Broken infra red systems

The personal experience of a US deaf attorney when equipment in the courtroom does not work, is highlighted in Blind Insight.

An extract:

Then began the worst part of the experience: because I was facing my opponent’s back, I could barely understand a word he said. I’m sure I looked comical leaning halfway over the counsel table, straining to catch the gist of his argument, and I was afraid to blink for fear of missing something crucial. But lucky for me, the panel seemed to be leaning my way, and the judges triple-teamed the government lawyer with one hostile question after another. Because I could see the judges’ faces, I was able to understand most of their questions and could anticipate much of what my opponent likely said in response.

Go over there and read the rest of the post, as I think its an issue a lot of hard of hearing lawyers could relate to. The blog is worthy of adding to your RSS feed.

Personally I have not used infra red or loop systems for over a decade, because I am not able to gain any benefit from them. Now if an interpreter didn’t show up, I would request for the hearing to be deferred, and I would be quite blunt about this. There would be little room for negotiation, and sometimes I wonder if this can be a difference in Deaf and hard of hearing people?

However, the account completely stirred previous emotions in me, and the struggle to get by. Firstly, the terror attached to mooting and debating at university, and that wasn’t a real life situation, but enough to send fear through me. I would just simply get by by guessing, and it did often go wrong. The emotions described in Madeline’s post, just brought it all spinning back. Secondly, when I used to work in courts with clients, and pushing yourself to the limit to ensure you did not jeopardise the client’s situation.

A lot of this had something to do with confidence. I do not mean general confidence, but confidence in being sure of who you were, and the confidence relating to asserting your needs. This is something that is neglected, and crucial in terms of survival.

California Bar

California Bar, Several Projects on Lawyers with Disabilities

Survey of Legal Professionals with Disabilities

In 2003, The California State Bar Committee on Lawyers with Disabilities undertook a survey of legal professionals in the state. One hundred and fifty attorneys responded to the survey. The results are reported online in the August 2004 edition of the California Bar Journal. The California Bar website is

Discovery abuses

This State Bar Committee on Lawyers with Disabilities is also seeking to document failures to provide accommodations during the discovery process.
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Counsel Journal

counselmagazine.jpgThis website has just been mentioned in the Counsel. Counsel is the Journal of the Bar of England and Wales.

Unfortunately the header is titled ‘aurally impaired’ which is a new one. Personally I detest any label relating to impairment, as it has undertones of damaged goods, as opposed to the celebration of diversity. The Press Release that went out was clear that we wanted to be referred to as Deaf. Sometimes I wonder whether people change such language, because they are trying to be politically correct, and having the opposite of the intended effect.

That aside, this is good publicity for this site, and we hope we can attract more members plus interest because of it. If not, at least make a statement that we are out there.