Legal advice, advice and information for deaf and hard of hearing people on issues of discrimination based on deafness. Legal services: civil law, consumer law, education law, health law, real estate law. It is important that all Americans have access to the legal services they need. This includes many Americans protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), especially members of our deaf and hard of hearing community. There are many barriers to the use of these services by members of the Deaf community. However, one of the biggest barriers is the ability or lack of effective communication between the lawyer and their potential client. Howard Rosenblum May 2009 Illinois Lawyer of the Month Howard Rosenblum is a very deaf lawyer admitted to practice in Illinois. He holds a bachelor`s degree from the University of Arizona and a juris doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. In addition to founding and chairing MCLD, Mr. Rosenblum is currently an attorney at Equip for Equality, a private nonprofit organization that operates the Illinois government-mandated protection and advocacy system that protects the rights of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. Communication with a lawyer is very important. Clearly explain your communication needs. It is important to be able to understand each other so that you can explain your situation and the lawyer can explain your legal options.
You may need to explain how to use the relay system or an interpreter. Many people prefer to find a lawyer who is deaf or hard of hearing, a lawyer who understands and knows deaf and hard of hearing people well, or a lawyer who is proficient in American Sign Language. It is important that you help your lawyer help you. You are part of a team to solve your legal problem. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people access online legal information and self-help resources through our website and are therefore better able to resolve their legal problems, even if they cannot afford a lawyer. People can access the site anywhere they can go online To better meet the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing, a lawyer must be prepared to incorporate effective methods of communicating with the client that would not otherwise be used in the firm. The lawyer must determine which tools the client needs and which are appropriate for the situation. One customer`s preferred method of communication may not be an option for another customer.
In fact, some clients may simply ask you to speak more slowly, eliminate distractions, or advertise more with your lips (learn more about lip-reading); while others need a qualified and certified sign language interpreter. Call ahead to make an appointment with your lawyer. If you can`t make it to your appointment, let the lawyer know in advance, especially if they had to hire an interpreter or other services to contact you! If you don`t understand the legal words, ask the lawyer to explain what they mean! It can also be helpful and save the lawyer time (and money) to use alternatives like fax and email to ask and answer questions. Part of the barrier to communication is the complexity of lawyers` language. The profession uses a separate dictionary – Black`s Law Dictionary – to define certain terms that, without the ability to draw on context, can confuse attempts to convey a message. Some already struggle to express legal terms in lay language, which is even more discouraging by the fact that the client`s primary language is not spoken English. ILAO has created the public website for people seeking free or low-cost legal assistance. Using a powerful search engine on the homepage, users can find relevant information in 24 areas of law. The ADA requires certain precautions to ensure that effective communications are delivered to the customer. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, this includes transcription services, real-time captioning and qualified sign language interpreters. Due to the complexity of legal services, effective communication will likely require the employment of a qualified sign language interpreter. If your attorney is unable to communicate effectively with you, needs information about the ADA, or has questions about advocating and working with clients who are Deaf or hard of hearing, ask your attorney to contact the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center is available as an information, advocacy, and legal resource. While we can only accept a few cases of discrimination at a time, we spend a lot of time talking to other lawyers, explaining the legal aspects of deafness or hearing loss, and representing clients who are deaf and hard of hearing. You can contact us at any time and you can ask your lawyer to contact us for a particular expertise. A national nonprofit organization that provides interpretation, community, and employment services to deaf and hard of hearing people, family members, friends, state and local federal agencies. Private lawyers may not be familiar with their obligations under the ADA. Some private lawyers may not be willing to provide and pay for necessary communications access services. As a result, many people who are deaf and hard of hearing are unable to retain private counsel for important legal matters such as criminal proceedings, family law issues, and employment law issues. The ADA recognizes that private lawyers are not required to provide a particular type of tool or service if they can demonstrate that doing so would impose an unreasonable burden (difficulty or significant cost). To prove that this is an unreasonable burden, lawyers must prove that the cost of providing accommodation would have a significant impact on their practice and financial resources, which can be difficult for most law firms.
If unreasonable burden can be demonstrated, the lawyer must provide alternative access to communication services that ensure, to the extent possible, effective communication. NAD is committed to improving access to legal services through the creation of a Communications Access Fund (CAF) in each state. The CAF would cover the cost of access to communications services to ensure effective communication with private lawyers. The revenue stream for each state`s CAF could be generated by charging a small annual fee payable by each licensed practicing attorney in that state. Several states and local jurisdictions have established CFOs for legal services. Visit our legal aid directory to find legal help, or chat with a LiveHelp representative to help you navigate the site. The New York Center for Law and Justice, Inc. provides direct representation to New York`s deaf and impoverished community. In addition, the Law Center refers deaf clients to a network of pro bono lawyers. However, you need a lawyer who has experience in your type of legal problem. Like doctors, most lawyers have expertise in specific areas of law. For example, a lawyer defending people accused of a crime may not be a good choice if you need a divorce.
When contacting lawyers, ask them if they have experience with your type of legal problem. If not, ask them if they can recommend a lawyer who can handle your legal problem. Prosecutors, such as public defense attorneys (attorneys representing people accused of a crime) or other state or local government attorneys may not be familiar with their obligations under the ADA.