We noticed right away when we started auditing the top 20 US law firms that none of them used the acronym DEIA and that accessibility wasn’t addressed in any of the reports, statistics or content on their website.
Ableism is an epidemic and law firms aren’t immune. It may seem unnecessary or overwhelming (or both at the same time) to incorporate accessibility into your firm’s operations. The truth is that almost every team has someone with a disability (remember that not all of them are visible!) and there are countless opportunities to address accessibility in meaningful ways.
Here are three ways to incorporate accessibility into your DEI strategy:
Representation: If your team doesn’t include people with visible disabilities, you may think it’s not relevant to you. There’s value in shining a light on the range of disabilities—not the least of which is that you may learn that there are plenty of attorneys and staff with invisible disabilities. It’s also worth considering why there are so few people with visible disabilities.
Representation in programming and marketing is a good way to signal awareness and inclusion, and a great first action towards creating a more open culture. Here are some ideas:
- Start an inclusion network to support people with disabilities and chronic illness.
- Host educational programming about the spectrum of disabilities.
- Invite speakers with disabilities to keynote major events.
- Include imagery of disabled people in recruiting campaigns.
Recruiting: There’s a lot of focus on creating pipelines for people of the global majority, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and veterans. But programs designed to lift up people with disabilities are rare. You can do all of the same things for students with disabilities:
- Get involved in education initiatives at local schools
- Sponsor career readiness programs
- Fund scholarships
- Offer internships
- Create mentorship opportunities
Accommodations: You can make your workplace functional for people with disabilities by redesigning formats, supports and structures with their needs in mind:
- Hire an expert to audit your website and make sure it’s compliant with the latest and compatible with assistive technology. (Do not rely on software or checklists as these tend to fail to catch real-world issues.)
- Create remote work roles for people who are homebound or for whom daily commutes would be an undue burden.
- Make sure all your videos have closed captions (reviewed by a human)
- Invite ASL interpreters to events where Deaf people will be in attendance.
We recently published an extensive DEI report that goes further into this topic. If you’re struggling with your DEI comms or simply curious if there are areas where your firm could perform better, you can download it [here].
Three Furies is a certified woman-owned business, brand, and content strategy agency with deep experience in the legal marketing sector, including digital marketing analysis, brand and digital design, communications strategy, and advertising campaigns. We also produce bespoke wine tasting experiences for client development and employee resource groups through our sister company Tipsy.