A statement from ABA 2019-2020 President Judy Perry Martinez:
The American Bar Association (ABA) is participating in National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October and celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a diverse workforce. This year’s theme, “The Right Talent, Right Now,” emphasizes the essential role that people with disabilities play in America's economic success. A 2018 study by Accenture, in partnership with Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities, found that companies that embrace best practices for employing and supporting more persons with disabilities in their workforce have outperformed their peers, with higher revenue and economic profit margins and double the net income.
The ABA recognizes that the profession benefits from persons with disabilities; they bring valuable skills, talents, and perspectives to the table. The profession must reflect the clients we serve—including persons with disabilities. The reality, however, is that the lawyers with disabilities are often overlooked in the diversity and inclusion narrative. In my role as ABA President, I am working to change that—engaging with students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing a legal career; hearing from law students with disabilities about the challenges and biases they encounter as they strive to enter law school, once on campus, and in entering the legal workplace; and meeting successful lawyers with disabilities who practice in law firms and corporations, own their own firms, and work for the government and nonprofits. For those in the profession, ask yourself what are you doing to make the profession welcoming and inclusive to this community.