Does anyone here have a serious invisible disability or chronic illness and, if so, do you think it’s better to tell your firm about this or hide it because of the stigma (you are weak, might drop the ball, etc)? I read an article about a Skadden partner who hid her cancer diagnosis and I am wondering about this. Do you think this changes for mental v physical v neurodiverse people? Anyone know firms who support lawyers w disabilities? I am aware of the ADA but my question is not strictly legal.

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I will say, I did mention my heart condition to a partner when I was a junior who completely stopped giving me work. I told him I have to be out of office one morning a week for a standing appointment with my cardiologist. I worked with him closely before that and he never put me on a project again. I am now a bit more senior and am curious if I should disclose.

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I have an invisible disability and I’ve hid it so far. I would like to be able to share it if only to help remove stigma but I’m worried about the consequences.

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@AA1, me too. It makes certain parts of my job a lot harder, and I could really use accommodations… but here we are.

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I hid it as a junior/mid level and disclosed once I got more senior. My partners have been nothing but supportive. Haven’t seen any changes in behavior so far.

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I have disclosed my physical invisible disability, since I had to take time off to have major surgery/deal with doctor's appointments/etc this year. I haven't seen any pushback from that and still had a ton of work on my return. I haven't disclosed my ADHD, I'm more concerned about the ramifications around that (getting less work) and it's not something I need time off or anything for.

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I have major depressive disorder, OCD, and endometriosis. I have never said anything about it. But I think people at my firm would be supportive if I needed an accommodation. I think it just depends your firm.

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Note: if i can’t work for one of the above reasons I just say I’m sick or have an appointment. No one has questioned me about it.

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I'm staff at Skadden with mental health issues. The inclusion efforts at Skadden, once one has proven oneself of value, are outstanding. The strengths of others cover my weaknesses as mine cover theirs. I am out of the closet with bipolar, and my boss lets me know if my behavior is counter-productive and we manage it together. There is a ton of outstanding self-care and inclusion training that has direct value for the majority of the firm, and indirect value for all of us.

The work has to get done and done perfectly, but the team mindset minimizes the impact of any weakness. Find a smart, ethical, strong team at a place like Skadden, demonstrate your value to them and they are likely to respect and trust you for respecting and trusting them with candor about your own limits.

One great sign at Skadden is a certain universal pride in individual quirkiness. Smart, ethical and quirky are what I look for in an employer. Humility, humor and grit go a long way too. I belong to a large peer support group for mood disorders and I would say that the legal industry is trying to destigmatize mood disorders and addiction more than other industries and the ABA has been a welcome leader.

However, if one is making excuses before showing one's value, that probably won't work anywhere.

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