The State Bar of Texas wants to hear Tips from YOU!
By: Vinh H. Nguyen, J.D., M.B.A.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, people with disabilities have not generally been considered part of the discussion on diversity in the legal profession, and there is little reliable data on the number of attorneys with disabilities out there.1

This lack of knowledge extends to Texas, and the Disability Issues Committee is interested in learning more about barriers to entry into the legal profession and the experiences of those who attended law school in Texas.

If you have a disability and attended law school in Texas, the Disability Issues Committee of the State Bar of Texas would like to hear from you. This State Bar committee provides support and resources for attorneys and law students with disabilities in Texas and is working with TYLA on several projects to produce resources to assist people with disabilities and the general public.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by colleges and universities including their law schools. Schools cannot use admission or other eligibility criteria to screen out people with disabilities, and the ADA requires schools to make reasonable modifications to their policies and practices if necessary to prevent discrimination.

Whether that means providing a sign language interpreter for a deaf student to follow class lectures, providing electronic versions of textbooks and documents to blind students, or removing physical barriers and moving classes to areas that a student using a wheelchair can access, schools are generally obligated to make these modifications to ensure an equal learning environment.

Despite the ADA, the Disability Issues Committee continues to receive anecdotes from students and former students about issues related to navigating law school with a disability, and members of the committee are available to provide peer mentoring.

If you attended law school in Texas, please help us out by taking this survey about your experiences. This survey is anonymous, and you will not be asked to identify your law school. Responses from this survey will be used to customize the Disability Issues Committee’s outreach to the 10 Texas law schools and their students.

Vinh Nguyen, JD, MBA, is the project director of the Southwest ADA Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston. The Southwest ADA Center is one of 10 regional ADA Centers across the country that provides training and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, and his research interests include the participation of people with disabilities in their communities and accessible information technology.


Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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