Application forms, application forms, and yet more application forms.

I’ve spent 5 years in uni, and I’m going to do another 2 years from September doing a LLM. Why? Just so I can fill out application forms, application forms, and yet more applications forms.

In the past two weeks I have submitted 16 application forms to various firms in London and Wales. I’ve also been applying for paralegal jobs too.

I moan, but I can’t imagine NOT being a solicitor. It’s been a dream of mine since I was 14 years old. It’s not gonna go away. I need to know if I can do it. I know I can do it. I just need someone to give me the opportunity.

Am I being discriminated against cos I’m Deaf? I don’t know. I suspect I am, but I couldn’t possibly prove it. Perhaps now I’ve got more experience under my belt, firms will start to give me interviews. Plus now I’m not declaring my deafness straight out. I don’t mention it if they don’t ask, and if Equal Monitoring Forms ask, I put it down saying “Deaf, require communication support”. Short and simple. If they ask me for interview, then I’ll tell them the full story. They shouldn’t be deciding on whether to give me an interview based on my disability anyway.

I’ve had some interesting questions lately. The one that sticks out most in my mind is “Which film role would you choose and why?” Whoa! I just said I would want to be Andy Dufresne in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. He is an amazing character, resilient and strong.

Please God, give me a chance.

Training contracts

An open letter to the legal profession:

To the Legal Profession:

Having completed the LPC at Cardiff Law School last summer, I am searching for that ever elusive training contract so that I can become perhaps the 6th or 7th deaf person to qualify in the UK. My preferred specialism is Employment Law, and I obtained 65% in my LPC Employment elective.

Since finishing the Legal Practice Course (LPC), I have been employed as an Advice Worker for the Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD). I conduct casework within the boundaries of the CLS Quality Mark in employment, immigration, debt and welfare benefit matters for deaf clients. I am also a volunteer advisor for Wandsworth & Merton Law Centre assisting solicitors with Employment Tribunal casework for RAD clients. I have drafted letters and documentation such as Lists of Documents and Schedules of Losses, as well as exchanged Lists as part of the disclosure process. I am committed to a career in the legal profession.

I have broad IT competence, ranging from the use of all versions of Microsoft Windows although I am familiar with most of the popular office applications (and have the ability to get up to speed very rapidly with new applications). I am also able to develop web services, including graphical, coding and editorial activities.

I have demonstrated through a range of activities I am able to work effectively both individually and as a member of a team. My teamwork skills are evident in the way I have dealt with the ratification of a new constitution during my Chairmanship of the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities, which required pulling together the Committee to commit to one specific goal. I can work individually, evident in my current role at RAD where I have had to work with the minimum of supervision, and in interviewing clients and representing at tribunals.

This is the third year I have sent countless application forms in the hope that a law firm will at least give me an interview and thereafter a training contract. I have applied to the large firms in the City, medium sized firms, high street practices and law centres. In three years I have only had three interviews, numerous rejection letters and even more non-responses.

In my mind, I sometimes wonder whether my deafness poses a barrier to progressing further in the legal profession. Any assistance you can provide would very much appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from you when I will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Wilks