How to Find and Work with a Lawyer
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center is available as an information, advocacy, and legal resource. Although we can accept only a few discrimination cases at a time, we spend a lot of time talking to other lawyers, explaining to them legal aspects related to being deaf or hard of hearing, and representation of deaf and hard of hearing clients. You may contact us any time and you can ask your lawyer to contact us for special expertise.
How to Find a Lawyer
Many people prefer to find a lawyer who is deaf or hard of hearing, a lawyer who understands and is familiar with deaf and hard of hearing people, or a lawyer who knows American Sign Language.
However, you need a lawyer who is experienced in your type of legal problem. Like doctors, most lawyers have expertise in specific areas of the law. For example, a lawyer who defends people accused of a crime might not be a good choice if you need a divorce. When you contact lawyers, ask them if they have experience with your kind of legal problem. If they do not, ask them if they can recommend a lawyer who can handle your kind of legal problem.
Most people – hearing, hard of hearing, or deaf – are puzzled about how to find a lawyer to help them with their legal problem. The NAD Law and Advocacy Center does not keep a list of lawyers in the United States. However, here are some tips to help you find an advocate or lawyer in your state who may be able to help you with a discrimination or other legal problem:
Communicating with Your Lawyer – Part of a Team
It is important to help your lawyer help you. You are part of a team to solve your legal problem.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires lawyers to provide equal access to their services by providing accommodations necessary to communicate effectively with you. These accommodations include qualified interpreters, CART, and assistive listening devices. For more information, see Lawyers and Legal Services.
Communication with a lawyer is very important. Explain your communication needs clearly. It is important to be able to understand each other so you can explain your situation and the lawyer can explain your legal options. You may have to explain how to use the relay system or how to use an interpreter.
Call in advance to make appointments to see your lawyer. If you cannot make it to your appointment, let the lawyer know ahead of time, especially if the lawyer had to hire an interpreter or other services to communicate with you! If you do not understand legal words, ask the lawyer to explain what they mean! It may also be helpful and may save the lawyer time (and save you money) to use alternatives such as fax and email to ask and answer some questions.
If your lawyer is unable to communicate effectively with you, needs information about the ADA, or has questions about representing and working with clients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ask your lawyer to contact the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.
Tips for Working with Your Lawyer