In the course of your practice, you may run across one of the following situations:
- A potential client contacts you via e-mail and, after some back-and-forth, sets up a consultation with you to discuss her impending divorce. She then informs you that she is deaf and is seeking accommodation. How would you handle this?
- A potential client calls you with an estate planning issue and shows up for the first meeting in a wheelchair. You’re on the second floor of a building without an elevator—or maybe you’re on street level but there are two steps up to your office from the sidewalk, and there’s no ramp. How do you accommodate him?
- A walk-in comes into your office waiting area accompanied by a guide dog, and you are incredibly nervous around dogs. What do you do?
If you plan to be open to the public for any length of time, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll have clients with disabilities. These can range from the obvious to the not-so-apparent—from people with mobility impairments that require canes or wheelchairs, to people with visual and hearing difficulties, to those with psychiatric or neurological disabilities. What they all have in common is that they, like all your other clients, are in need of your expertise. It is vital that we as attorneys put the focus where it belongs and avoid any obstacles that would interfere with our giving them the help they need.