Thursday, September 12, 2013
Laura Rothstein (Louisville) has just posted on SSRN her essay Disability Discrimination Law: The Impact on Legal Education and the Legal Profession. Here's the abstract (the much-longer version of this article will be published by the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy, and the Law in the spring as the lead article in a symposium issue):
Disability discrimination law affects every lawyer, even those who do not plan to represent clients with disabilities or practice in the area of discrimination law. It also affects every law school and every institution of law, from the courts to federal governmental agencies. It affects gatekeepers to legal practice - the Law School Admission Council and the state bar admission authorities. It applies to areas of concern for the American Bar Association accreditation process and the Association of American Law Schools membership requirements. The fortieth anniversary of the beginning of federal policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability is a good time to reflect on the impact on legal education and the legal profession.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Laura as a disability expert and advocate since the days I was still practicing in Houston and we served together on the Texas Bar Association Disability Committee together. What Laura doesn't say in her essay -- but I will say here -- is that many if not most of the changes she describes in her essay have happened in large part because she pushed hard for them -- not just in her scholarship but in the trenches -- and often despite fierce opposition from entrenched interests or from equally powerful inertia. Laura is a law school professor who has made a profound difference in the lives not only of her students, but in society at large.