Resource for Law Students with Disabilities

The National Association of Law Students With Disabilities would like to share the following message with University of Miami School of Law Students:

The National Association of Law Students With Disabilities (NALSWD) is a coalition of law students dedicated to disability advocacy and the achievement of equal access, inclusion, diversity, and non-discrimination in legal education and the legal profession. Our goal is to assist individuals in achieving their best employment potential by ensuring that students receive the accommodations and cultivate the skills they need to be successful members of the legal bar.

NALSWD was founded in 2007 with support from the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and is currently in the process of becoming an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. We have also received broad-based financial support from the largest law firms in the country. Our 2008 conference featured many prominent lawyers with disabilities. Our keynote speaker was the Honorable Richard S. Brown, Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the only deaf judge in the country. Andy Imparato, CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities; Acting Vice Chair Christine M. Griffin of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Olegario Cantos VII of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; and Claudia Gordon of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are among the many lawyers with disabilities who spoke at our conference and have continued to support NALSWD’s development. The conference demonstrated that lawyers with disabilities are capable of ascending to the highest ranks of the private and public sectors.

We are seeking all law students with disabilities, whether they have physical, psychiatric, intellectual, learning, or emotional disabilities. While law students with disabilities from over twenty law schools currently comprise NALSWD, our goal is to reach law students with disabilities at every law school in the country. We are especially interested in expanding our membership among two categories of students that are presently underrepresented in NALSWD: 1Ls with disabilities, to help facilitate their success in a wholly new learning environment, and students with hidden disabilities (e.g. learning or mental health disabilities) so they can connect with other students in law school going through the same experience.

NALSWD was formed to facilitate a sustained community for law students with disabilities to seek support and professional advice as they navigate law school and the legal profession. In this vein, the former President of NALSWD is now forming an affiliated Lawyers With Disabilities group, thanks to a generous Hearne Leadership Grant from the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD). This will ensure that disability leadership is continuous and that the foundation being laid for law students with disabilities won’t erode as students graduate and pursue their careers.

We invite you and your students to visit our website at to learn more about NALSWD. At, students can learn about opportunities to get involved with NALSWD, read monthly newsletters, join the e-mail listserv, participate in our burgeoning mentorship program, and learn about upcoming events and career opportunities.

We are currently planning our third annual conference, to take place August 7-9 in Washington D.C. The conference is being held in conjunction with the IMPACT Career Fair, the only national employer recruitment event for law students with disabilities. NALSWD is also developing an annual awards program for law schools and law firms that have shown a commitment to advancing disability issues, access, and inclusion in their institutions.

We invite students to get involved right away by completing our online registration form.

UM Law Students interested in attending the IMPACT Career Fair should contact CDO Advisor Tere Rodriguez for more information.