New disabled group chair aims to fight prejudice

SWINDON solicitor Michelle Howard has been elected as the new chair of the Law Society's Group for Solicitors with Disabilities.

Howard, who takes over as GSD head from local government lawyer Richard Dunford, was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 and works as a plaintiff personal injury and medical negligence lawyer at Townsends.

A tetraplegic C6 paralysed from the chest down, Howard has been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 16.

During her year in office she will continue the group's work to establish effective legislation for curbing discrimination against the disabled, she says.

“The public profile of the group has never been higher,” says Howard. “There has never been a better time to promote the qualities that disabled people can bring to the legal profession.”

v Simmons & Simmons employment law head Janet Gaymer has stepped down as chair of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Gaymer, the group's founding chair, handed over the reins to Baker & McKenzie's Fraser Younson, who acted as vice-chair since the group's inception two years ago.

Gaymer has been appointed as a member of the Council of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), filling one of three independent seats.

The appointment will run for a three-year term.