April 02, 2019

GP MENTOR: Justice Is Blind, Not Deaf

Sarah Weimer

Sign languageBefore the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, the concept of a deaf or hard of hearing lawyer seemed far-fetched to most Americans. Yet, to date, there are more than 200 attorneys in the United States who define themselves as deaf, hard of hearing, or late-deafened. I am one of them.

Thanks to the ADA and advances in technology, deaf and hard of hearing attorneys such as myself have access to the following accommodations (which also benefit attorneys without hearing disabilities because they allow communication with deaf and hard of hearing individuals):

Real-time captioning (also known as CART). Federal courthouses across the country regularly rely on real-time court reporting techniques. When I appear in federal court, I request access to the court reporter’s live transcript and read it on a separate laptop screen, allowing me to be a better advocate for my clients. This service is so popular that even hearing attorneys request it at times.

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