Over the years, I have heard blind people talk about their lawyers on numerous occasions. When I listen to them, I often wonder how the lawyer gets paid for protecting their blind client. After all, most of the blind population can barely make ends meet as it is, while legal fees can be very, very expensive, and often include the up-front cost of retaining a lawyer to even begin your case.
To put this whole thing into complete perspective, it nearly costs half of someone’s government check to pay a retainer fee to an attorney, before you even hire them as legal counsel. If the government check is all you depend on, even when you’re seeking legal action for something that is not your fault, how is it possible for you to protect yourself? There should be resources available throughout this country which would allow the blind to get similar legal protection as the sighted does by offering subsidies for legal fees.
Seventy percent of the blind in the United States are out of work, thus their lifestyles need to be different than those of the average sighted worker. Yet, at the same time, if these same blind people need legal protection, the cost of obtaining such protection knows no boundaries unless we, as blind people, become creative enough to help develop the subsidies we need.
I am an author, and I would like to market my material properly. However, it costs thousands upon thousands of dollars to buy marketing services, because this is what publishing companies want. As a result, it limits what I, and other blind authors, can do, simply because we are on fixed incomes and can’t afford the various necessary elements to be successful. It just costs too much. Legal fees represent the exact same problem.
The bottom line is, how do we, the blind, achieve the same successes, goals, and protection as the sighted on an equal playing field if society puts seventy percent of us in the position of being unemployed? Consumer organizations, commissions for the blind, and most of the blind themselves, want the blind to be totally independent, yet it’s hard to think outside the box when it’s necessary. A constant effort needs to be put forth to solve these issues. We cannot simply wait for things to change on their own.