You should try all of the polite (and even the pushy) options before retaining a lawyer, but you must judge for yourself how comfortable you feel in the process. If you are not owed back wages and you have another option to find an employer that would be more open minded, this is highly preferred to the expensive, stressful and high risk process that is using the law to achieve your goals.
If you’re making no progress after six months of badgering your employer, and you do not have another option for employment that meets your needs, it is likely time to consider bringing an attorney on board, factoring in your own finances and ability to cover the costs. If you have the economic means, get counsel earlier, but keep the lawyer in the background until you have tried every means of communication with your employer.
Choosing a lawyer is much like choosing a doctor or a mechanic. You need to be able to trust this person to make judgment calls on issues that you don’t fully understand. Remember that if you do get into a formal legal dispute, in many cases the settlement will include an award to the prevailing party to cover attorney’s fees, but these cases can take months or years to resolve, and you may have out-of-pocket costs in the interim (or permanently if you do not win your case).
A good approach to finding an attorney is to contact an employment law firm in your area and determine if they take disability discrimination cases. Be sure to ask if they have ever taken cases related to dyslexia or at least a non-obvious disability. Firms generally by employee and employer side. You want an employee side firm with a good reputation.
You will want to make sure your attorney generally shares your philosophy when it comes to securing accommodations. Be certain that you and your attorney are also on the same page about timing. Ultimately your lawyer works for you, and he or she needs to serve you and your best interests. Just as surgeons like to cut, many lawyers like to litigate, and in some cases they might suggest they can do extra work that is unnecessary, secretly hoping to increase their billable hours (this unsavory practice is called “churning fees”).
Make sure that you have a clear expectation about the amount of money you are willing to commit and what your short-term goals are. Your attorney may be able to secure you a fabulous win, but it could cost you $300,000 and three years. Alternatively, he or she may be able to get you 75 percent of what you want in three months for $10,000 in fees, or even 65 percent of what you want for $1,000 worth of letters and phone calls. You’ll need to figure out which of these paths is best for you, keeping in mind that the best win is a fast win, given the stress to you.