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Commitment to the cause

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Cite as: November 2011 85(11) LIJ, p.19

LIV Lawyers with disAbilities chair Daniel Piekarski says the LIV Disability Action Plan and Employment Strategy were the culmination of months of hard work.


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Daniel Piekarski is the LIV Lawyers with disAbilities Committee chair. He worked as a solicitor with Hartley Lawyers before joining Victoria Legal Aid as a family lawyer in 2010. He has successfully worked since 2004 with bioptic nerve hypoplasia, which causes a loss of peripheral vision and delayed sight, astigmatism and nystagmus.

When the Lawyers with disAbilities Committee found its feet in early 2010 we knew that the LIV’s disability action plan (DAP) would be one of the key things we focused on. The DAP would, we thought, achieve two things: an increased awareness and addressing of issues within the LIV itself, and an opportunity for the broader legal profession to be inspired. Some 18 months later we’re almost halfway there – the DAP is ready for its launch, and the LIV has been able to leverage the skills, knowledge and input from the committee to not only look at its own products and services, resources and processes, but also provide a blueprint for law firms big and small. It is important to us as a committee that the work we do benefits not only the LIV, but also lawyers and the community more broadly, and so we encourage everyone to look closely at the DAP. We invite you to consider it “best practice”, and use it to improve your delivery of service and the experiences of people who interact with you, whether daily, weekly, monthly or ad hoc.

Alongside the DAP, the LIV is ready to launch its Employment Strategy, which is also the culmination of months of hard work. It represents a crystallised answer to the fundamental questions the committee wanted to tackle: how can the LIV help law graduates with disabilities to enter the legal profession, and how can the LIV help those with disabilities to remain in the profession?

The fundamental underpinnings of the Employment Strategy are derived from two roundtables, the first with law students and the second with employers and employment service providers. The committee provided forums for attendees to exchange ideas, information and resources, and the LIV is now poised to impart the benefit of those discussions to the whole profession.

What this leads to, we hope, is that the profession feels a step closer, a step more comfortable, when it comes to the issue of employing people with disabilities and understands the value of diversity generally.

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