JAN provides this information as a way to share accommodation situations and solutions from the legal profession. For a more in depth discussion, contact JAN directly.
Situations and Solutions:
An attorney with multiple sclerosis was having difficulty carrying documents to meetings at various locations due to upper extremity weakness.
His employer purchased a portable cart that was easy to get in and out of his car.
A lawyer with cancer was experiencing lapses in concentration due to the medication she was taking.
Her employer accommodated her by giving her uninterrupted time to work. She was also allowed to work at home two days a week.
A paralegal with diabetes was having trouble keeping his blood sugar under control, which led to very bad breath.
He and her employer agreed that he would temporarily be excused from going into court during trials. They agreed to reassess the situation in three weeks, the amount of time his doctor estimated it would take to get his condition under control.
An employee working as a law office clerk was having trouble reading the text on the memos she has being given by the lawyers in her office.
She disclosed that she had low vision due to albinism and requested that the memos be provided in large print. The employer made a policy that memos must be written in a minimum of 18 point font and also provided a stand up magnifier to assist in reading hand-written items.
A lawyer with alcoholism and stress from family problems had difficulty attending social events with clients where alcohol was served.
His employer excused him from attending the events until he was able to deal with his family problems.
An attorney with obesity had to leave the office frequently to go to court and often could not find close parking when she returned to the office
She had difficulty walking long distances so the employer gave her a reserved parking space close to the worksite.
A paralegal with Marfan syndrome was experiencing fluctuating vision, therefore she was having trouble viewing her computer screen.
The employer noticed her having a hard time and purchased screen reading software which allowed her to continue performing her computer tasks.
A paralegal with auditory processing disorder staffed meetings with various attorneys where information was exchanged at a very rapid pace.
Because he became overloaded and had difficulty processing the information completely, he asked to record the meetings. Because the information was confidential, the employee was required to follow a strict policy; the meetings could be taped, but within two days the notes were to be transcribed and the recordings destroyed. The device was kept in a locked drawer.
A paralegal would have weakness and numbness in her dominant hand immediately following a cataplectic attack.
To continue her case documentation, she was accommodated with a one-handed keyboard and speech recognition software.
A lawyer with muscular dystrophy was having difficulty climbing stairs.
He was accommodated with a stair lift.
A receptionist for a law firm required time to express breast milk for her baby during her work day.
She was provided a private space that was shielded from view and free from intrusion and reasonable break time to express milk, as-needed. A co-worker served as back-up receptionist during these short breaks. The employee was also allowed to flex her schedule to make-up any extended time taken, beyond ordinary breaks. She kept a small cooler at her workstation for storing milk.
Lawyers perform a variety of services, and the employment of attorneys is an important component of the legal sector. This sector also includes others who perform services, technical, or research positions. These individuals may be self-employed, contractors, or work for firms, government, or service-based entities that are financial, insurance, or security-based. For additional information, see: Reasonable Accommodations for Attorneys with Disabilities.