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    Hi everyone,

    Having recently developed health issues that require me to work from home quite often, I would like to connect with disabled law students/trainees/practitioners.

    About myself: I have a degree in law and over five years` worth of work experience in the publishing field and the legal field (mostly international commercial law). I am fluent in four languages, which has enabled me to also work as a freelance legal translator.

    My goal is to secure a training contract and qualify as a solicitor, however I am aware it is near impossible to be considered in my situation, as my health would require me to work from home most of the time (at least for the foreseeable future).

    Naturally, I have researched law firms that are committed to equality at the workplace, but so far have not found a fitting law firm. I would love to hear any of your experiences coping with health issues and the struggles of qualifying and working as a legal practitioner. Any job leads would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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    (Original post by m4n5m7o)
    Hi everyone,

    Having recently developed health issues that require me to work from home quite often, I would like to connect with disabled law students/trainees/practitioners.

    About myself: I have a degree in law and over five years` worth of work experience in the publishing field and the legal field (mostly international commercial law). I am fluent in four languages, which has enabled me to also work as a freelance legal translator.

    My goal is to secure a training contract and qualify as a solicitor, however I am aware it is near impossible to be considered in my situation, as my health would require me to work from home most of the time (at least for the foreseeable future).

    Naturally, I have researched law firms that are committed to equality at the workplace, but so far have not found a fitting law firm. I would love to hear any of your experiences coping with health issues and the struggles of qualifying and working as a legal practitioner. Any job leads would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    Imo the best hit would be local authorities who may be ore switched on to an equality outlook. I can see working at home is going to be very difficulty for private practices., especially for a trainee.

    Have you contacted the Lawyers with disabilities group at the Law Society?
    Networking would help you get a better picture and feel less alone.

    http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support...ties-division/
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    Another option is civil service as a solicitor, very open to working from home and the equality side of things.
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    I was a freelance legal translator and now work in a gov. role! Unfortunately my experience is not entirely sunny, since the time getting my qualifications took, my issues had improved enough that I could work in an office regularly.

    I think the main hurdle is going to be the training contract. montyr is right that the civil service is very supportive about disability issues, but even they will want you to be present a majority of the time for a TC. Is it possible to bypass the TC with further study? For the bar you can apply to start straight at your 2nd six if you've got a long academic career, so that might help employers if they feel you won't need as much supervision.
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    I think the best bet is to speak to firms that you might be interested in targeting. GLS are bound by the public sector equality duty, they’ll also have guaranteed interview scheme for people classified as disabled. A lot of departments now enforce working from home as well, MoJ for example make everyone work from home two days per week. This is because of cuts and the resulting sell off of buildings...

    Arrangements may be slightly different on a training contract, but I’d have thought it’s your best bet. Not sure if it’s possible to do it part time and qualify over a longer period if that might help? Would be arguable as a reasonable adjustment.
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    Your difficulty, I suspect, will be the training contract. During that time you sit with a more senior lawyer and absorb their wisdom by osmosis and practically assisting them with their work. If you can't do that then you basically miss out on the training.

    Is there any other adjustment that could be used to enable you to attend at the workplace instead of working from home, whilst still helping you to overcome your medical condition?
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    montyr, thank you for suggesting civil service. I had not considered it, but it certainly seems they are more accepting of the disabled from what I have read. But I read a work experience from someone who did a 3-year placement in civil service and work hours were 8 AM-6 PM. At the moment, I would not be able to manage that.

    Though they are a minority, I have heard about people qualifying after part-time work, mostly in the context of being a mother and raising kids, while working and studying part-time. It takes longer to qualify, but once you have your foot in a law firm, it can be done. (Such as having already worked for a law firm as a paralegal before being hired as a trainee on a part-time basis)


    Things may change for the better for me when the new regulations come into force sometime after 2020 and more law firms will be able to offer placements for people to qualify as solicitors.

    monokurobuu, glad to hear it can be done. I am happy you were able to work. Certainly, the main hurdle will be managing the workload full-time during the TC.

    crumpet, you are completely right. The point of the TC is to learn from the senior-level solicitors. I have managed to work full-time for a couple months for a law firm (my health declined substantially during that time) and I did notice the progress I made in such a short amount of time, due to being exposed to many areas and experiencing the ups and downs of real-life law firm work, including client meetings. It remains questionable whether assignments given during TC can be done from home. I am used to working on my own and forging my way through new areas, but I understand I would miss out on a big chunk of guidance and support that regular trainees receive. I could certainly do paralegal-type work and research (I already work part-time as a research assistant for a lawyer) from home, but I suspect that kind of work does not meet the requirements to qualify.
    Once I get better, I do think there is a lot I can do to manage my condition, such as avoiding standing for longer periods of time and trying to avoid sensory overload by using headphones. One major issue I have is that mornings are usually problematic, in terms of circulation, so getting in early may always remain a problem. Then there are always days when despite trying everything to get up and going, nothing works, which is extremely frustrating. However, I have fought very hard to complete my education when I became sick and managed somehow, despite many sacrifices, so I do think I can do it again to complete a TC. However I also realize hiring me results in a risk on the employer, which makes me uncomfortable. I want to bring my best and not be a burden.

    For now, I am going to make a list of law firms that may be willing to hire someone in my situation. I will apply to be considered as an intern first, with the goal of eventually being considered for a TC.
    I asked some human rights law offices about an internship. They were unable to consider me, as they did not have the capacity to allow telecommuting and they advised me against the field, as the work involves unforeseeable hours.
    So I am looking into fields like corporate taxes, as these seem to have more regular work hours. (but please correct me if I am wrong)

    Any suggestions on what other types of law firms and practice areas I should target would be highly appreciated. Thank you again for all your input, everyone.
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    I’ve worked in several different departments and all have had flexible working arrangements in place. Hours are 36 hours per week, sometimes I’ve had to work late but have always got the time in lieu. Civil service is extremely flexible and takes reasonable adjustments very seriously, so if you couldn’t work long hours you wouldn’t have to.

    I’m not sure about the details of your condition but another thing to be aware of is access to work, which is available to pay for the costs of reasonable adjustments, whether that’s a scribe, specific equipment or even transport to and from work.

    We have several disabled people working here, several in the legal team who regularly work
    from home, but I don’t think training contracts are available (I’m an economist at a social regulator).

    My boss is based in another part of the country so tend to catch up over VC or phone. Admittedly I’m not on a training contract (or even a lawyer) but I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of overcoming the barriers.
 
 
 
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