City law firms also encouraged to run more part-time training contracts
A diversity and inclusion advisor to The Law Society of England and Wales has called on law firms to set aside places on their vacation schemes and training contracts for disabled candidates.
Chris Seel, an experienced solicitor of 24 years, said:
“We are encouraging firms and organisations to reserve places for disabled people on their work experience and on their training [contracts] and qualifying work experience. The current position is so bad and so not inclusive that it justifies that kind of action.”
Legal Cheek understands that some City law firms already set aside training contract places for disabled candidates.
Seel made the comments during a webinar on the effect of COVID-19 on disabled solicitors.
He went on to say that major law firms should run more part-time training contracts. These are authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, he said, but there’s been very little uptake among the City’s big players. “With the big firms, very often it takes one or two of them to do something and then it gets taken up by the others,” Seel said.
Seel’s comments come after research by the Legally Disabled? project, found in 2018 that many disabled wannabe lawyers are being blocked from entering the legal profession due to “poorly equipped” recruitment processes — particularly at interview stage.