By way of background, my name is Allan Tyrer. I used to practise as a solicitor, but had already given that up (out of choice) before starting this website. Discrimination is not an area of law I practised in, but my partner and I both stammer.
Personally I haven’t suffered greatly from discrimination. I don’t recall any discrimination in my education, and I doubt the standard of my education suffered because of it. I was sometimes bullied but I’m not sure that was because of my stammer at all – more that I didn’t know how to cope with it.
The only incident I recall that could be discrimination was in 1980 when I was applying for a place as an articled clerk (now called a trainee solicitor) amongst the major city firms in London. One of the firms that interviewed me fed back to my law tutor that they would have been happy to have me but for the stammer. Nowadays, given the Equality Act, they would very likely not have said that openly. Rejecting me for a reason related to the stammer may or not have been unlawful had the Equality Act been in force then – the firm might seek to argue their action satisfied the justification test under the Act. In any event a similar firm did accept me as an articled clerk, so the decision was not a particular problem for me.
The reaction of the interviewer at the firm which did offer me a place and with which I stayed for over 12 years was that “everyone stammers sometimes”. I was wearing an ‘Edinburgh master’ for the interviews, which made me significantly more fluent. This is no longer manufactured, but it creates a buzzing in your ears whenever you speak so you can’t hear yourself. I told the interviewers I was wearing this and that my stammer would be more severe without it. I did wonder though whether this chap realised what my stammer was actually like. (For current apps and devices see Apps & devices (stamma.org).
When the time came to consider whether the same firm would continue to have me when I qualified as a solicitor, and also quite a few years later when it was considering whether I would be made a partner, they doubtless thought about the stammer but in both cases I got the promotion anyway.
More recently I was a charity webmaster, from which I’ve now retired. I still do legal writing/editing.
My partner Christine, has a more severe stammer than me. She can certainly communicate OK but people have sometimes put the phone down on her or been rude to her when she is trying to get something out.
She has worked in customer service roles in libraries (very much customer-facing), and has also been responsible for managing customer service in a group of libraries.