The GSD Conference 2008 was held on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23 February 2008 at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury. The conference report can be viewed here.
Welcome to the GSD Website
Since it was established in 1989, the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities (GSD) has sought to bring to the fore the abilities and aspirations of disabled solicitors and those wishing to enter the profession, who are disabled.
As both the Law Society and the solicitors' profession continue to grow and to change, GSD feels that it is as vital as ever that due account is taken of the access needs those who are disabled. It is the GSD's intention to continue their work, developing and safeguarding the interests of all disabled people, whether solicitors, trainees, students or clients, and others who may be denied access to justice as a result of disability.
The GSD aims to achieve equality of opportunity for people with disabilities whether they are solicitors, would-be-solicitors, or clients or members of the general public. Its particular objectives are:
- To provide a forum and to arrange meetings and conferences at which members of the Group may study and discuss matters relating to the objects of the Group of common interest and concern on a national or regional basis.
- To provide a forum which will enable solicitors with disabilities to put forward their concerns to The Law Society, government departments and the profession, and to others who have the power to affect the way that they are trained and the way that they work.
- To enable consultation between the Group and the Council of The Law Society, its committees, groups or recognised associations or any local law society upon matters of professional interest.
- To enable members to arrange activities, both business and social, which will further their mutual interests including the promotion and cultivation of contacts and the exchange of information and views with other groups.
- To promote and develop recognition for the issues facing solicitors with disabilities, and generally to promote the interests of people with disabilities, in particular in relation to their use of and access to legal services and facilities and to legislation affecting them.
- To collect appropriate information and to disseminate and publish the same for the benefit of members of the Group and for that purpose to produce and circulate publications, newsletters, magazines or otherwise.
The activities of the Group centre around regular meetings of our National Committee at which members discuss topical issues of relevance, including consultation from government departments and the Council of the Law Society.
The Group gratefully acknowledges the assistance it receives from the Law Society through funding and help from staff in the Groups and Sectorial Services Unit. However, the Group depends on the voluntary help of its members for the bulk of its activities.
The Group is not able to provide legal or other expert advice, whether for people with disabilities or law firms. We do not provide representation. We hope to be able to offer a pastoral care service in future but do not at present. We are people with disabilities. We are not experts in disability law (although some of our members may specialise in that, just as others specialise in other things).
The Group does not at present have data on the employment of people with disabilities in the solicitors' profession; on the incidence of discrimination or on the enforcement of the anti-discrimination rule. The Group believes these are matters for the Law Society. Click here to view the Law Society Website
Chair and Council Member: David Merkel.
Vice - Chair: .Lucy Davies
Secretary: Sir John Wall, CBE.
Treasurer: Michael Njoku.
Membership to the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities (GSD) is open to Solicitors, Trainee Solicitors, Law Students, Inactive Solicitors and Retired Solicitors who consider themselves disabled under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as ammended 2005). As a member of GSD you will benefit from a range of services and information including those listed below:
- Access to advice and assistance from a wide reaching network of Solicitors and legal professionals through the groups mentoring scheme. (See Projects section of the site for futher information).
- Receipt of no fewer than three copies of The Bridge magazine per year, with the option to contribute articles of interest to the editor.
- Networking Opportunities with other GSD members and legal professionals at Committee meetings, AGM's and Conferences.
- Monthly e-mail updates of any new information added to the website.
And much more.....