How Lawyers with Disabilities Make Our Justice System Better
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and this year’s observance of this important event is particularly special: It’s the 75th such observance, and it coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. At LSAC, we’re committed to helping people from all backgrounds, including those with disabilities, pursue their dreams of legal education and add their diverse voices to our justice system.
To mark this occasion, LSAC partnered with the American Bar Association to produce a video about why law firms and other organizations should hire lawyers with disabilities. The video, recorded remotely via Zoom, includes a variety of people with disabilities who are involved in law and legal education.
As one advocate notes in the video, lawyers with disabilities often can use their unique perspectives to approach problems in creative ways. Evita, a recent law graduate with mild cerebral palsy, notes that people with disabilities “are known for being innovative and creative because we’re used to the world not always being accessible to us, so we have to improvise and come up with our own solutions.”
Jared, a deaf law professional, adds in the video that his disability forces him to be more attentive and focus intently on what is being said in the courtroom or in other legal settings. And Angelica, a law school fellow who is neurodiverse, says she is able to see the world in a much different way from the average person and thus better empathize with other people and be more creative when solving problems.
At LSAC, we know how much better our justice system functions when it reflects the people it serves, so having lawyers with disabilities in that system is crucial. To that end, we offer extensive disability accommodations for the LSAT, and those efforts are continuing as we administer the LSAT-Flex during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also are committed to ensuring that the LSAT is free of bias against any group, including those with disabilities. In this way, we can ensure that anyone who wants to add their voice to our legal system gets a fair shot.
The U.S. Department of Labor has made “Increasing Access and Opportunity” the theme of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and LSAC joins the ABA and our partner law schools in renewing our commitment to promoting access and opportunity for law school candidates and lawyers with disabilities. We need these diverse voices in the legal profession as we pursue our goal of giving every member of our society access to justice.