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Vocational participation for a lawyer with blindness

Disability and functional restriction of the woman:

The woman was born prematurely and became blind in the incubator due to the side effect of oxygen during artificial respiration. In the right eye, she can not see and in the left eye, a very low residual vision of about one percent is present. Optical information, which can not be perceived by the woman to be magnified by her residual vision, must therefore be converted acoustically or tactilely. The GdB (degree of disability) is 100.

Education and job:

As a girl she first participated in teaching a special school for blind and multiple disabled children. Since she was under-challenged there, she switched to an integrative high school, which made it possible for her through braille-provided books and additional individual lessons, together with her non-disabled classmates to obtain the Abitur. Early on, a visit to the lawyer had aroused the girl's interest in law, so she completed numerous internships at the court during her schooldays. Therefore, she decided to study law after leaving school. With the help of a fellow student who read her technical literature or spoke on tape and a laptop with braille display and speech output, the student was able to learn the challenging course material and finish her studies with the first state examination within the standard period of study. She then completed her legal traineeship in closed male penal service and in the prosecutor's office in the Department of Homicides. During this time, she was already supported by a work assistant by the hour.

Way to independence:

Originally it was her goal after graduation to act as a criminal judge at the court. A ruling by the Federal Court, according to which criminal judges may not be blind, but denied her the way to her dream job. Her alternative request to work as a prosecutor failed because her grade point average was good, but not good enough for a similar job in public service. Without further ado, the young woman opted for self-employment, which was not unusual for lawyers, and made her the first blind criminal lawyer in Germany since birth. On her way to becoming self-employed, she was supported by the project enter ability, which helps people with a disability start-up.

Workplace and work task:

Her first cases were assigned to the young lawyer as a public defender by the court. Since then, she defended offenders, represented victims and developed a good reputation and a large clientele. Meanwhile, she receives inquiries from all over Germany and has more than enough work. Many clients assess the blindness of the lawyer, her reasoning about the appearance and the origin, and her ability to listen attentively as a personal advantage.
Her law firm moved to a larger office a few years ago, and an additional part-time assistant was hired. In her office, she receives and discusses with clients and prepares for the processes. For her daily work in the office, she uses a large-screen computer and a screen reader. Due to the reduced reading distance, the large screen was attached to a swivel arm. With the help of the swivel arm, the lawyer can optimally position the monitor for reading, without taking compulsive postures. Furthermore, the computer is equipped with a blind software (screen reader) and a Braille display. With the help of the Braille display and the screen reader, the lawyer can convert the visual information of the screen into Braille or acoustically. The information converted into Braille can be felt or read by the fingers via the Braille display. Forms and texts in black-and-white are magnified by her using a screen reader and presented in higher contrast or digitized with the help of work assistance. In most cases, she uses the reader to look up legal comments, look up file numbers, or assist in signing a document. The attorney uses a label meeting and reading device for capturing files or for better 'finding', as well as a voice recorder for voice memos.
Extremely practical in everyday working life is also her smartphone with the software integrated in the operating system for people with visual impairment or blindness, which allows her not only the phone, but also access to the Internet and especially on their e-mails on the go - Flexibility and mobile work is supported.

Work organization:

In her office and in court, she is assisted by two alternate paralegals weekly as assistant labor assistants for 45 hours. They propose laws and commentaries for them, describe films, photos and other evidence if necessary, or digitize documents, so that the lawyer can work on the blind PC on her own. In court appointments, she is also accompanied by a labor assistant, as in prison, where she should not speak alone with offenders for security reasons.

Work environment - mobility:

With public transport and her long pole for orientation, the lawyer is able to manage her own commute and the way to courts in her own city. When traveling to clients within Germany, she is supported by a job assistant.
As a lawyer specializing in criminal law, the lawyer has to complete training courses amounting to 15 hours a year. She accompanies her life companion to the further education courses, which also participates as specialist lawyer for criminal law.

Assistive devices used:

Taststicks and white long sticks
Video systems with image enlargement (screen readers)
Sound recording and reproducing apparatus (dictating machines)
Phones for mobile network (smartphone operating systems)
Signaling devices (label reader)
tactile computer displays (Braille displays)
special output software (screen reader)
fixed positioning systems (monitor swivel arms)

Support and participation:

The design of the workplace to meet the needs of the disabled and the work assistance is provided by the integration or Inclusion agency funded. The advice was provided by the technical advice service of the integration or Inclusion Office. The integration or. The inclusion office can also support people with severe disabilities through the creation of a loan or interest subsidies to establish and maintain an independent professional existence.


Video bei YouTube - Pamela Pabst: Die Rechtsanwältin



  • organisation /
  • sensory disorder /
  • lawyer /
  • lawyer /
  • lawyer's office /
  • office work /
  • typing work /
  • computer workplace /
  • screen work /
  • speech output /
  • output device /
  • input device /
  • braille display /
  • screenreader /
  • software /
  • computer /
  • keyboard /
  • aids for the blind /
  • reading device /
  • screen reading device /
  • camera reading device /
  • scanner /
  • text recognition /
  • big screen /
  • screen /
  • enlargement /
  • magnification software /
  • enlarged-image /
  • characters /
  • image magnification /
  • monitor swivel arm /
  • swivel arm /
  • entrepreneur /
  • working equipment /
  • work task /
  • university studies /
  • braille /
  • employment /
  • participation in working life /
  • participation /
  • full-time job /
  • employer /
  • vocational rehabilitation /
  • eye /
  • EASTIN /
  • inclusion /
  • Video /
  • information and communication /
  • learning and knowledge application /
  • soft skills and social behaviour /
  • environmental influences, safety and loads /
  • office for vocational integration /
  • blindness /
  • training /
  • service /
  • office /
  • law /
  • visualize /
  • information perception /
  • rate of work /
  • independence /
  • typing /
  • reading /
  • workplace design /
  • work organisation /
  • technical advice /
  • assistive product /
  • business start /
  • job assistance

update status: 18.12.2019

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