We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

Guide for accessible events in legal sector
Jane Barrett, William Fry LLP associate and founder/chair of DisAbility Legal Network Pic: Fennell Photography

07 Dec 2023 / employment Print

Guide for accessible events in legal sector

The DisAbility Legal Network has launched a guide aimed at helping teams in the legal sector to plan and host events that are inclusive and accessible.

The Accessible Events Guide has been launched to coincide with the International Day of People with Disabilities 2023, which was celebrated on 3 December.

The network was set up to promote disability inclusion in the legal sector, and to give members an opportunity to build their professional networks.

It says that improving the standard of accessibility at conferences and events in the sector is an important step in working towards these goals.

Best practice

The network’s new guide has been prepared in line with best practice and draws from the experience of its steering committee in running events that strive to be as accessible as possible.

Jane Barrett (associate William Fry LLP) said: "We appreciate it will not be feasible to fulfil every aspect of the guide for all events, but we hope to show event organisers how to re-frame their event-planning with accessibility in mind.

“We hope that, in time, asking those registered for an event in advance about any accessibility needs will become as accepted and common a practice for legal events as asking them about dietary requirements," she added.

Barrett (pictured) cited the toll taken on her body by the use of standing-only spaces for networking before and after events.

“I really hope the guide prompts some event organisers in the legal sector to rethink the standard standing-only networking space," she said.

Building networks

Caoimhe Grogan (solicitor A&L Goodbody LLP) urged event organisers in the sector to think about accessibility when organising events.

“Attendance at events is important for professional development and building business networks for those working in law. We firmly believe that improving the accessibility of events in our sector will support career advancement for people with disabilities in law," she stated.

The solicitor, who has a visual impairment, said that professional events could sometimes be “extremely busy and overwhelming” for her – and for her guide dog.

“At every single event or presentation I attend, there is, without fail, a visual aspect to the presentation which is not explained for my benefit or others who may have a visual impairment,” she stated, adding that she hoped that the guide would prompt organisers to provide descriptions of visual information for those who are visually impaired.

The guide also includes information on the provision of Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland