Law Absolute - Recruitment specialists

Legal sector lacking in support for disabled candidates

20th July 2018

Recent research conducted by the Legally Disabled? project has found that legal practises are ill-equipped when it comes to supporting disabled candidates.

The research, undertaken in a focus group of disabled legal professionals, was conducted by Professor Debbie Foster at Cardiff University along with researcher Natasha Hirst. The findings highlight the difficulties disabled candidates face in legal recruitment, particularly the interview process.

According to Legal Cheek, “The legal profession continues to operate “inflexible” and often “outdated” working practices, which in turn limits access opportunities and career progression for disabled people.”

The research, which is still being undertaken, has suggested that disabled lawyers-to-be are an ‘untapped resource’, and that candidates are often put off disclosing their disabilities for fear of discrimination by firms. The results also suggest that positive support, attitudes and reasonable adjustments are few and far between, and were described as a ‘lottery’.

Professor Debbie Foster claims there is too much focus on getting disabled people into employment, but not enough to assist them in the process. “Much research and social policy is concerned with getting disabled people off benefits and into entry-level employment. There is limited aspiration to support disabled professionals to progress their careers or return to high-quality work after time out.”

“Not enough is known about the experiences of disabled people in professional occupations.” Says the Legally Disabled? website. “They are largely absent in academic research, their presence, seemingly unexpected. The premise of this project is that disabled people are both ambitious and talented, however, they need to be ‘seen’ and ‘expected’.”

To keep up-to-date with the project, or to express your interest in being interviewed for any ongoing research, visit the Legally Disabled? website.