Second-year College of Law student Hilda A. Frimpong has been elected by her peers as the next editor in chief of Syracuse Law Review. When she assumes her duties for Volume 72 (2021-22), Frimpong will be the first Black student…
‘Lawyers Should Provide Sign Language Interpreters for Deaf Clients’
Michael Schwartz, associate professor of law in the College of Law, wrote a commentary for Syracuse.com titled “Lawyers should provide sign language interpreters for Deaf clients.” Schwartz also serves as the director of the Disability Rights Clinic within the College of Law, which helps provide legal representation to individuals with disabilities and groups that represent the disabled community.
As a deaf lawyer himself, Schwartz understands the importance of appropriate communication forms when lawyers represent deaf clients. Schwartz writes that local attorney William Mattar’s commercials provide an outstanding example of doing the right thing, as the commercials are captioned despite not being legally required.
Schwartz explains that lawyers are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York State Human Rights Law, which both require the lawyer to pay for communication access, or specifically an interpreter, for their deaf clients. However, Schwartz says that lawyers often pass the system by using written notes with their clients, despite this not adequately helping to explain legal complexities.
Ultimately, Schwartz says that Mattar’s commercials provide the right message when it comes to legal representation for the deaf. “Go beyond compliance with the law. Why not treat the legal obligation to provide effective communication access (e.g., qualified sign language interpreters) as a floor, not a ceiling?” writes Schwartz.
To read his essay in its entirety, visit Syracuse.com.
Syracuse University media relations team members work regularly with the campus community to secure placements of op-eds. Anyone interested in writing an op-ed should first review the University’s op-ed guidelines and email email@example.com.