in your search, just giving you a blunt answer from my anecdotal experience at a firm.


This is complete bullshit and you're a terrible person for giving this advice.

Not only is discriminating against disabled persons a violation of the law, being "disabled" doesn't mean you can't bill/do the work. There are plenty of disabled lawyers who get along fine with simple accommodations.

Instead of being an anon coward, out yourself and your firm so people know where to avoid


It is BS from a philosophical standpoint, but it's also naive to think that all firms are going to welcome people with disabilities with open arms, or that it'll be easy for sue for discrimination. A lot of employers of all types will (unfairly) assume that disabled = person can't do work as efficiently as someone not disabled, and they will hire accordingly. They rarely care enough about a candidate applying for a job, to want to provide even simple accommodations. They will likely ding you for have certain disabilities (especially mental disabilities), and you won't be able to prove that's why you were dropped (they can just say "you weren't a good fit"), so the fact that it's illegal to do so will be meaningless. That is just a reality people have to deal with.

So I'd also say that it's generally a bad idea to disclose most disabilities to employers prior to being hired. It's not going to help you at all, unless you're a decorated Army vet who lost a limb and is going into a firm that is known to be supportive of vets, etc. And in some circumstances, it will bar you from the job (i.e., don't tell Skadden you need a special office because you get anxiety attacks sometimes).



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