I had been conducting my articles of clerkship when I had incurred a drastic motor vehicle accident.
My name is Miss Ramani Moodley. I am 27 years old and I am an attorney of the High Court of South Africa. During June 2011, I had been conducting my articles of clerkship when I had incurred a drastic motor vehicle accident. I was in a comatose state for a month and the surgeons said that as a result of my injuries, I would be in a vegetative state.
“My heart doesn’t care how much money I make or whether the words “President” are in my job title. My heart only cares that I listen to my soul, follow my truth, and shine in this world as the authentic me. This means that, in all likelihood, I won’t follow a conventional path.”
Recovery was slow and I attended physiotherapy and occupational therapy five days per week for eighteen months as I had to learn to use my legs and right hand again. My articles of clerkship were put on hold for an indefinite period with the law society. When I eventually completed my articles of clerkship and was admitted as an attorney, I began searching for a job feverously and vigorously. Initially, I indicated on my curriculum vitae that I was “disabled” but had minimal response from companies. I decided to remove the word “disabled” and a number of recruiters and companies called me for an interview.
Socially, I have been faced with ongoing stigma and prejudice. This made me realise that the laws in South Africa dealing with people that were impaired was theoretical and not practical as yet. As a result of my trials and hardship I decided to begin a legal practice. I am the founder of R Moodley Attorneys, a legal firm that has been established in Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and recently in Cape Town. I specialise in various legal needs but the law of mentally and/or physically impaired people takes priority, thus, making the law practical and not merely theoretical, has become my sole purpose and passion in life.
Access to justice is almost unheard of for people with disabilities. People with disabilities rarely turn to courts to seek justice because they lack the knowledge, the financial resources – they earn a meagre disability allowance and cannot access lawyers who are trained to take their case. My aim is to alter that. R Moodley Attorneys will focus on giving clients ample legal advice, drafting opinions and representing them at court when there is sufficient facts that suggest that there was discrimination against them on the basis of their “disability”.
I have been appointed as the National Director for the International Human Rights Commission, affiliated with the United Nations, on a pro bono basis whereby my aim is to focus on women, children and youth who are physically and/or mentally impaired through hosting a series of workshops in the rural communities throughout South Africa. I am also on the board for the International Advisory Board.
R Moodley Attorneys has established the National Association for Impaired Lawyers (NAIL). All lawyers and/or law students and/or people who want to study law in South Africa, who have physical and/or mental impairments are encouraged to join this organisation. Workshops will be run throughout the country to work with the Department of Social Development to challenge various pieces of legislation that deals with impairments as well as be mentors for law students with impairments.
For more information Ramani can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0846535991