Seeking the Voices & Experiences of Disabled Lawyers & Lawyers Who Practice Disability Law

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For the latter half of this year, I have begun my journey as an aspiring disability rights lawyer by studying for the LSAT, and selecting and applying to schools.  

Being a lawyer was never within my vision of my life, but since beginning this advocacy focus, the calling appeared before me two years ago to take this route.  There are aspects of the legal world that appeals to me – being details-oriented; playing devil’s advocate to controversial issues; researching policies; understanding how laws and policies positively or negatively impact individuals, the broader society, and day-to-day transactions; writing; educating people about their rights and what they can do; and putting your own stamp on a profession that is misunderstood and making a difference, one case or client at a time.  

Having the unique experience of being a lawyer and social worker will allow me to bring some warmth, personableness, and empathy to a profession that has the reputation of being exact, cold, and emotionless.  The “soft” skills I have as a social worker from my training and education – communication, listening skills, documentation writing, seeing issues from all angles – are what future employers are seeking from law school graduates.  In addition, I want my law degree to be an “add-on” to the career I am establishing and be expanded by offering an legal component to my advocacy and consulting work.  Having a clear understanding of how I want my law degree to work for me is great motivation at this stage, and when I begin law school.  

Why Disabled Lawyers & Those Who Practice Disability Law Need to be On My Radar

Now that I am engrossed in the law school applying process, I am hoping to connect with disabled lawyers who have been graduated from law school and are establishing their legal careers; as well as lawyers, both disabled and able-bodied, who practice disability law, particularly disability rights/civil rights.  It is imperative to connect with such professionals so that I can have a better grasp of what to expect while in school, and after graduation.  Pursuing this degree is something that I do not take lightly – the incredibly challenging schoolwork load, time commitment, and cost, are too great to dismiss and dive in without a lifeline of support.  That is what I am hoping to build in these connections – a strong support system and network that will carry me from day one of class to when I get my JD, pass the Bar, and get hired and continue building RYV.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you know is a disabled lawyer or practice disability law, please connect with me.  I am eager to hear your law school and professional plight, and if willing, share your story on the blog. 

All interested persons can reach me via email:  Vilissa@rampyourvoice.com.
(For those with screen readers:  my email address:  Vilissa [at] rampyourvoice [dot] com)

(Featured headlining image:  Courtesy of ShutterStock.)

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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