Network to improve professional services for the deaf community launches

A network designed to improve the availability and quality of professional services to the deaf community has launched. Advisers for Deaf Network (ADN) describes itself as a marketing network for professional advisors, including law firms, accountants, and financial advisers committed to providing professional services to the Deaf community.

ADN is the brainchild of Culver Law and has been launched this week following the recent experiences of the firm in finding professional advice for a deaf client in an area of the law the firm does not specialise in. The result, says Culver Law Managing Director Michael Culver, was ‘many firms are just not equipped to serve the Deaf community.’

It remains extremely difficult for the D/deaf community in this country to obtain legal, accounting and financial advice in a way that is accessible to them. The ADN is designed to change that and to create a network of like minded firms to whom clients can be referred and be confident that such firms understand the needs of the D/deaf community and can provide their advice in an accessible format.

says the ADN website.

The network, which was originally envisaged as referral network for law firms committed to serving the deaf community, is expanding to all professional service firms, subject to ‘rigorous’ membership criteria. Membership is £70 p/a and requires firms to commit to undertaking regular deaf awareness training, facilitating methods for deaf clients to contact the firm easily and providing qualified interpreters or technology platforms for client meetings, among other commitments to transparency and inclusivity.

Members will receive recognition in the form of an ADN badge for the website to show the firm membership and a commitment to helping deaf community with their legal, accounting and financial needs.

Commenting on the launch Amy Wallhead, a partner at Culver Law says

It has always been our firm belief that law and professional services should be accessible to everyone, irrespective of their communication preferences. The ADN aims to bring together professional advisers who share this belief and are willing to put in place the necessary provisions to enable the Deaf community to access such advice in a clear, unobstructed manner.

Last year the firm announced the integration of sign language and video relay into its provision of legal services in a partnership with Signly, describing it as a “pioneering initiative… set to revolutionise the legal landscape by breaking down communication barriers for the members of the community who use sign language”.

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