Legal Supplier

Professional development program LSO accredited

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

A tailor-made continuing professional development program provided by Neesons, a Veritext Company, helps lawyers and their staff to better serve clients with varying degrees of hearing loss, says founder and principal Kim Neeson.

Although best known for its litigation court reporting work, Neeson tells AdvocateDaily.com that the firm also provides captioning for people with hearing loss.

“Instead of realtime reporting in a litigation setting, it’s voice-to-text translation for communication access,” she says. “What this course explores is how lawyers can deal with people who suffer from hearing loss and understand what their accommodation needs are.”

The one-hour program has been accredited by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), and also counts towards the regulator’s equality diversity and inclusion (EDI) requirement. LSO licensees must complete at least three hours of EDI content by the end of 2020 as part of its strategy to break down barriers faced by racialized lawyers and paralegals.

Neeson explains that the session is comprised of five short sections:

  • Who are the people with a hearing loss?: Explores the differences among the 10 per cent of the Canadian population who suffer from hearing loss, including deaf, late-deafened and hard-of-hearing individuals. “Each of those groups may require different kinds of accommodation,” Neeson says.
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act: Provides an overview of the duty to accommodate under the Act. “The legal community needs to arm itself with the tools to level the playing field for those with hearing loss and ensure compliance with the AODA,” Neeson says.
  • Using the right tools for specific hearing loss clients: Options include sign language, notetaking, captioning, and lip-reading, which can occur live or over the internet, and in French or English.
  • Demonstration of captioning with interactive mock discovery: How to effectively use captioning with clients, including all aspects of communication. “Some of the participants are rendered ‘deaf’ through noise-cancelling earphones to see what they take for granted and give them a sense of how it can feel as a person with hearing loss,” Neeson says.
  • Discussion of real-life examples of access in the courtroom: Describes various scenarios for accessibility, drawing from the experience of Neesons captioners, followed up with an interactive question and answer session.

To book a presentation time, email kim@neesonsreporting.com.

To Read More Neesons Posts Click Here