Lawyers With Disabilities: L’Handicape C’est Nous

  • Anita Bernstein


For having helped to make disability a twentieth-century civil rights issue in the United States, our profession deserves much credit. Lawyers have written, codified, and enforced several progressive initiatives. Inspired by the struggle for racial justice through law that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education, the disability rights movement was itself a civil rights inspiration even before the Brown decision, earning important early legislative advances for rehabilitation, vocational training, and integration of disabled persons in public life. The first national organization to focus on disability as such rather than one particular condition, the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, took an early interest in fostering legal change and lobbied for employment-discrimination laws and new statutes to advance the interests of disabled Americans. The Rehabilitation Act of 19733 made federal law out of the radical yet sensible idea that societies construct disability at least as much as they reflect it and that prejudices and stereotypes, which are as potent as purely medical or anatomical facts, impede persons with disabilities.
How to Cite
Bernstein, Anita. 2008. “Lawyers With Disabilities: L’Handicape C’est Nous”. University of Pittsburgh Law Review 69 (3).