In the wake of the Dáil’s historic vote on same-sex marriage, there is a sense of déjà vu for a lot of lawyers, especially those representing the vulnerable and the vulnerable groups.
This is particularly true of the legal profession, as the result of the Irish constitutional referendum has unleashed a surge in the number of lawyers with disabilities, LGBTI people and those who are not part of the dominant culture.
The law has been transformed.
The number of LGBTI lawyers has grown from around 5,000 in 2011 to over 15,000 today, with a further 2,000 represented by independent practitioners.
The legal profession is changing, but the role of the lawyer in changing is not yet done.
The Law Society of Ireland is working with the Law Commission on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to develop a new set of policies that would support and facilitate the development of a professional development framework for lawyers.
The new policy, expected to be announced in the autumn, will be designed to support those with disabilities who seek to enter the legal world.
A few of the highlights: The law society is proposing a new policy for the legal professional development of persons with disabilities.
The policy will provide a framework for the professional development and training of people with disabilities to ensure that they are able to enter a profession that reflects their skills and interests.
It will also include specific and specific training for lawyers to develop their professional skills.
The first stage of this will involve the development and implementation of the National Disability Service Framework and its implementation through the establishment of a National Disability Advisory Committee, the development, delivery and maintenance of a system of training and assessment of disability professionals, and the provision of professional development for persons with a disability.
The next stage will include the development a framework that will support the development for people with a variety of disabilities.
This will include development of new training and certification standards, such as the Disability Professionals Code, that will provide for the assessment of people’s competency in different areas of practice, the assessment and training and promotion of people who have a disability, and for the recognition of the contributions of people of different disability and cultural backgrounds in the legal field.
The second stage will be the development in particular of an assessment tool to enable the assessment, training and referral of persons who are at a particular stage in their career to be able to pursue a career in the law profession, and of the creation of an accredited training and qualification provider.
The third stage will involve developing an online pathway to the profession, with the aim of facilitating the training of persons in a range of disciplines.
The fourth stage will also be the provision and maintenance, and promotion, of a legal training program that will enable persons to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to enter and flourish in the practice of law.
The fifth stage will encompass the provision, promotion and validation of a database of persons whose disabilities have been recognised by the State, and an assessment system for persons seeking to enter into the legal professions.
This information will be available on the Law Society website.
This framework for people of disability will enable people with various disabilities to seek a career and a place in the profession.
The Government has pledged to make this a reality, and it is imperative that the people of Ireland are able, in all the aspects of their lives, to develop and flourish as professionals.
The legislation and the changes in the laws have already led to the development into a professional landscape, and that professional landscape has been reflected in the professional growth of lawyers.
There are many more areas for improvement, but this is one of the best examples of how the legal system can be rethought in order to support people with disability in their future development.