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Supporting Disabled People to Bring Their Talents To The Legal Profession

View profile for Gemma Beer
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In September 2019, Gemma Beer, a Trainee Solicitor with JCP’s Medical Negligence team, was proud to accept a Committee Member position with the Lawyers with Disabilities Division of the Law Society.

Gemma is also a Regional Representative for the Scoliosis Association UK. Here she talks about the importance of ensuring people with disabilities are able to negotiate a clear route into the legal profession, and the importance of valuing their contribution.

What is The Law Society?

The Law Society is the independent professional body for Solicitors which has a number of demographic and practice-based communities within it. These include divisions for Junior Lawyers, Lawyers with Disabilities (LDD), Work in Wales, Ethnic Minority Lawyers, and others.

Gemma recently became a Committee Member of the Lawyers with Disabilities Division after taking part in the Legally Disabled? Research Project. Members of the LDD include law students, paralegals, practising and retired Solicitors, and law lecturers, with a varying range of disabilities including physical impairments and medical conditions that aren’t as immediately apparent.

Lawyers with Disabilities Division of the Law Society

The LDD celebrates its 30th anniversary in December 2019 and its mission continues to be to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities within the legal profession. The LDD encourages lawyers to support and champion aspiring Solicitors and colleagues keen to progress within the legal sector.

Legally Disabled Research Project

Funded by the National Lottery, The Legally Disabled? Research Project aims to produce the first large-scale evidence-based research on the career experiences of disabled people across the legal profession in Wales and England.

This independent research project, run by Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, and in partnership with a key independent researcher and the LDD, has examined the career experiences of people within the legal profession, retired from it, or aspiring to join it. The project has unearthed both positive and negative findings, and issues that need to be given closer attention, including:

  • Work experience opportunities for disabled graduates
  • Employment opportunities for disabled graduates
  • Training contracts for disabled people wishing to join the profession
  • Working conditions which may help or hinder career progression for people with disabilities                                                 

The final Legally Disabled? report will discuss the experiences of disabled legal professionals and present recommendations which employers and professional bodies will be invited to implement, to create a more accessible and inclusive environment for disabled people in the profession.

A Legally Disabled? Project conference will gather on Friday 24 January 2020, designed to start a wider conversation about disability, to share the research findings, and to highlight the day-to-day realities for disabled people within the workplace. It is hoped this will prompt change for the future regarding policy and workplace practice.

For more information about the LDD please click here.

For more information about the Legally Disabled? Research Project please click here.

For more information about the conference please click here.

Predominantly based in our Cardiff office, Gemma is a promising Trainee Solicitor who is progressing through her training contract here at JCP. Gemma is currently in her fourth seat within our Injury Services team.