Disabled Lawyers and Law Students Forum

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Disabled Lawyers and Law Students

Post by tlsadmin3 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:45 pm

Share experiences and seek insight regarding your experience as a disabled lawyer, law student, or prospective applicant, or create a new thread.


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Re: Disabled Lawyers and Law Students

Post by AuthorDWRandolph » Sat Dec 24, 2022 1:14 am

Unfortunately there's still a lot of work to be done in terms of the way that attorneys with disabilities are treated, versus attorneys without disabilities, in Big Law firms. There are increasingly more attorneys with disabilities, and more employee resource groups for such attorneys, in Big Law, but there's still a long way to go.

To cite a few examples:
- I know of a Big Law attorney based in NYC who uses a wheelchair. His practice group planned a recruiting event outside the firm for the summer associates and attorneys in the practice group. The event was at an older building with a small door and only stairs for access. NYC is notoriously unfriendly/un-accommodating to wheelchair users. The staff at the firm planning the event knew that the attorney used a wheelchair and that the attorney planned to attend the event. Still, no one planning the event thought to check ahead to make sure that the wheelchair could fit through the door or that there was a wheelchair ramp to access the event. The attorney got to the event and couldn't get in the door.
- I know of another Big Law attorney who is hearing-impaired. The firm had an annual get-together attended by almost all of the firm's attorneys. It was widely known that the attorney was hearing-impaired, and yet the firm didn't make arrangements for an ASL interpreter or closed captioning for the speakers.
- I know of another Big Law attorney who was missing part of a limb, but because they used a prosthetic and it wasn't an easily visible disability, didn't seem to be treated any differently (i.e., worse) than other attorneys at their experience level without disabilities.

In my experience: (i) attorneys with certain disabilities that can "pass" as though they do not have disabilities (i.e., with non-visible disabilities) have an easier time in Big Law than attorneys with visible disabilities; and (ii) Big Law firms love to be able to count attorneys with disabilities among their diverse attorneys for purposes of diversity and NALP reporting, but oftentimes don't put sufficient thought or effort into accommodations or support for them to enable them to feel welcome and supported, and to enable them to succeed.

D.W. Randolph, author of the book Big Law Confidential

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Re: Disabled Lawyers and Law Students

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 05, 2023 2:55 pm

It's my understanding from just law school, that BigLaw is not accessible for many dealing with disabilities because of the hours. For me, with chronic conditions that involve fatigue, I know that even if I get hired through traditional channels or as part of a diversity hire, the hours expectations will be the same, and that's unsustainable and unhealthy (even for people who start out healthy--see the problems with mental health in law). Until BigLaw decides that its hours expectations should be more like 1600, or that billables aren't the way to assess work value, disabled people like me aren't going to apply--visible or invisible. My goal isn't to use every second I have off from work to sleep, nor is it to die at my desk, so BigLaw is just inaccessable period.

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