Legally Powered, was founded in 2020 by Victoria-Jayne Scholes when she embarked upon a journalism course with the Academy of Disabled Journalists.
Victoria has a number of complex health conditions, including Type-One Diabetes, diagnosed at the age of six, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which causes Victoria’s joints to sublax amongst other things and a rare neurological condition, Dopa-Responsive Dystonia, causing Victoria’s muscles to be in permanent spasms and her limbs to twist uncontrollably resulting in Victoria being a powerchair user.
On Tuesday 7th June the High Sheriff and his wife, visited Victoria, her mum and PA at her home in Surrey, as the sun made an appearance, to find out more about Legally Powered, how it began and what it stands for.
Legally Powered started after Victoria embarked on a law degree in 2012 with the Open University. In 2018 she graduated with a 2:1 in Law. However, during this time, she looked at different legal careers and found that the route of being a barrister, something she was very much considering, was not easily accessible to those with disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs.
In 2021, Victoria qualified with her LPC and gained her master’s in law at the University of Law, after being awarded the Daniel Turnbull Memorial Scholarship from Stewarts. Unfortunately, during her studies Victoria’s health declined, but she was determinded to finish the course.
Whilst she found herself in a position of not being able to work in a solicitor’s office to do a training contract, she wanted to do something with her qualifications and knowledge, where she would work from home and around her disability.
Victoria decided that she didn’t want anyone to face the challenges she did in accessing the legal system, not only becoming a barrister but also other misgivings during her time studying as a disabled student and in life itself.
Victoria decided it was time Legally Powered was brought to the forefront and started writing articles about her experiences. One of the first articles was on her visit to the Supreme Court. She advised their good points but pointed out where they could make access better. This has resulted in them asking Victoria to sit on their committee of procedures for disabled people.
It is not only the legal system that needs challenging though and people started coming forward to ask Legally Powered to look into other areas. The tag line Accessibilisng Britain was born. Even football clubs are showing interest for new clubs that are being built. Whilst in early development, it is at this stage if you start laying the foundations everything else will fall into place.
Whilst places are putting in disabled access, at times this can be more of a tick list exercise then actually thinking will the adaption fit all. Having someone disabled on the committee advising, companies can really drive forward inclusivity and boost business by making sure their premises really are accessible for all.
Leally Powered, does not stand up and scream and shout at those that are doing it wrong. They find pro-active ways such as showcasing those doing it right and getting them to lead by example. So, whether it be writing an article about an event, writing about new technology, interviewing people about the amazing work they do or advising people on access to their buildings, Legally Powered is about empowerment, determination and above all ‘Accessibilising Britain’.
Article written by Victoria-Jayne Scholes