Work Placement Scheme

We are pleased to announce the launch of our work placement scheme, in partnership with RAD Deaf Law Centre.

If you’re thinking about a career in law, there’s no better way to gain an insight than a work experience placement.

Deaf Lawyers UK recognises the need to provide opportunities for work placements for members of Deaf Lawyers UK as part of their development and also for them to gain an understanding of life working within the law, and is the best way to get a ‘real’ appreciation of the organisation, culture, services and people.

To this end, we are developing partnerships with law firms and other legal service providers to offer work placements, starting with RAD Deaf Law Centre.

Mentoring Scheme

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Mentoring Scheme for Deaf law students at whatever stage of the legal profession they find themselves in: starting out with a LLB or Graduate Diploma in Law, having completed the Legal Practice Course, or searching for a training contract.

About mentoring

For a Deaf law student mentoring can be defined as a one to one relationship in which an individual experienced in the profession (the mentor) offers their experience to support and encourage the other (the mentee) to enter and progress in the profession of a solicitor or barrister.

The relationship will often develop at a period of transition for the mentee, for instance during progression from one academic course to another, from an academic course to a training contract and so on.

The role of the mentor

A mentor will be able to teach the “tricks of the trade” which they have learnt through practical experience. Advice can be given on areas of practice, CVs, application forms, application strategy, interview preparation and career progression.

A mentor can in effect act as a role model for students, learning how a Deaf lawyer copes with the problems of day to day practice can give reassurance, instil confidence and can provide practical guidance whilst providing the student with a confident, informal peer, counsellor and sounding board.

Applying for a mentor

If you are a Deaf law student and you feel that you would benefit from a mentor please complete the enquiry form here.

The law is an ass

This post was originally featured on North of the Stupid Line.

RAD Deaf Law Centre’s stint the Solicitors Group Law 2012 was a real eye opener for me this week. An event that took place over 3 days, I was there with RAD colleagues for 2.

The conclusion I came to after my second day (Day 3) was that I am ashamed to be a part of the legal profession. Yes, you read right. Ashamed.

For such a well-educated profession, solicitors and barristers can be really stupid when it comes to Deaf people.

One solicitor asked me “how did you pass your exams?” after staring at me in shock for a few seconds when I told her I was a solicitor myself.

Another solicitor said to his colleague: “can you sign?!” when approached by us to discuss our services, suggesting that he thought we were naive enough to try and attend an event and use “sign” without any interpretation and try to communicate with delegates that way.

We had a lot of brush offs and “not interested, thank you”. Granted. we weren’t the only exhibitors to get that sort of response, but you’d have thought solicitors and barristers would have been polite, open-minded and friendly, all good skills for a professional who deals with clients every day. One even said: “I don’t want THAT”.

Needless to say, the attitudes of most made Jeff, Laura, Daniel and myself (and the interpreters) feel uncomfortable, at least initially, but as we were selling our services, couldn’t very well tell them what we thought. Words bandied around by the team included “snobbish”, “ignorant”, “unprofessional”.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. Many’s attitude changed when they realised after listening to our sales pitch that there may be money in Deaf people after all, all in the name of making the law work for Deaf people (!).

So. I’m part of this profession. It was certainly an experience.