The legal profession must ensure equal justice and equal access by representing people with disabilities.
We must ensure that people with disabilities are represented in law schools, law firms and the court system.
Attorneys must fulfill their pro bono obligations, and law school clinics can assist students in learning about disabilities.
How can law students and practicing attorneys looking for pro bono work get involved?
1) CLEs and law school classes should cover disability topics. CLEs and training can help lawyers feel prepared and educated to help clients with disabilities.
2) Including a person with a developmental disability on a CLE panel. An inclusive CLE panel has helped to break down stereotypes for students, lawyers, and more.
From Boston College Law Review, 2015
Accidentally on Purpose: Intent in Disability Law
Mark Weber, DePaul University College of Law, discusses how courts have required an element of intent in discrimination lawsuits, despite disability discrimination laws having few intent requirements. He states that requiring claimants show intent imposes a substantial burden that cannot be found in statutes or regulations. Weber argues that intent requirements should not be imposed on section 504 ADA cases. The article shows that there is not an intent requirement for ADA employment cases and suggests the same should apply to state and local government provisions and section 504. (Added 5-12-16)
References and Resources
A guide to disability rights laws
Vermont Communication Support Project
Congressional Research Service issue statement about ADA + civil rights
Unequal rights — books for sale
American Bar Association/DISABILITY RIGHTS SECTION