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The Case for 'Disability Diversity'

What can law firms do to promote hiring and retention of lawyers with disabilities? A report published yesterday by the Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law of the American Bar Association recommends a series of "best practices" legal employers should follow. The report of the National Conference on the Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of disabled lawyers and sets out the case for "disability diversity" within the legal profession. It then offers a set of steps law firms should take to promote the numbers of lawyers with disabilities within their ranks. Among them:

  • Form a committee to communicate the business case for diversity.
  • Have senior partners take the lead.
  • Conduct an internal audit.
  • Develop a clear plan for diversity and "promote it loudly."
  • Mandate top-down training.
  • Provide reasonable accomodations.

The report suggests that the legal profession lags behind in making itself open to lawyers with disabilities. "We have taken significant steps in making our profession more open to women, to persons of color, and to those who come from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds," it says. "We must now take similar first steps on behalf of lawyers with disabilities."

The full, 79-page report can be downloaded here in PDF format.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 14, 2006 at 03:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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