Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 27

FEATURE
transcripts [and on my résumé] when I was away from school. It was
appalling in how difficult it was just to get an interview. There is a strong
bias against hiring disabled people. If people can discriminate against
you and it's socially acceptable, they will. "
Disappointed but undefeated, Morgan earned yet another degree, this
time in tax law from Georgetown University Law Center in 2008. That
finally led to a job, first at PricewaterhouseCoopers and later at the IRS.

LEFT OUT OF THE DIVERSITY DIALOGUE
The legal field continues to grapple with diversity and inclusion issues.
In June 2020, Washington Lawyer reported on Diversity Lab's Move the
Needle (MTN) Fund, an ambitious $5 million initiative spearheaded by
five leading Big Law firms to develop new approaches to increasing
diversity in the profession. The project advocated for the advancement
of women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Caren Stacy, CEO of the Diversity Lab, says the MTN Fund and two other
initiatives - the Inclusion Blueprint and the Mansfield Rule - cover
lawyers with disabilities, but there have been unique challenges tracking
progress on disability inclusion, including decoding the varying definitions of disability.
According to Stacy, the American Bar Association (ABA), the Americans
With Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, and various trade organizations each have their own definition of disability. " If we are going to ask people to collect and monitor
data, we have to make sure that everyone is following a similar definition, " Stacy explains.

Patrice Gilbert Photography

And then there's the limited data on lawyers with disabilities. " Many
law firms and legal departments were not tracking the representation
of lawyers with disabilities, " Stacy says. " The Mansfield Rule served as
a catalyst for more than 100 law firms to ensure that they are in fact
tracking lawyers with disabilities so that they can then judge if progress
is being made. "

A disability can also be invisible or hidden, and lawyers with disabilities
have a harder time finding affinity groups or networks to advocate for
them. " While I think it would be great if there was something analogous
to social justice movements like we see with women or people of color,
most people who've been disabled generally don't want to be identified
as being disabled, " Morgan says. " We just want to lead our lives. "
Efforts to establish affinity organizations for lawyers with disabilities
have resulted in varying degrees of success. There was the National
Association of Attorneys With Disabilities, but it dissolved in 2019 after
five years of existence. The Disability Rights Bar Association, an online
network of attorneys who specialize in disability civil rights law, still
remains, as does the ABA's Commission on Disability Rights.
" One thing that troubles me is that I think we as a community - and
we're getting much better at it - are not as united as some other communities, " says James Stearns, regional trade compliance counsel for the
Americas at Accenture. " I think there is so much energy in putting ourselves to the top that we're not reaching back and helping others. "

THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING INCLUSIVE
In 2018 Accenture partnered with Disability:IN and the American
Association of People With Disabilities to publish " Getting to Equal: The
Disability Inclusion Advantage, " a report that recognized 45 companies
for their outstanding leadership in employment and inclusion over a
four-year period. The companies reportedly made 28 percent higher
revenue because of their diversity and inclusion efforts regarding attorneys with disabilities.
" As disabled people, we work doubly hard to succeed so that nobody
can come back to us and say that we weren't effective, " says Stearns,
who's had cerebral palsy since birth. " We know that if we didn't do well,
the next person [with a disability] coming along probably wouldn't get
a shot. "

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) reported in 2019 that
0.55 percent of lawyers have disabilities, based on figures from 697 law
firms and other offices. NALP's " Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms "
also stated, " Lawyers with disabilities of all sorts remain vastly underreported, with only about one half of one percent of all lawyers in large
law firms being reported as having a disability, a figure that is dramatically at odds with the numbers of students in both the undergraduate
and law school settings who report having disabilities. "

THE COSTS OF INVISIBILITY
So, what accounts for this underrepresentation? There are several
factors, many of which involve the high competition in the legal field.
For many lawyers living with some type of disability, there is concern
that employers will perceive their disability as a weakness, that they will
not be able to perform their jobs effectively.
Not wanting to be identified as a person with a disability has led to
isolation for many lawyers. " Twenty percent of Americans are disabled, "
Morgan says. " But [the majority] of blind people don't know anybody
else who's blind. " (According to latest figures from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 26 percent of adults in the United
States are living with a disability.)

JAMES STEARNS
Accenture
Courtesy of James Stearns

MARCH/APRIL 2021

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

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Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021

Digital Extras
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Staying Put in Big Law feature
A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Worth Reading
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
ABA Delegates Corner
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effecy
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 5
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Staying Put in Big Law feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Sisterhood of Latina Lawyers Sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Increasing Diversity & Inclusion the the Legal Profession feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cultivate Mentorships sidebar
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Tribute to Judge June L. Green feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Delicate Balance for Black Women Attorneys in Government Feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Falling Short on Disability Inclusion feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Elusive Justice in Violence Against Native Women feature
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 34
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Marcia Madsen
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Member Spotlight - Simon Zinger
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - The Pro Bono Effecy
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - March/April 2021 - Cover4
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